There is a three-way race involving fifth-ranked Georgetown Visitation, sixth-ranked St. Stephen's/St. Agnes and seventh-ranked Holton-Arms in the Independent School League. Normally the league's field hockey tournament, which will begin in two weeks, would determine the winner.

Not this season. St. Stephen's/SA (11-2, 7-1), which last year was undefeated in the regular season and won the ISL tournament, has elected to play in the Virginia Independent School League tournament. Because the VISL event coincides with the ISL tournament, Saints Coach Marsha Way had to make a choice. She decided on the VISL.

"We play every team in the ISL during the season," said Way, who is also the girls athletic director. "I wanted to see other competition, see where we are with other schools in Virginia."

Right now, Way's team would be the top seed in the VISL. But as far as winning the ISL, the strategy may have backfired on the Saints. Two weeks ago, the team fell, 1-0, to Holton-Arms (11-2-1, 8-0-1). So the Saints will have to win their remaining games, including Wednesday's contest at Georgetown Visitation, and hope Holton-Arms is upset before the tournament.

Georgetown Visitation (10-1-1, 8-0-1) also has an outside chance to win the regular season title, if it defeats the Saints. The Cubs tied Holton-Arms, 2-2, on Sept. 23, in the only game either team failed to win in league play this year.

Tournament Time in Maryland

A shortage of officials has forced some Maryland regional playoff games scheduled for today to be moved back a day, according to Ned Sparks, executive director for the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

Sparks said he was not sure how many games were affected, but that most involved schools on the Eastern Shore and in the Frederick area.

"We'll try to keep things on schedule," he said.

Second-ranked Bethesda-Chevy Chase had its 2A playoff game at Urbana High in Frederick County moved to Friday, one day later than scheduled. . . .

Chesapeake hasn't had much luck with fourth-ranked Severna Park, but the 10th-ranked Cougars could get a third shot at the Falcons.

The Cougars suffered a 1-0 loss to Severna Park in the final regular season game last week, and they fell, 4-2, in the Anne Arundel county title game two days later.

But a Severna Park win the first round of the Maryland 4A East Region playoffs would pit the teams for an unusual third meeting of the season. . . .

Since several schools in Maryland do not play field hockey, the region tournaments are smaller than in other sports. This sometimes makes for odd happenings in the playoff draws. Ninth-ranked Quince Orchard benefited from such a quirk last Thursday in the tournament draw for the 4A West.

The Cougars received a double bye and advance to the quarterfinals game. The team's first postseason contest is Tuesday, when it will host Montgomery County rival Gaithersburg.