Century, South Carroll holding nothing back

Girls lacrosse matchup expected to be fast-paced

Notebook

High Schools

April 18, 2004|By Rich Scherr and Jeff Seidel | Rich Scherr and Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It may be a pivotal early-season matchup, but don't look for either the Century or South Carroll girls lacrosse teams to play tentatively when they meet tomorrow night.

Both teams are at their best when on the run, and together feature six of Carroll County's top seven scorers.

"I think it will probably be more of a high-scoring game," said South Carroll coach Mac Kantruss. "We both sort of like to go up and down the field. They're obviously the team to beat ... but the girls are getting fired up for it."

Host No. 10 Century (7-1 overall, 3-0 county) is led by midfielders Kelly Kasper (29 goals 22 assists) and Lauren Schwarzmann (20, 29), who last year were selected first- and second-team All-Metro, respectively. Kasper will continue her career at Maryland and Schwarzmann at Johns Hopkins.

Junior Megan McGuire (21, 15) gives the Knights the top three scorers in the county.

"You try and match up as best you can with your better defensive players," said Kantruss. "You're not going to stop those guys - nobody's going to stop them. You just don't want them going crazy on you and dominating the game."

South Carroll (6-2, 1-0), however, also features a high-scoring trio in Britt Woodfield (15, 10), Carrie O'Connell (17, seven) and Kerrie Wuenschel (16, five).

Both teams finished 1-1 at last week's McDonogh tournament, losing to Seton Keough - although Century played the Gators much tougher - and beating McDonogh. Last year, South Carroll kept it close for much of the way, pulling to within a goal in the fourth quarter before falling to Century, 12-8.

"Our girls are geared up for playing South Carroll," said Century coach Rose Pentz. "It's always a big rivalry. No matter what, physically or mentally, you're still talking about playing your friends, and it's always a big game."

For the Knights, the matchup is the first in a string of three games that will go a long way in deciding the county. They also must face top contenders Winters Mill on Friday and Liberty April 26.

"I try to prepare for each game as they come and not take anything for granted," said Pentz. "I still feel like teams are gunning for us and they'll be prepared very well to play us. They'll know which players to mark to try and shut us down."

Liberty tennis nets wins

Liberty tennis coach Bruce Damasio said during preseason workouts that he thought the Lions might have a very good team. His optimism was right on the mark.

Both the Liberty boys and girls started the season 7-0, getting strong performances from their singles players who've rarely lost games and have yet to lose a match.

In Carroll County, teams play two singles matches plus three in doubles. The boys have gotten perfect singles play from senior David Jackson and JoJo Schmarje, a German exchange student.

Sophomore Debbie Jackson and senior Ashley Evans have done the same thing at Nos. 1 and 2 for the girls - even more important considering the Lions are missing standout senior Amanda DuBay, sidelined with injury problems all season. Damasio said they're hoping she'll return by midseason, as she was Liberty's No. 1 singles player the past two years.

All four of the singles players have 7-0 records, and the boys and girls are looking to have a shot at sweeping the county's regular-season titles. Liberty's boys tied Westminster for the county title last year.

Damasio said the Lions have several different styles of players, but that it's his team's superior depth that is helping it get some wins.

"This is just one of those times when it falls in your lap," Damasio said.

Liberty baseball on rise

Liberty has relied on an old formula to go from a losing team to one of the county's best.

Solid pitching from Wade Keenan and Shawn Houck and good defense have helped the Lions improve from 6-12 last year to 8-1 this season - and 4-0 in the county. Keenan is 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA. Houck is 2-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA.

The Lions also have kept the errors down and come up with key hits at the right time. They did both in Friday's 8-6 victory over South Carroll and yesterday's 3-1 win over Frederick.

"I felt this team had some ability last year," Liberty coach Erik Barnes said. "We just weren't in the right frame of mind. They worked hard over the winter, and they've been working hard so far."

Keenan had an 0.43 ERA before giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings in the South Carroll game. But Houck came in and closed it out, giving up just one unearned run as the Lions rallied to win.

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