Soccer notes - Hubs, Warriors earn top seeds, big targets

October 28, 2005|by ANDREW MASON and DAN KAUFFMAN

As happy as North Hagerstown girls soccer coach Rick Aleshire is about his Hubs having the No. 1 seed in the Maryland Class 2A West playoffs, he knows the seeding and his team's 12-2 record only mean so much.

"Right now everybody is 0-0. It's a new season," Aleshire said. "You'd like to think that this might be the year. But, boy, it's tough. One bad game and you're done."

North learned that last year. The Hubs, who were seeded second in the region last season, dropped their first playoff match 2-0 to eventual state champ Middletown, the 10th seed last year, in the quarterfinals.


"That's the thing we've talked about since practice started in August," Aleshire said. "We want to get back and prove that we belong in one of these state playoffs."

After a first-round bye, North will host either Walkersville or South Carroll in a quarterfinal Tuesday at School Stadium. If the Hubs win that one, they could face fourth-seeded Winters Mill in the semifinals.

"We don't want to look ahead, but that's a good possibility. Winters Mill is pretty tough," Aleshire said. "But we're going to have a tough game with Walkersville or South Carroll.

"The teams that we're playing from Frederick and Carroll counties, that's good soccer. Every game you have to play hard."

One of the Hubs' two losses this season was a 2-1 setback to Winters Mill on Oct. 19.

Of course, that happened on the road. With the No. 1 seed, North will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

"I think in the playoffs, that's the key. The games are going to be close and the home field has that advantage," Aleshire said. "Look at Winters Mill. They haven't lost at home. All their losses and ties are on the road."

Both of North's losses also came on the road, which the Hubs might not have to hit until states.

- Boonsboro's boys team - the only soccer team without a loss - earned the top seed in Class 1A West.

The Warriors' road to a regional title and state tournament berth will not be without its trials, however. Boonsboro, which has a first-round bye, will face Smithsburg, a 2-1 winner over Allegany on Thursday, in Tuesday's quarterfinals and may play Williamsport in the semifinals and defending 1A champion Beall in the final.

The Leopards, playing at home, threw a solid scare into the Warriors before Boonsboro pulled out a 2-1 victory on Oct. 13.

The Wildcats finished second to Boonsboro in the MVAL Antietam, and they haven't had much luck against the Warriors, losing three times, each by two goals.

Beall defeated Boonsboro 2-0 in last year's regional final on a frigid night in Frostburg, Md. This time, should it come down to those two teams, Boonsboro would have the home-field advantage. Beall is not guaranteed to reach the final, however, with games against Fort Hill and most likely Northern Garrett looming on the horizon.

The Warriors' depth has been sensational this season, despite the loss of several starters from last year's squad. Tyler McKenrick leads Boonsboro with 55 points (14 goals, 22 assists), and four others (Mark Connelly, Nick Stenersen, Eric Fries, Ryan Alick) all have at least five goals and 15 points each.

- Martinsburg's boys are one win away from a second straight trip to the West Virginia final four. The Bulldogs play Elkins tonight in the Region II final at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

Since surviving a 3-2 scare against Musselman in the Section 4 semifinals last week - a game Will Rouse won with a goal in the second overtime - Martinsburg has had smoother sailing. The Bulldogs beat Jefferson 3-1 in the sectional final and obliterated Hampshire 10-0 in a regional semifinal Wednesday.

Martinsburg made up for the loss of 2004 Herald-Mail Player of the Year Nick Benavides - who had 32 goals and 28 assists - with Trent Reid (32 goals, seven assists) and Rouse (19 goals, 10 assists).

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