Pick your spot - lots of playoff action this weekend

November 11, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

If defensive soccer is up your alley, head out to School Stadium tonight for the Maryland Class 1A boys state semifinals.

The 5 p.m. game between West champion Williamsport (18-1) and East champion St. Michaels (12-2-2) features two teams that rely on their defense to set up their offense. The Wildcats, No. 1 in the Herald-Mail poll, have allowed just nine goals all season, only one in nine games to win the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. The Saints gave up 12 goals in a regular season that was only blemished by 2A East semifinalist North Caroline.

Both teams are frequent visitors to the state semifinals; Williamsport has won its region five of the last six years, St. Michaels three of the last four. The difference is in the offensive attack. Williamsport has racked up 68 scores. St. Michaels had just 34 goals in 12 regular-season games.

The other semifinal features defending champion Oakland Mills against Bohemia Manor.


* In the 1A girls semifinals, Williamsport will face Snow Hill at 1 Saturday at Howard High School in a battle between two teams that lost to 1998 state champion Hammond.

The Wildcats lost in the state final to the Golden Bears, 6-0, while Snow Hill was ousted 1-0 in the semifinal round. Williamsport (17-2) has picked it up down the home stretch, winning its last 11 games, including a 2-1 win on the road at Jefferson. The Wildcats have won their four playoff games by a combined total of 34-1.

Md. Class 2A soccer

On the boys side, Middletown is making its first trip to the state semifinals since 1994. The Knights won the West behind a stirring penalty-kick victory over nemesis Bethesda-Chevy Chase, then shut down surprising Linganore for a spot in the final four.

Middletown (16-2), which hasn't lost since a 2-1 setback to Williamsport on Sept. 17, plays East champion J.M Bennett at 7:30 at Kenwood High School.

* For the girls, Middletown (16-1-1) makes its third straight trip to the state semis and is looking to avenge its loss in the championship game last year. The Knights used two corner-kick plays to eliminate Urbana 2-0 in the region final Tuesday night.

Middletown will play North Harford tonight at 5 at Loch Raven High School.

Md. Class 3A soccer

The Thomas Johnson girls, coming off two agonizing penalty-kick victories and two possible season-ending injuries on defense, will play River Hill in the final four at 5 tonight at Sherwood High School.

The Patriots won a 12-11 shootout over Walter Johnson last Friday in the region semis, then exacted a little revenge on North Carroll Tuesday in the region final, winning the shootout, 7-6. The Panthers had eliminated TJ (18-0-1) in the region final in 1998.

However, the Patriots must go on without goalkeeper Amy Franciscovich, who broke a bone in her hip last weekend in a club match, and sweeper Lyndal Hegamyer who may not play because of illness.

Md. Class 1A volleyball

Smithsburg is hoping for deja vu all over again. For the second straight season, Williamsport comes to town for the South region title and again, the Wildcats have won both regular-season meetings - the first one in four games, the second in five.

Two of three losses for Smithsburg (13-3) have come to the Wildcats (15-1), but the Leopards also own a win over MVAL co-champ Francis Scott Key. The Eagles handed Williamsport its only loss of the season in four games.

The match will be at 7 at Smithsburg.

Md. Class 3A volleyball

Thomas Johnson, winners of 13 straight matches, goes for a sweep of Liberty at 7 tonight on the road and its fourth West Region title in the last five years. The Patriots, who won the Central Maryland Conference and the Frederick County Tournament, twice beat Liberty in four games earlier this season.

The Lions may have done TJ a huge favor, too. The Patriots (16-1) took their only loss against South Carroll and were extended to five games in their other matchup. Liberty downed the Cavaliers in four games Wednesday.

W.Va. Class AAA volleyball

Despite a loss on Tuesday to Hampshire, Jefferson still gets a crack at the state tournament. The second seed in their section, the Cougars will face Section 2 champion Fairmont Senior at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Region II semifinals at East Fairmont High School.

Jefferson may be without hitter Beth Poole. The senior bruised her elbow in game two of the sectional final and went to the hospital for x-rays after the game.

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