Liberty boys soccer finds taking tough road pays off Carroll notebook

October 06, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Tough preseason scrimmages and early-season games are starting to pay dividends for the Liberty boys soccer team. After last night's 2-1 win over Frederick, the Lions are 6-2 and working on a five-game winning streak.

Liberty scrimmaged perennial powers Calvert Hall and Bullis Prep, then opened the season against River Hill, currently 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the metro area poll. Liberty lost that one, 2-0, beat Francis Scott Key, then lost to Glenelg in the second overtime.

Since then, third-year coach Ed DeVincent's crew has put together a winning streak by outscoring the opposition 10-3.

"We had a couple of tough early-season losses, but since then there has been a turnaround, and we have been playing much better as a team," DeVincent said yesterday.

"With only four senior starters, we are a lot younger than last year, but this is a good bunch and they're coming together. Right now, we are still a work in progress."

A year ago, there were 12 seniors on a team that started 6-1, ended the regular season 8-4, and lost to Walter Johnson in the second round of the regionals.

The seniors are goalkeeper Chris Rauser, midfielders Micah Reese and Jon Sommers, and forward Ray Tignall. Sommers and Ryan Burkhead had the two first-half goals in last week's 2-1 win over Thomas Johnson. Last year, TJ won, 4-2.

"The players knew how big a game it was, and I told them, 'Let's play our game for a full 80 minutes and we'll get rewarded.' So, for the first time, we played for 80 minutes."

Going into the season, the defense was a question mark because the team had lost all four backs, but the coach has put together a solid combination of three juniors and a sophomore.

"Chris Rauser has done a nice job, too. The others know that if a mistake is made, he can clean up any mess back there," DeVincent added.

"We had River Hill tied for a half, and we beat TJ, so the players feel like they can play with anybody. There is still a lot more to accomplish, and we're going to have to work for it."

Carroll Christian

Volleyball coach Judy Mied is at it again, building a team to rival last year's 24-4 entry that went to the national Christian schools tournament. Yesterday's victory at Capitol boosted the record to 11-0, with only two games lost in that stretch.

Ahead are two regular-season contests wrapped around the conference tournament, scheduled for next week at Granite Baptist in Glen Burnie. Carroll Christian will play host to the Maryland championship Oct. 20-24, and a four-state regional Oct. 29-31.

Regardless of the regional outcome, that likely will be it for the Patriots. They raised money to advance to national competitions two of the last three years, but Mied does not believe this year's group has the height to be able to compete at the national level.

"Two of our best players are 5-7, and you need those 5-11s and 6-footers to be competitive," Mied said earlier this week.

Three senior veterans are her top players -- twins LeighAnn (5-7) and Lauren (5-5) Belcher, and 5-7 Renee Coglianese. The latter is a middle hitter who leads the team in digs with 26 and in blocks with 12.

Of the sisters, Lauren is a solid outside hitter with a 20-inch vertical leap, while LeighAnn draws recognition with her setting, although she might just as easily be an outside hitter.

"She's smart, is able to analyze things as they develop, and has the skills, too," according to her coach. For the season, LeighAnn, who has come back from knee surgery of a year ago, is serving at 93 per cent, with 31 per cent aces.

Mied added, "Overall, our serving [86 percent as a team] has kept us in games, and our passing has been consistent.

Hall of Fame

Mike Coppa, of Hampstead, is one of four people scheduled to be inducted into the Salisbury State University athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 16. A four-year member of the football team, many consider him the best running back in the school's 26-year football history.

A 1987 graduate, the Silver Spring native still holds 12 school records, including touchdowns (44) and points (264). Half of those touchdowns, and more than half of his rushing yardage (1,812) came in his senior season when the Sea Gulls upset Ithaca (Coppa ran for 271 yards and six touchdowns) to reach the Division III national championship game.

Today, Coppa, who works as district sales manager for a copier/printer firm in Baltimore, remembers being scared to death of going to college and its classes, saying that football was the easy part.

Joining him will be Robin Adair, a two-time field hockey all-American of a decade ago; Deane DeShon, who retired last year after 34 years as baseball coach; and Norman Crawford, president during the 1970s, and with whose support the Eastern Shore school's athletic program improved dramatically.

Pub Date: 10/06/98

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