Coach gets send-off: a rally to remember

Carroll Christian's Mied wowed by comeback in volleyball finale


High Schools

October 30, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Carroll Christian volleyball team on Saturday not only posted an inspiring performance in the finals of the Mid-East Regional American Association of Christian Schools volleyball tournament, but gave longtime coach Judy Mied a sweet going-away gift in the process.

In one of the most stirring, come-from-behind matches in school history, the host Patriots rallied from the brink of elimination to top Evangel Christian (Va.) for their fourth regional title in five years, giving Mied a memorable send-off in her final match after 13 years at the helm.

"Those kids just turned around and, my goodness, they just played the best volleyball I've ever seen," said Mied. "I challenged the girls to put aside any temptation to be tentative, and to give them their hardest, fastest, most thoughtful attacks, good defensive coverage and to not let them burn us in the middle."

After beating Shenandoah Valley (Va.), Calvery (Md.) and Elkton Christian (Md.), the Patriots (16-8) found themselves down 2-0 in games and trailing 7-1 in the third game of the championship match.

Led by the serving of Sarah Shaffer, however, they rallied to score seven straight points, and went on to a 15-8 win to stay alive. They again found themselves trailing, 10-4, in the next game before rallying to tie it at 14, then winning, 16-14, on the strength of Katie Nobel's serves.

In the winner-take-all final game, Evangel led 14-13 and was serving for match point before the Patriots forced a side-out. They then went on to score the final three points to claim their latest in a string of titles.

Middle Hitter Meghan Shipley was named tournament Most Valuable Player, compiling 45 kills and 24 blocks in four matches. Outside hitter Jessica Fagley and setters Heather Georg and Megan Eckard also earned all-tournament honors.

Owls football in ... for now

If the season were to end today, Westminster would qualify for the Class 4A state football playoffs for the first time since 1981. Unfortunately for the Owls, who could be knocked out with another loss, their opponent this week is Urbana, owner of three straight Class 2A state championships and an MPSSAA-record 45-game winning streak.

Eight teams earn playoffs spots in each of the four state classifications, including four region champions and the next four teams with the highest point averages. Westminster (7-1) currently stands seventh with 8.57 points, behind sixth-place Broadneck (9.78) and ahead of eighth-place Largo (7.61).

The question is, would a loss to Urbana on Friday night (7 p.m.) at Westminster eliminate the Owls, or could they still sneak in?

"It would be real close," Westminster coach Scott Tobias said. "It would depend on what the other teams do. I don't know if 8-2 would get us in or not. It would be a wait-and-see game at that point. The kids realize that this is an important ballgame, and they know that Urbana is the measuring stick for our conference."

In Urbana (7-0), the Owls will be facing possibly the state's best team. Earlier this season, the Hawks topped Gilman, The Sun's preseason No. 1 team, 12-7.

Last week against Frederick - a team Westminster beat in a 14-12 nailbiter - Urbana took possession inside the Cadets' 40 eight times, and scored on every one. The Hawks also have scored blowout wins this season against Liberty, North Carroll and South Carroll.

"We have to play a near perfect ballgame in all three facets - offense, defense and special teams," said Tobias. "At the same time, we have to not give them possession, and we can't give them short fields to work with."

The Owls have finished 6-4 in each of Tobias' first three years at the helm. By that standard, this season would be viewed as a positive step no matter what the outcome of Friday's game.

"I knew we had a lot of good kids," Tobias said. "I thought we would be able to win ballgames. Did I have an estimate on how many games we would win? No. But their focus week in and week out and their determination - those are some of the things that have impressed me."

For Tobias, however, there are no moral victories.

"Is it a successful season? Yes, because it's been a lot of fun and the kids are great to work with," he said. "But if we don't make the playoffs, will it be considered a successful season? That's a Catch-22, I think."

Countians up for awards

Six student-athletes from Carroll County high schools and another who lives in the county have been nominated for the Wendy's High School Heisman, an annual award given to the state's top male and female scholar athletes.

Jen Bassler and Joe Morningstar (Francis Scott Key), Katie Riley (North Carroll), Tim Redmond and Ashley Schwarzmann (South Carroll) and Karen Klima (Westminster) have been nominated, along with Corey Cosgrove, a Westminster resident who attends Lutheran in Baltimore.

The winners will be picked in mid-November, when the list of 102 winners will be narrowed to 12 national finalists. The national winners will be announced Dec. 7 in New York.

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