Volleyball's `second season' opens in Hampstead tonight


November 04, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

In Liberty volleyball coach Dave Trumbo's words, the "second season" -- aka the regional playoffs -- begins tonight and tomorrow for county teams.

First-round play in Class 3A West begins at 7 p.m. tonight in Hampstead with the familiar pairing of South Carroll vs. North Carroll.

The 11-3 Cavaliers were in contention for their first Central Maryland Conference title in more than a dozen years until they lost to Thomas Johnson on Oct. 20.

South Carroll has a number of standout players, including junior middle-hitter Emily Wolfing (138 kills and 52 blocks) and senior setter Brianna Schell (325 assists).

Senior middle-hitter Tiffany Langan leads the Panthers (5-9) in kills and blocks, but North Carroll has lost eight straight games in three meetings with the Cavaliers.

And the loss of reserve junior outside-hitter Angie Springer (broken left thumb) raises questions of whether the Panthers can break their skid against South Carroll.

"We have our hands full," North Carroll coach Lloyd Ford said. "But we took a game off both Liberty and Thomas Johnson, and if we can pull together something along those lines, we'll have a good chance."

Cavaliers coach Debbie Eaton agreed, saying, "We're going to have to stay within our game plan to beat them again. Playoffs are a whole different story."

Liberty heads to Rockville to battle Richard Montgomery at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Liberty (11-3) defeated the Rockets, 3-0, when they met in the 1997 regional final.

Lions junior middle-hitter Lauren Smith (164 kills, 39 blocks) has returned from a right-shoulder injury that sidelined her for three matches. Smith joins senior middle-hitter Stephanie Wilder (192 kills) to give Trumbo the county's most lethal duo.

Francis Scott Key hosts Linganore at 7 p.m. tomorrow. The Eagles (12-2) clinched a share of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League championship with a straight-game victory against Walkersville Monday night.

Linganore (7-5) is 2-2 against Carroll County opponents, having beaten North Carroll and Westminster by 3-1 but getting swept, 3-0, by both Liberty and South Carroll.

Westminster (3-9) travels to Glen Burnie to take on North County (9-4).

Souto leads scorers

Jose Souto Jr. is thousands of miles from his native Brazil, and North Carroll soccer fans couldn't have been happier.

Souto was a senior forward for the Panthers, who -- with a 2-1 loss to Liberty in the first round of the Class 3A West regional playoffs last week -- finished their season at 8-6.

Souto had 14 goals and four assists to lead county players with 18 points. Souto has adapted his usual style of play to complement American soccer.

"Here, you do not have [the space] to dribble," said Souto, who turns 18 Saturday. "American players pass more."

Souto might have scored more if opponents had not learned to double-team him, said North Carroll coach Denny Snyder.

"In Brazil, it's more possible to attack with the dribble," he said. "But he knew when to give up the ball when he was double-teamed. He was able to look up and find the open man."

Snyder said he appreciated Souto's behavior on the field. He was never charged with a yellow or red card -- an element that Souto said is frowned upon in Brazil.

"If you get a yellow card or a red card, it's not good for the team, and the coach pulls you out," he said. "I tried to teach my friends on the team something I learned in Brazil."

But playing soccer took a back seat last month, when Souto learned that his stepmother was diagnosed with a tumor. While his stepmother has recovered from a successful operation, Souto said he leaned on Snyder for support.

"In Brazil, you are expected to give up everything for the team," Souto said. "Coach and I have dialogue a lot. He's an excellent coach."

Souto, who wants to be a doctor, would like to play soccer on the collegiate level. He also said he has had no problem adjusting to the cold weather and weekly staple of hamburgers and pizza.

"In Brazil, you eat rice and beans all day," Souto said. "In Brazil, it's pretty hot to play. Here, it's good weather."

Backups step up

Backup quarterbacks are emerging from the shadows of their predecessors and etching their names into next year's starting lineups.

Three of the county's six quarterbacks who began the season at the helm are on the sidelines because of injury or ineffectiveness, and reserve shot-callers are ably filling in the vacancies.

At Liberty, junior Tony Scirica replaced junior Jimmy Miller in the second half of the Lions' Oct. 15 game against Thomas Johnson and led Liberty to its only score in a 7-6 loss.

Scirica already has thrown more touchdown passes than Miller (4-3) and fewer interceptions (2-7).

North Carroll sophomore Justin Hackler has completed more than 43 percent of his passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Hackler, who replaced Regis Burket in a 33-24 loss to Linganore Oct. 21, has added speed and a strong arm to an attack featuring running backs Steve Suter and Vinnie Iadevaia.

Westminster had enjoyed a relatively healthy season until senior Scott Carnegie learned last week that he had broken ribs. Junior Ryan Baer went 5-for-8 for 88 yards and threw a game-winning touchdown in a 35-32 victory over North Carroll last Friday. Baer likely will start tomorrow against South Carroll.

And Francis Scott Key coach Mike Coons has split time between junior quarterback Ryan Bordner and junior running back Russell Tyler, last year's quarterback. Bordner has given up fewer interceptions (1-6), but Tyler has thrown for more yards (358-180).

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