Defense gives Liberty a taste of perfection

Graduation-depleted unit allows foes only six goals as Lions run mark to 6-0


High Schools

September 27, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

After most of last year's defense graduated, the Liberty boys soccer team entered this fall with numerous questions.

Now a month into the season, there's only one remaining question -- will the Lions ever lose?

Liberty (6-0) has outscored opponents, 28-6, heading into tomorrow's game at South Carroll. Among the highlights: a victory over Glenelg, one of Howard County's better teams, and a 2-1 overtime win against Central Maryland Conference foe Linganore Tuesday.

And the Lions, who lost five starters from last year's county and CMC championship squad, are doing it with a defense full of former reserves and JV players.

"Our defense has definitely come together quicker than I expected," said coach Ed DeVincent. "Not one of my starting four defenders this year started last year. It was a matter of I knew I had the talent, but how quickly could they come together as a unit."

The defense is anchored by senior goalie Mike Gooding, who started as a sophomore but sat out last season.

Junior sweeper Andy Soukop has ably filled the big shoes of 6-foot-5 R. J. Shoemaker. Greg Reeves, Jesse Robinson and Charlton Hughes, who missed last season with a broken leg, also have been big contributors.

Offensively, sophomore Trevor Havey leads the team with nine goals and two assists, including the game-winner against Linganore.

"We've had a couple tests lately where the goals didn't come as easy as they had been -- hitting posts and missing opportunities -- but they've fought through adversity," DeVincent said. "This is a team that I think is focused. They have a job at hand, and a mission they want to achieve."

Now, with the conference schedule about to kick into high gear, the Lions know they can't let themselves look too far ahead.

"I told them at the beginning of the year that we wanted to get better each day in practice and each and every game," said DeVincent. "Our job is to focus on each job at hand, and I think these kids have done that very well."

In the running

For Denny Snyder, coaching North Carroll's girls cross country team this season has been doubly fulfilling. Not only is he at the helm of one of the state's premier squads -- ranked No. 2 in the area -- but he also is getting the chance to hone his own running skills.

Snyder, 35, is entered in the inaugural Baltimore Marathon on Oct. 20, the longest race of his running career that generally has consisted of events 10K and shorter. To help prepare, Snyder has been following the same workouts as his runners.

"I've been getting pretty decent workouts running with the girls," said Snyder, the Sun's Carroll County Coach of the Year in baseball last spring. "It's definitely been helping."

He will see just how much it has helped this weekend when he runs the Bachman Valley Half Marathon in Westminster. It will be the longest race he's tried to date.

"I'm anxious to see if my workouts have paid off," he said.

Liberty golf qualifies

With a four-man score of 323, Liberty's golf team finished second at Tuesday's Class 4A-3A District V Golf Tournament at Wakefield Valley Golf Club to earn a spot in the state tournament for the first time since 1993.

Nick DeSimone and Dan Borowy each shot 6-over 78 to lead the Lions (7-0), and Chris Squillario added a 79."[Qualifying for states] is not something that we discussed, but I think the kids knew that if four or five of them played well, there was a chance," said Lions coach John Magee. "They new it was attainable."

Mount Hebron won the tournament (314), followed by Liberty, C. Milton Wright and Bel Air. Among county schools, Westminster was seventh (336), South Carroll tied for 13th (360) and North Carroll 15th (362).

Westminster's Dean Buenger qualified individually with an 80, but the Owls failed to make the cut for the first time since 1996.

The state tournament will take place Oct. 22-23 in College Park.

Weaver out for year

Glen Burnie junior Jessica Weaver, who was hospitalized in the Shock Trauma Unit Thursday night after injuring her spine against Severna Park last week, has been released but will not return to the girls soccer team.

Weaver has a spinal contusion and swelling of the spinal column. She must wear a neck brace for at least a month and cannot attend school for two weeks.

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