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.
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.