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Leopards' new kids keep old habits alive

Smithsburg's girls soccer team returns to the state tournament behind underclassmen Tara Bywaters and Candace Stanford.

Smithsburg's girls soccer team returns to the state tournament behind underclassmen Tara Bywaters and Candace Stanford.

November 08, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Smithsburg's Tara Bywaters wasn't a part of the Leopards' co-champion run at states last season. Teammate Candace Stanford was along for the ride, but she didn't play.

Thanks in large part to the underclassmen pair's efforts Thursday night at School Stadium, No. 6 Smithsburg is headed back to the Maryland Class 1A final four.

Bywaters, a freshman forward, tallied the game's only goal midway through the second half. And Stanford, a sophomore keeper, helped make it stand with seven saves, as the Leopards knocked off Beall, 1-0, for their second straight 1A West Region crown.

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"Our seniors get to see (states) twice ... and it will be my first time as a player," said Stanford, who spent most of last season and the beginning of this one on the JV squad. "It's just exhilarating, especially since we lost 14 seniors (including eight starters) from last year.

"Nobody thought we were going to make it. Now, I think we're going all the way."

Smithsburg (13-4) will face the East champion, either Queen Anne's or Cambridge-South Dorchester, Monday in the state semifinals at either 5 or 7:30 p.m. at a site to be determined.

"It's tremendous, so exciting," said Bywater. "We worked really hard for this."

With Smithsburg leading scorers Kristen Poffenberger and Shannon Fowkes heavily marked all night, Bywater stepped up and broke free with just under 19 minutes left on the clock. She took a cross pass from Poffenberger from 10 yards out and drilled it into the right corner of the goal, just past Beall keeper Kacey Kahl's diving reach, for the game-winner.

"We knew we were going to have to get a goal from someone other than Shannon and Kristen because the word was out on them," said Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes, whose squad outshot the Mountaineers, 13-10. "A couple of young players stepped up tonight."

"It was just a great soccer game," he said. "We said at halftime that it was just who was going to dig deeper the last 40 minutes."

However, the Leopards seemed to dig a bit too deep at times for Beall coach Martha Mauzy, who also expressed displeasure about her team's goal that was disallowed due to an offsides call early in the second half.

"The physical play allowed down here took us out of our game," she said. "And I questioned the goal that was called back. ... But that's part of the game.

"They were a good team."

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