4 competing for top 2 spots in girls soccer

Boys soccer race tight

field hockey title on line


October 16, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Before the start of the girls soccer season, Severna Park coach Gary Lam talked about the increasing parity that could make county bragging rights a much tougher go this fall.

So, with the regular season down to its final games, four teams remain in contention for the Anne Arundel County championship, scheduled to be decided at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at Annapolis High.

Even better are the season-ending games that will determine which two teams earn spots.

Today, No. 13 Chesapeake (11-0-1, 9-0-1) visits No. 8 Severna Park (10-1, 9-1) with the winner guaranteed an invitation to play on Tuesday. Tomorrow at South River, the No. 6 Seahawks (11-1-1, 9-1) will get a visit from Arundel (9-3-1, 8-1-1). South River will advance with a win, and the Wildcats need as win - as well as win by Chesapeake - to finish as one of the top two.

"A lot of the parity has to do with the fact that there are a lot more quality club teams around, so more players are getting quality training," Lam said. "And the result is, players are getting better and what we're seeing are better games every week. It's good for the county."

Chesapeake started the parity parade with a 1-0 early-season win over defending county champion South River. The Cougars, a 1-0 winner over North County on Tuesday to remain unbeaten, will face a big test in Severna Park with the Falcons coming off an impressive 3-0 showing at Arundel.

"I think our team came together, and it was basically three things: intensity, heart, and we were communicating all over the field. So it was a total team effort," said Severna Park senior midfielder Shannon Hadaway after Tuesday's win in Gambrills.

Last season, South River came away with a 2-0 win over Severna Park in the championship game to end the Falcons' five-year run.

Boys soccer

Glen Burnie (11-1-1) has believed from the start that this is its season. Defending boys soccer county champion Old Mill (9-2-1) is not backing down. And perennial power Severna Park (9-3-1) still wants to have a say.

Going into tonight's games, all three teams have identical 8-1-1 county marks with only two invitations available for Tuesday's county championship game set for 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at Annapolis High.

"This is great for the county and the sport - three good teams fighting to get into the championship game. And all the games against the three teams have been close so that should make for a good game whoever gets in," said Old Mill coach Jeff Martin.

Tonight's slate has Old Mill at North County, Severna Park getting a visit from Chesapeake, and Glen Burnie traveling to Annapolis.

Against each other, Glen Burnie has 2-1 wins over both Old Mill and Severna Park to have the upper hand. Old Mill, which also has a game left against St. Mary's tomorrow, played to a 1-1 tie against Severna Park.

The Gophers are guaranteed a spot with a win against Annapolis. Old Mill can also be assured of reaching the championship game if it can win its remaining two games, based on a tiebreaker that would give it more overall wins than Severna Park.

Field hockey

Tonight's county field hockey championship game - No. 3 Severna Park at No. 5 South River scheduled for 7:15 - has several subplots in addition to two quality teams competing.

Severna Park coach Lil Shelton goes after her 400th career win. The Falcons (12-1) also will try to make it a perfect 9-for-9 in county championship games and avenge their only loss of the season.

The 2000 Seahawks - working on a perfect season - won a state title, but South River has yet to break through for a county crown. This is its third chance against the Falcons in four years.

In the Seahawks' 3-2 regular-season win over the then No. 1-ranked Falcons on Oct. 7, each team scored twice in the opening eight minutes, before Janna Wojtech scored the game-winner with 12 minutes remaining to lift South River.

"That was definitely an odd game. At first, I was like, `Is either team going to play any defense?' We just have to play our game, and we should be fine," said South River coach Laura Hoffner.

In the 2000 season, the Seahawks beat the Severna Park in the regular season by the same 3-2 count, and after the Falcons avenged the loss to win the county championship, both teams won state titles in their respective size classifications.

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