S. Carroll field hockey confident after big win

Team happy to beat Owls

Key football eyes strong finish for playoff berth

Notebook

High schools

October 17, 2002|By Jeff Seidel and Rich Scherr | Jeff Seidel and Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A 2-0 win over long-time Carroll County power Westminster on Saturday gave unbeaten South Carroll something that should make other Class 3A field hockey teams take notice.

A further boost in confidence.

The Cavaliers' first win over Westminster in 21 years came just 10 days before the scheduled start of the regional playoffs, where the Winfeld team will be going for its first trip to the state semifinals since 1992.

"That was huge for us," said sophomore Liz Fries. "It pumps us up going into the playoffs. We feel that this is our year."

With three games to play in the regular season, South Carroll (7-0-1) also is in prime position to win or share the Carroll County and Central Maryland Conference titles - which are usually attained by Westminster.

Even when South Carroll had its best teams - like the state championship group in 1991 - the Cavaliers still couldn't beat the Owls. That's why this win was so big.

It showed the Cavaliers that they can beat anyone.

"The Westminster game had such emotion for us," said South Carroll coach Erin Soulen, who played on the 1991 team. "It's been a magical year for us."

The Cavaliers now control their own fate. They're scheduled to meet Liberty today, Frederick tomorrow and Linganore on Monday. If both South Carroll and North Carroll win out, they could share the county title. The only blemish on the record of both teams would be a 1-1 tie in their head-to-head meeting last month.

Key looks to rebound

Coming off last week's surprising 24-7 loss to South Hagerstown, No. 13 Francis Scott Key knows the importance of bouncing back tonight against Walkersville.

A loss in any of their final three regular-season games would likely be enough to bump the previously unbeaten Eagles from the Class 2A state playoffs.

"For us right now in our league, we basically have to go 9-1," Key coach John Baugher said. "That would legitimately guarantee a playoff berth. To ultimately guarantee it, we would've had to have gone 10-0. There's always an outside chance at 9-1 that we could not make it in."

When the Eagles went 9-1 during the regular season two years ago, they were a No. 4 seed, barely making it into the postseason because most of their wins came against Class 1A and 2A opponents, worth lesser amounts in the points standings that determine which teams make the playoffs.

That's one of the main reasons why Key is a big proponent of the new combined Monocacy Valley Athletic Conference-Central Maryland Conference, which is slated to begin play next year. The Eagles are hoping to get a crack at more games against Class 3A and 4A teams - like Westminster and South Carroll - which are worth more points.

Of course, before the Eagles can even think about points and playoffs this year, they must find a way to correct some of the mistakes that cost them last week.

"We went back to a little bit of basics and looked at what we did wrong in the game. Hopefully, we can correct all those mistakes," Baugher said. "We didn't tackle real well ... and, offensively, it seemed like every play we had one kid not execute his assignment."

The Eagles were also hurt by an injury that limited All-County tight end Chris Bassler. Bassler, who suffered a badly twisted ankle in practice last Wednesday, should be back at near full strength.

"I think they were disappointed in the way that we performed," Baugher said. "I think they want to redeem themselves in this week's game."

Other teams in the hunt

Westminster and South Carroll also continue to fight for playoff spots in football, but each has been hurt by back-to-back losses during the season.

The Owls (4-2) opened with consecutive setbacks to Long Reach and Calvert Hall, and still must face CMC powers Urbana and Linganore. Those are the two teams that have defeated the Cavaliers (4-2) in the past two weeks.

Depending on the performance of both teams over the next three weeks, their head-to-head meeting at Westminster on Nov. 8 could have playoff implications for at least one of the teams, though neither can afford to lose another game.

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