The Chopticon boys soccer team has a modest record of 4-7-1, but the Braves are justifiably proud of it.

After winning just one Southern Maryland Athletic Conference game last season, Chopticon has beaten Northern, Patuxent, Lackey and Great Mills, and has been competitive against some of the league's other teams--such as taking defending champion La Plata to double overtime before falling. Returning all-SMAC D Brad Newkirk has been solid, and junior F Joe Marcheggiani has emerged as the team's top scoring threat.

"This has been a very good year," Coach John Settle said. "We're playing improved soccer and because of that, we've taken a lot of good teams the distance."

GREAT MILLS: A combination of inexperience and a SMAC schedule--featuring the top volleyball programs in the state--has left the volleyball team 0-10 this fall.

"The girls are all coming along, it's just that the other teams in the area, all of their girls seem to play club volleyball year-round, and our girls just don't do that," said Coach Fred Wagner, whose team fell 15-3, 15-7, 15-7 to McDonough on Thursday. First-year player Misty Stole, a junior, has become the team's top middle hitter, Wagner said.

ST. MARY'S RYKEN: Despite losing goalkeeper Stacy Buckner to a knee injury in early September, the girls soccer team is contending for the SMAC title. After losing to Westlake on Oct. 5, the Knights (8-2-1, 5-1-1) defeated Chopticon and Lackey by a combined score of 13-1. Junior Jessica Leonard has taken over as goalkeeper.

"Jessica has done a good job filling in for Stacy," Coach Richard Schmidt said. "She's never played keeper before, but she has great hands and she's very competitive."

LEONARDTOWN: The boys cross-country team turned in an impressive performance Wednesday, taking five of the top six spots in wins over Northern, 19-41, and Lackey, 15-48.

Jote Aga won the race in 17 minutes 42 seconds. He was followed by Northern's Jesse Ratliffe (17:47) and Leonardtown's Elijah Friess (18:03), Kevin Ripple (18:13), Matt Hoffman (18:14) and Joe Krafty (18:26).