Charles County

Stingy Defense Lifts Westlake Soccer

With the playoffs beginning this week, Westlake's boys soccer team could not have picked a better time to peak. Since losing 5-2 to St. Mary's Ryken on Oct. 5, the Wolverines have not only gone undefeated, they have recorded four straight shutouts.

"We made some changes defensively after the Ryken game, and I guess they've worked," Westlake Coach Armand Delacruz said.

Sophomore Pat Spencer and senior Danny Trueblood have shared time in goal, and when Spencer was forced out of Tuesday's game against La Plata with a broken pelvic bone and Trueblood was sidelined briefly after suffering bruises to five of his ribs, third-string goalkeeper Mike Flynn got into the action and preserved the 1-0 shutout.

"La Plata put the press on us the last 20 minutes of that game," Delacruz said. "But right now, no matter who's in there, we're just unwilling to let anyone score."

* McDONOUGH: The boys cross-country team may not claim the individual title at Wednesday's Southern Maryland Athletic Conference cross-country meet at Oakridge Park, but with No. 1 runner Danny Bowes, Josh Trice and Robbie Stine in good form, the Rams could contend.

"I think those three guys could finish anywhere from fourth to 15th," Coach Mark Whidden said. "The competition in the SMAC this year, at least on paper, has just been so close. Whoever runs the smartest race is going to win."

McDonough went 9-2 in the conference this fall.

* LACKEY: The boys soccer team (0-10 going into Friday's game at Westlake) lost junior defender Danny Heaney for the season when he broke his left arm Monday against Thomas Stone. Heaney had scored the team's only goal of the season on a penalty kick. The Chargers now have 13 players on their roster, and will play Prince George's contender Gwynn Park in the 2A South playoffs at the end of the week.

* THOMAS STONE: The volleyball team started the season 3-1, but it since has gone 2-7. "I just don't know what happened," Coach Linda Curry said. "It has been very disappointing."

The Cougars also lost senior middle hitter Rachel Evans last week, when she tore ankle ligaments. She may miss the entire postseason, Curry said.

* LA PLATA: The volleyball team is 3-6 in the SMAC, but it has definitely improved--last season they won two league games. Thursday, the Warriors played St. Mary's Ryken tough before losing, 9-15, 15-5, 15-7, 12-15, 15-12. The team's top threat is senior middle hitter Adrian Draper, who averages 14 kills a game.

-- Angie Watts and Greg Brice

St. Mary's County

Braves Build a Volleyball Winner

With two regular season matches remaining, the Chopticon volleyball team (8-4) has assured itself a winning season for the first time "in nine or 10 years," according to Coach Steve Correll.

Chopticon has played every match on the road and has been unable to practice at the school while the school gymnasium is being renovated. Correll said the team has endured a cramped court and a leaky roof while training at a small gym nearby.

"We're having such a good year, and we haven't had a home game to show people here what we've accomplished," Correll said.

* LEONARDTOWN: The boys soccer team (10-2-1) defeated Calverton, 5-3, on Friday in an away game that had been rescheduled from Oct. 7. But according to an account in a local newspaper, the game already had been played--and the Raiders supposedly lost. Leonardtown Coach Bruce Henderson used the story bearing the headline "Calverton Scores 3-0 Win Over Raiders" to motivate his team for its third game in four days.

"They couldn't believe it when I showed it to them," Henderson said. "They were shocked."

* ST. MARY'S RYKEN: Amber Boyd-Miller resides in North Carolina but has returned to St. Mary's to coach her alma mater's field hockey team while her husband is overseas with the Marine Corps. "Ryken had no coaches this year, and I was kind of worried about what would happen," said the 1988 Ryken graduate. "I certainly didn't want to see anything happen to a program that I've spent a lot of time with in the past."

Junior forward Ashley Simms leads the Knights (7-4) with six goals, and senior midfielder Britt Farrall has five assists.

* GREAT MILLS: The boys soccer team has suffered through a season of injuries and close defeats, but it may have turned the corner with two straight wins last week. Great Mills (4-6-1) defeated Patuxent, 2-0, Tuesday and then used junior Tyler Carpenter's overtime game-winner to down Chopticon, 2-1.

"We've had a tough ride," Coach Chris Meyers said. "But we're trying to rebuild the program, and we've improved from last year and we're getting better."

-- Brian Straus

Calvert County

Panthers Finish Strong in Cross-Country

James Cox ran a personal-best time of 18 minutes 3 seconds as the Patuxent boys cross-country team defeated Calvert, 18-43, and Lackey, 17-46, in a tri meet Thursday. The Panthers, who took seven of the top 10 places, finished the regular season 7-4 in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.

"James ran a good race," Patuxent Coach Prasad Gerard said. "He stayed behind [Calvert's G.W.] Chew for the first mile, then made his move and never looked back."

Patuxent's girls also defeated Calvert, 19-44, and Lackey, 15-50, on Thursday. Led by Lillian Ricardo, who won the race in 21:08, the Panthers took eight of the top 10 spots. Patuxent (11-0) will attempt to defend its conference title Wednesday at the SMAC championships at Oak Ridge Park.

* CALVERT: Shannon Baker scored midway through the first half as the field hockey team tied Leonardtown, 1-1, on Thursday, but the result left the Cavaliers just short of winning the SMAC title. Leonardtown (11-0-1) finished the regular season in first place while Calvert (10-0-2) was conference runner-up.

"That was the most incredible game," Calvert Coach Nicole Wilson said. "Both teams played extremely well. It's just too bad that one of us had to lose" the conference title.

* NORTHERN: When the volleyball team starts the postseason on Nov. 8 with a Maryland 3A South regional quarterfinal against Patuxent, there will be a familiar face on the opposite bench. Cheryl Lord is Patuxent Coach Matt Poteet's assistant; Lord used to coach at Northern as current Patriots Coach Beth Incrocci's assistant.

-- Greg Brice and Josh Leventhal

CAPTION: Calvert's Hilary Lisenbigler, left, fights for the ball with Leonardtown's Erica Adams during the regular season finale for both teams. The 1-1 tie narrowly gave the SMAC title to Leonardtown.