N. Carroll can't afford to savor big victory

Wilde Lake game opens field hockey playoffs

Notebook

High Schools

October 25, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Three days removed from its biggest win of the season, the North Carroll field hockey team will face a far more difficult challenge today.

The 13th-ranked Panthers, who on Monday topped Westminster, 2-0, to claim the Central Maryland Conference title, will open the Class 3A North playoffs today (3:30) against visiting Wilde Lake, a 2-1 winner over Liberty on Tuesday.

Once play begins, North Carroll coach Denean Koontz knows that past accomplishments won't count for anything.

"We played well against Westminster on Monday night, so we've just got to carry over from that and continue to put the ball in the cage," said Koontz, whose 11-3 team is seeded first in a bracket that also includes fourth-ranked Long Reach, No. 9 River Hill, No. 11 Mount Hebron and county rival South Carroll.

"It just depends on who you draw and where you draw," said Koontz. "To be honest, all the teams in our region are tough, so no matter where you're put, you're still going to have tough games."

Westminster, the top seed in Class 4A, North, appears to have a slightly easier road. In a region with only five teams, the Owls (7-3-1) open with byes in each of the first two rounds, giving them an automatic bid to the regional semifinals.

The tradeoff, however, is that they'll have to wait until Tuesday to begin play.

"Having a long time off can be advantageous or disadvantageous. We just have to use it to our advantage," said Westminster coach Judie Puckett. "It would be nice to not have to wait so long, but we'll use it, we'll work hard and we'll have some fun, too."

The Owls could end up facing a tough C. Milton Wright squad in the regional finals. Whomever the opponent, Puckett feels confident her team can rebound from the loss to North Carroll.

The goal will be much the same for the Liberty boys and North Carroll girls soccer teams, each coming off losses to probably the best teams on their respective schedules.

Lions coach Ed DeVincent called Saturday's 2-0 setback at the hands of top-ranked River Hill "a learning experience." It was the first loss this season for No. 6 Liberty (13-1).

"You're never happy with a loss, but if you're going to have one, you'd rather have it in the last game of the regular season against a team with the kind of quality that you might not face any better in the playoffs," said DeVincent.

North Carroll also ended its season with a defeat, but played well in a 1-0 loss to No. 2 McDonogh on Wednesday.

"I think if we were able to play like we did against McDonogh, which is a very fine team, than we're going to be competitive with really anybody," said Panthers coach Jim MacDonald.

Surprise from Key

Despite not putting one runner within 45 seconds of the lead, Francis Scott Key's boys cross country team surprised the field at last Friday's Monocacy Valley Athletic League cross country championships at North Hagerstown to take second place.

The Eagles, who last year finished a distant third, improved 51 points, placing five runners - Dan Simmons (seventh), Steve Graybill (11th), Tony Morris (12th), Shane Russell (14th) and Brian Leiter (17th) - among the top 17.

Key's girls took fourth.

Sheedy on par with best

Francis Scott Key junior Ray Sheedy turned in the best performance of any Carroll County golfer in the history of the state tournament in College Park on Wednesday, posting a two-day total of 145 to finish in a tie for second, just one stroke off the lead.

His final-round, even-par 71 included a pair of eagles.

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