Williamsport’s unbeaten Wildcats have two more MVAL Antietam opponents standing between them and an undefeated conference championship — Monday at Catoctin and Wednesday at home against Boonsboro. Williamsport will be heavily favored in both matches.
The Wildcats shared the Antietam title with Smithsburg and Clear Spring in 2008, as all three schools finished with 4-1 records in what was then a six-team league. Williamsport’s last outright title came the year before, when the Wildcats went 5-0.
Smithsburg — which only has one loss, coming to Williamsport on Sept. 13 — will travel to North Hagerstown on Tuesday for a match that likely will decide second place in the conference.
That loss to the Wildcats snapped the Leopards’ 40-match winning streak dating to the start of 2009 — a stretch that included two Maryland Class 1A state titles. But Smithsburg has been building the foundations for another possible 1A playoff run, with a new cast of characters leading the way in its eight-match winning streak through Wednesday.
Danielle Harbaugh leads Washington County with her 5.00 kills-per-game average and is second (and first among public schools players) with 1.17 blocks per game. Amanda Snowden (2.25 kills, 3.28 digs) and Haley Caudell (1.75 kills, 0.78 blocks) have been steady secondary options. And Karah Knight leads the county defensively with 5.31 digs per game.
The Hubs’ front-line weapons are a known quantity, with Autumn Fisher (3.52 kills, 0.97 blocks), Peyton Wallech (3.19 kills, 0.65 blocks) and Iman Scott (1.65 kills) leading the way and Brynne Kirsch leading the county with 10.45 assists per game.
But it’s North’s defense that deserves a deeper look. Seven players are averaging at least 1.80 digs per game — Kirsch (2.84), Mollie Johnson (2.83), Fisher (2.81), Michey Moody (2.57), Erika Lawrence (2.12), Lauren Serafini (1.90) and Alexis McCarthy (1.82).
November could be memorable for Washington County volleyball, with Smithsburg (1A), Williamsport (2A) and North (3A) all looking like contenders for deep playoff runs.
* The Mason Dixon Christian Conference tournament starts Tuesday with four games at the top four seeds — with undefeated Heritage Academy having the top seed. The final four teams will do battle at Shalom Christian on Oct. 22 in semifinals, a third-place match and a championship match.
Boys SoccerBerkeley Springs junior Zach Wise has been nothing short of a goal-scoring machine ever since he debuted as a freshman two years ago.
Wise scored the 100th goal of his prep career on Tuesday when he found the net for a second time in the Indians’ 3-1 victory over St. Maria Goretti. The two tallies gave Wise 30 for this season, with seven multigoal games — including a five-goal outing against Keyser on Oct. 6 and two four-goal games, against Petersburg on Aug. 30 and Pendleton County on Sept. 3.
Wise had 32 goals in his sophomore season last year and 38 in his freshman season in 2009. He followed in the footsteps of older brothers Josh and Jacob, who each starred for the Indians.
* The MVAL Antietam title is still very much up for grabs, with Brunswick scoring a key 2-0 win over Williamsport on Monday to become the last unbeaten team in league play.
Smithsburg traveled to North Hagerstown Thursday in another key league battle, and both teams have other big games coming up. The Hubs will host Brunswick on Saturday at 6 p.m., while the Leopards travel to Williamsport on Wednesday.
Smithsburg’s Adler Garrett leads all Washington County Public Schools players with 13 goals and 32 points. Clayton Layman’s 22 points (eight goals, six assists) rank second. The Leopards have won 5 of 7 games after an 0-4 start.
Williamsport remains the most balanced squad of the three county contenders for the Antietam title, having scored 24 goals and surrendered just eight in 12 games. North has given up just 12 goals but has scored only 13 in 11 games. Smithsburg has scored 29 but given up 36 in 11 games.
* The Mason Dixon Christian Conference tournament starts Tuesday with four games at the top four seeds. Semifinals will be played Thursday at the top two seeds remaining, and the championship and third-place games will be played Oct. 22 at Shalom Christian.
Had Boonsboro (7-3, 5-0) defeated Brunswick (6-2, 3-1) on Thursday night, it would have clinched its second straight MVAL Antietam title.
“We were looking forward to it,” Boonsboro coach Chris Lantz said. “It was our Senior Night. The whole team was up and ready to play.”
The Warriors, however, were forced to wait as the game was postponed due to weather. It was rescheduled for Oct. 24 at Boonsboro, and it will be the Warriors’ final regular-season match.
After traveling to play Manchester Valley in a nonconference game Tuesday, Boonsboro will host Clear Spring on Oct. 20 for what will now be Senior Night — and a key Antietam match.
“We approach every game as a game we want to win,” Lantz said.
The match vs. Brunswick still could prove to be the one the Warriors must win to claim the conference crown.
Boonsboro has been on a tear recently. Since losing 2-1 at North Carroll on Sept. 20 to fall to 2-3, the Warriors have won five straight, outscoring their opponents 17-3 in that stretch.
“We started off slow, but now we’re getting in a rhythm,” Lantz said.
South Hagerstown will host North Hagerstown and St. Maria Goretti on Monday for the second annual Hagerstown City Cross Country Championships. The boys race starts at 4:30 p.m. and the girls follow at 5.
The boys race should be a battle between the Rebels, the defending city champs, and the Gaels. Last weekend, St. Maria Goretti won the boys team title at the Independent-Parochial School League Championships at Saint James, while the South boys had in an impressive third-place finish out of 13 schools at Smithsburg’s Don Stoner Invitational.
Goretti has the top two returnees from last year’s boys race in Mitch Swope (who was third) and Patrick Jones (fourth). But South’s Bryan Durboraw (who was fifth) is the favorite this year.
North ran away with last year’s girls team title, sweeping the top seven places, and the Hubs are expected to dominate again.
Emily Simmons returns as the defending individual champ, although she’s been running behind teammate Emily Ward most of this season.
The top 10 boys and girls in each race will earn medals.
Weather permitting, golfers will tee off this morning at 9 at Black Rock Golf Course in the MVAL Antietam Conference Championship.
Smithsburg is the defending champion. In the medalist race last year, North Hagerstown’s Aaron Staley edged Smithsburg’s Kyle Huntzberry by one stroke for top honors, and the two will be back at it again.
* Two Chambersburg golfers remain alive in the Pennsylvania postseason.
Max Bell and Nick Stonesifer each qualified through the District 3 tournament last week and will be in the Eastern Regional on Monday at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood.
Qualifiers from the regional make it to the PIAA Championship, to be held Oct. 24-25 at Heritage Hills in York, Pa.
— Assistant sports editor Andrew Mason and staff writers Dan Kauffman and Tim Koelble contributed to this week’s notebook.