Cavaliers take share of 1st place

8-7 victory over Liberty, team's 3rd in row, earns tie with Westminster

May 03, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Thanks to the South Carroll boys lacrosse team, the battle for the county championship is essentially a two-horse race.

Cavaliers seniors Jesse Buppert and Pete Shaffer combined to score seven points, and senior goalkeeper Jason Witte's point-blank save in the waning moments preserved an 8-7 win against host Liberty in Eldersburg last night.

The victory -- South Carroll's third in a row -- gave the Cavaliers (4-2 county, 6-4 overall) a share of first place in the county standings with Westminster, which suffered a 10-7 setback to previously winless Francis Scott Key last night.

Shaffer, who recorded a goal and three assists, said the players were well aware of what was at stake.

"We knew what was going on," said the midfielder, who missed the last meeting against the Lions on April 14 because of mononucleosis. "We wanted it pretty bad."

In an attempt to add some emotional spark, Liberty coach Sal Picataggi started sophomore Greg Reeves (nine saves) between the pipes instead of junior Greg Stange -- a move that some Cavaliers said they relished.

"We knew that he was an underclassman in his first varsity start," said Buppert, who scored a hat trick despite running on a slightly torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. "We wanted to get a lot of shots off and get in his head a little bit."

After a scoreless first quarter, South Carroll reeled off three goals in a 2: 04 span from senior midfielders Joe Richardson and Derek Clark and sophomore attack John Williams.

Lions junior attack Mark Donahue (hat trick and an assist) cut the lead to two with a goal at the 5: 41 mark, but the Cavaliers got two goals from Buppert 11 seconds apart to enjoy a 5-1 halftime lead.

Liberty made its run in the third quarter, scoring four of the next five goals to make it a 6-5 South Carroll lead. But a goal by Shaffer and an extra-man tally by senior midfielder Danny Stansbury gave the Cavaliers an 8-5 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Lions, however, refused to fold in the final period, gaining a goal by junior midfielder Eric Williston at the 8: 07 mark and a score from senior midfielder Kris Gooding with 1: 18 left in the game.

A final shot by Liberty's Chuck Henn was repelled by Witte (six saves), and South Carroll erupted in cheers after the final horn.

Liberty has lost two of its past three outings after owning first place two weeks ago. But the Lions are not mathematically eliminated from claiming a piece of the county title.

If South Carroll and Westminster -- who play against each other Friday and next Tuesday -- split those two games, they and Liberty all would finish with 5-3 county records.

"Anything can happen," said Picataggi, who was unaware of Francis Scott Key's upset of Westminster. "You never know in this county."

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