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Prep soccer notes - Bulldogs have dates for Region II finals

November 01, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

The Martinsburg boys and girls teams have been riding on parallel planes this fall.

Saturday, they'll be traveling on the same bus together to Buckhannon.

There, both Section 4 champion Bulldogs squads will play Morgantown in the West Virginia Region II finals - girls at 3 p.m., boys at 6 p.m.

Pretty amazing runs for one school in one season, huh?

"I'm not sure what it is," said Martinsburg girls coach Curtis Keesecker. "The boys have a very competitive program ... and I never give up on conditioning.

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"I have a lot of individual talent, and they work as a team very well. I just try to get them in the best shape I can get them in."

The No. 1 Bulldog girls (17-2-1) have certainly looked fit this postseason. They beat Musselman 5-1 and No. 7 Jefferson 2-0 en route to the sectional crown, before ripping apart Hampshire 8-0 in the regional semifinals Tuesday.

The No. 3 Martinsburg boys (15-1-3) also cruised in the regional semis Tuesday with a 6-0 win over Petersburg - one night after their come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win over No. 6 Hedgesville in the sectional championship.

"I was very confident that whoever came out of this area could go all the way," said Bulldogs boys coach Jason DeBaugh, who was also on the team's last trip to the regional finals in 1991, when he was a freshman defender.

"But we're just taking it one game at a time. I won't let them go any further than that. We're only three games from being state champions, but that's three games."

The first of which is the regional finals, where the Bulldogs face Morgantown - a team they beat 1-0 earlier this season, and fell 1-0 to in last year's regional semis.

"In football, it's any given Sunday," DeBaugh said. "In soccer, it's any given game."

The same seems true for the Martinsburg girls, who beat Morgantown 1-0 this year, after falling 6-0 to the Mohigans in last year's regional final.

Of course, the Bulldog girls didn't have their master's degree last year.

"Last year, we got our bachelor's degree and were working on our master's," said Keesecker. "This year, we've got our master's and are working on our doctorate."

The degree of separation hasn't been much of one from the boys.

"We could possibly parallel each other the whole way," said DeBaugh. "That'd be terrific."

Wildcats four-peat

Williamsport boys coach Stan Stouffer recently described the Monocacy Valley Athletic League as a "fairly good little conference with some good players."

He should know best, seeing as how he and his guys have owned it the last four years.

The No. 2 Wildcats (12-2-1) posted an 8-0-1 record in the MVAL this fall for their fourth straight undefeated season and league crown, en route to the Class 1A West top seed.

"The kids have worked hard, and we've been lucky," said Stouffer on Wednesday, before his team's 1-0 upset loss to Boonsboro in Thursday's regional quarterfinals. "We just want to go as far as we can."

Stouffer guided the Williamsport boys to state titles in 1979 and 1996 and state finals apperances in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

So, what was Stouffer's postseason outlook this year?

"Who knows?" he said. "Nothing's for sure in the playoffs."

Obviously, unlike the MVAL regular season in recent years.

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