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Bulldogs' Benavides gets off to torrid start

September 17, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Just ask Martinsburg's Nick Benavides what his goals are for this season, and he won't waste any time answering.

"11."

Through Wednesday, the senior forward had an area-leading 11 goals for the No. 2 Bulldogs (5-0-1). Benavides also had an area-leading eight assists, giving him 30 points for a whopping 5-points-per-game average.

If he keeps that up, his other goals for the team may follow.

"I just want to get to the state tournament," Benavides said, following Martinsburg's 4-2 win over rival Hedgesville on Monday. "If we make it, I think we can go all the way."

The Bulldogs have never made it to the state final four. But they got close last year, falling one win short as Morgantown knocked them out in the Region II final.

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"Every year we get better," said Benavides, who led Martinsburg last year with 18 goals and 21 assists in 22 games. "Each year we lose great players, but more people step up and play."

Benavides is one of only three returning players from last year's Herald-Mail All-Area First Team. The other two are senior forward Jared Barkdoll of No. 1 Greencastle-Antrim (5-0) and senior defender Rob Franciscovich of No. 6 Thomas Johnson (3-2).

Tuscarora girls No. 1?

Sounds crazy, we know. But through Wednesday, the Titans, in just their first varsity season and with no seniors and only two juniors on their roster, still were unbeaten.

Of their four victories, only one - Wednesday night's 1-0 win over Westminster - was even close.

How can you not give a No. 1 ranking to a program that has never lost?

We might find out that answer soon.

The Washington County Tournament championship games are Saturday at School Stadium.

The boys game - Boonsboro vs. Williamsport - is at 11 a.m., and the girls game - Boonsboro vs. North Hagerstown - follows at 1 p.m.

The North boys and Smithsburg girls were last year's champs. The Williamsport boys and North girls were the runners-up.

Attention varsity coaches: If you didn't recently receive a stat sheet via fax from us, please contact us ASAP and we'll make sure you get one.

Your individual leaders and team stats need to be submitted to us by noon each Thursday to be included in our weekly Friday Preps Extra Page.

Clear Spring was the only girls team we received stats from this week. Through four games for the Blazers, junior forward Lindsey Keyton has four goals and junior keeper Jackie Hornbaker has a 1.5-goals-against average with 53 saves and a shutout.

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