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Leopards haunt foes with sweep

November 01, 2002|by JACK HILL III

SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg was a house of horrors for opposing soccer teams on Thursday.

The Northern Garrett boys and Allegany girls came to town to bravely advance in the Class 1A West playoffs. They left with the biggest fright of all - a blank stat sheet.

The Leopards boys nipped the Northern Garrett Huskies 1-0 in the boys game as a prelude to the girls' 4-0 shutout of the Allegany Campers.

It was the seventh straight win for the Smithsburg boys (11-4-1), who will now host Boonsboro in the West semifinals. The Smithsburg girls (11-4) will travel to Boonsboro for their semifinal match.

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Both games are Monday at 7 p.m.

Smithsburg's boys, who outshot Northern Garrett (4-9) by a 24-4 margin, found themselves locked in a scoreless tie at halftime.

Smithsburg got the only goal it needed in the 55th minute when senior David McDougal scored through the middle on an assist from junior Gerry Spessard.

"I felt that we should have had many more goals," McDougal said. "I am just glad that I got the deciding goal. It was such horrible weather conditions that I thought that one goal would decide it. I think that we played great on defense. We are starting to show a lot of improvement. We are starting to play more as a team instead of as individuals."

Smithsburg goalkeeper Sean Hunt recorded a shutout, while Northern Garrett goalkeeper Geoff Newman made 10 saves.

"We have had a lot of trouble scoring goals," Smithsburg coach Paul Newman said. "I think that we have made a lot of progress with building up a good defense that has allowed us to stay in games. We rely a lot on our short possession, our passing and our speed. The field just didn't allow us to play our style of game. There were a few times when our players slipped and just could not get off the shot."

In the girls game, junior Kristen Poffenberger had two goals and one assist to lead Smithsburg.

"Everybody played real hard," Poffenberger said. "The whole bunch is awesome. We have come a long way since the beginning of the season and we are working together real well. The strikers did a great job of communicating. Everyone did a good job of passing the ball around."

The Leopards recieved a sugnificant contributions from its freshman class.

Tara Bywaters and Shannon Fowkes scored Smithsburg's other two goals, while Courtney Brown had one assist.

Smithsburg outshot Allegany (2-10-3) by a 26-3 margin. Senior goalkeeper Marjorie Gray made 21 saves for Allegany.

"I thought that our midfielders played a great game and they did a good job of controlling the middle," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "Our strikers and our outside midfielders have done a great job with their communication, with crossing the ball and with finishing. The defense was steady as usual. We did a good job of bottling them up and not letting them get to the outside."

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