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Giving the old college tries

MountâEUR(TM)s goal is goal of Leopard's Stanford

MountâEUR(TM)s goal is goal of Leopard's Stanford

April 29, 2005|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

After playing a vital part in three consecutive Maryland Class 1A West Region titles, Smithsburg goalkeeper Candace Stanford is bidding farewell to the Leopards to start a new chapter in her soccer journey.

Stanford, who set a school record for career shutouts (29), signed a letter of intent to tend goal for Mount St. Mary's in the fall.

"Mount St. Mary's is a place that I've been looking at since I was younger," Stanford said Wednesday. "I'm excited to go there and higher my level of play and try to make a difference."

Stanford, who plans to major in psychology with a concentration on family counseling, mulled over offers from Shepherd University, Shippensburg University, McDaniel College and Penn State before deciding on The Mount, where she hopes to improve under sixth-year coah Paul Wood.

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"I was leaning toward Mount St. Mary's and Paul Wood kind of laid it out that I was the only goalie he was recruiting, so that definitely played a part," she said.

Stanford might be the only keeper in the incoming class, but she is prepared for the competition that awaits - the friendly kind against The Mount's incumbent keeper, sophomore Anna Lebo, a Walkersville graduate.

"Anna started in two games last year, but from what (Wood) said, we are pretty much even," Stanford said. "We're actually pretty good friends and I wouldn't pick anyone else to have next to me. She's a great goalie and it's going to be a solid competition."

With the move, Stanford will be switching from the unbridled success enjoyed by Smithsburg to playing for a Mount St. Mary's team which won just four games last season.

"It's definitely going to be a tough transition, but I think the experience from high school will help," she said. "I was there when we had to rebuild at Smithsburg and I'm looking forward to helping rebuild the Mount St. Mary's program.

"For a small D-I program they have a lot of talented players."

Stanford should fit in with the Mount's assembled talent. She joined the Leopards varsity for the 2002 playoff season and posted four straight shutouts before surrendering a goal. She finished the postseason with 48 saves and just a 0.20 GAA.

Stanford came back in her junior year with a whopping 146 saves with 13 shutouts, earning First Team All-Area, All-MVAL Antietam and All-County honors.

She matched those honors in her senior campaign, as well as picking up a Second Team All-State selection. Stanford recorded 89 saves and 12 shutouts as a senior to lead the Leopards to a 17-2 record.

"Candace made a lot of big saves in a lot of big games," said Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes. "She was always there if we ever had a defensive lapse. It's tough to replace that and she will be missed."

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