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Bulldogs, Applemen get top billing

September 12, 2008

A pair of Eastern Panhandle teams - Martinsburg's boys soccer team (7-0) and Musselman's volleyball team (3-0) - have earned top billing in the West Virginia Class AAA state rankings and The Herald-Mail's Super 7 polls early this season.

Martinsburg already has a victory over defending state champion Parkersburg - a major reason why the Bulldogs are the top team in the West Virginia High School Coaches Association poll. They're also earning national recognition as the 27th-ranked team in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings.

Martinsburg has outscored its opponents, 18-3. Junior Aaron Anderson leads the Bulldogs with six goals and Gavin Washington has four. Goalkeeper Roger Ausherman has five shutouts.

Musselman is the top-ranked team in the West Virginia Regional Sports Network's Class AAA volleyball poll.

The Applemen finished second to Parkersburg in last year's state tournament, and they won the Oak Glen Invitational last weekend, racking up victories over Parkersburg as well as the top two Class AA teams - Oak Glen and Phillip Barbour. Musselman also defeated Strasburg, last year's Virginia Class A fall state champion, in five close games on Sept. 3.

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Erica Manor - a Herald-Mail All-Area First Team selection last year - leads the Applemen with 4.18 kills per game, with Sabina Nicewarner second at 3.23 kills per game. Setter Kayla Jones has filled the shoes of All-Area First Team selection Chelsea Wheaton - who graduated - admirably, averaging 8.14 assists.

Hedgesville (2-0) is ranked third in West Virginia Class AAA, and Martinsburg (2-0) is 10th.

Russ sets county record

Mike Russ had a day to remember on Sunday.

The St. James senior shattered the Washington County record for passing yardage - and nearly set a state record - when he threw for 508 yards in the Saints' 41-35 win over Randolph-Macon Academy.

Russ was 20-for-37 with three touchdown passes and added to his impressive performance by running for three more scores, including the game winner with 25 seconds left in the game.

Russ broke the county record of 384 yards set by Clear Spring's Tyler Braithwaite in 2004. The Maryland record is held by Keith Ricca of St. John's at Prospect Hall (now St. John's Catholic Prep), who threw for 515 yards in a win over Riverdale Baptist in 2003.

Dice-rolling Blazers

Don't bet against the Clear Spring girls soccer team this fall.

"This should be our season, our best season ever," senior Sarah Dice said after scoring two goals to lift the Blazers to a 2-0 win over South Hagerstown in the first round of the Washington County tournament last Friday.

Dice scored two more goals Saturday to lift Clear Spring to a 2-0 victory over Smithsburg for its first-ever win over the Leopards and a spot in the final against North Hagerstown on Sept. 20.

The Blazers last appeared in the county final in 2002, the same year they went 9-6-2, still their most wins in program history.

They also met North in the final that year and lost 4-2. And they'll have their work cut out for them again this year, after falling 2-0 on Tuesday to the Hubs, who have won five of the last six county tourneys, including the last four.

Indians start strongly

The Waynesboro football team is on a roll.

Yes, it's hard to call a two-game winning streak a roll, but when a program has struggled as long as Waynesboro's, any streak that's not a losing streak is welcome.

The Indians are off to their first 2-0 start since 2000, when current Hancock head coach Dave Mahaffey was in his first season at Waynesboro. They've been impressive in those two wins also, outscoring their opponents 56-7.

The Indians had a three-game winning streak last season - their longest since they won seven straight in 1992, which was also their last winning season.

Don't overlook the Hubs

A quick glance at the results from Monday's Interstate Classic cross country meet at Clear Spring might have been a bit deceiving.

The Smithsburg girls, the reigning Washington County champs, finished a close second in the small-school team standings, while the North Hagerstown girls finished sixth out of eight schools in the big-school division.

But take away all the other schools, and the Hubs would have beaten the Leopards 21-37 in a dual meet.

Williamsport was the only county team missing from the meet.

- Compiled by The Herald-Mail sports staff

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