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Here’s where Carroll County championship chases stand as modified fall sports season nears its end

The abbreviated high school fall sports season is slated to conclude April 16, which means county championships are being decided within the next nine days.

Two of them were clinched Tuesday evening at the same location. Liberty’s boys soccer team won its fourth county title since 2015 by beating Westminster 4-3 in overtime. Meanwhile, Westminster’s volleyball team topped the Lions in straight sets to maintain its unbeaten record and take a fourth consecutive county crown.

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Senior midfielder Ben Hiebler scored a pair of goals, one late in regulation and the second late in OT, to help Liberty (7-0) add another boys soccer county title to its program’s resume. The Lions recently won in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2019 before taking another one this season.

The county title is determined based on winning percentage. Since every other county team has at least two losses, Liberty is the champ with one game remaining in its season.

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On the court, inside Liberty High School’s gymnasium, junior hitter Cassie Shields (13 kills) and senior hitter Sabina Rinda (12 kills) powered Westminster’s offense in a 3-0 victory. Seniors Jackie Karcz and Alexis Troy pitched in on defense, and the Owls ran their record to 7-0.

Their head-to-head win over Century (6-1) means they would still be champs should they lose their season finale Thursday against South Carroll.

Let’s take a look at the other fall sports and how the county title races are shaping up.

Girls Soccer

Century (5-0) is trying to repeat as county champs, and the Knights can do so by beating Liberty on April 12. Century has two games remaining, a second matchup with the Lions and a road game at Francis Scott Key on April 15.

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The Lions suffered their second loss of the year (4-2) Tuesday when Westminster edged them 1-0. And the rest of Carroll’s teams have at least two losses as well. The Knights are coming off a COVID-19 pause, and they had to reschedule two games to adjust their schedule.

Century won five county titles in a row from 2012-16 (sharing one with Manchester Valley in 2014) before winning another one in 2019. The Knights have yet to allow a goal this season.

Liberty's Maggie Heffler, right, celebrates her goal in the first half of the Lions' win over Westminster in Woodbine Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
Liberty's Maggie Heffler, right, celebrates her goal in the first half of the Lions' win over Westminster in Woodbine Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Dylan Slagle)

Field Hockey

The county title looks to be up for grabs Friday when Liberty (7-0) and Century (7-1) meet for the second time this season. The Lions beat the Knights 3-1 on March 12 at Western Regional Park, and they’re going for a third county championship in as many seasons.

It will be a matchup of the top two scorers in Carroll with Century’s Mackenzie Feltz (10 goals, 4 assists entering Wednesday) and Liberty’s Caitlynn Szarko (9 goals, 5 assists).

Football

Westminster (4-0) had the edge with two weeks remaining. The Owls have the head-to-head tiebreaker with South Carroll (3-1), having beaten the Cavaliers 35-0 in Week 2. The rest of the county teams have two or more losses.

Westminster is going for a second straight county title and third in four seasons. The Owls had their bye last week and are set to return Friday to host Francis Scott Key (0-4).

Golf

The annual county tournament is set for April 10 at Oakmont Green Golf Course in Hampstead, but unlike previous seasons it won’t decide the county champion just yet.

The formula to decide the county champ, as it has been for the last several years, is to give each team two points for every official match won during the season and one point for every team beaten in the county tournament standings. There are some matches scheduled for next week that count in the official standings, so this year’s tourney will serve as a boost to whoever can take the county title.

Westminster (8-0), Manchester Valley (5-2-1), and Winters Mill (4-3-1) are the top teams so far, but not all of those matches have counted in the official standings.

Westminster running back Erick Stranko handles the ball as he looks to get past the Century defense during a football game at Century High School on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Westminster running back Erick Stranko handles the ball as he looks to get past the Century defense during a football game at Century High School on Friday, March 26, 2021. (Brian Krista)

Cross Country

The Carroll County Athletic League championship meet is scheduled for April 14 at Carroll Community College. In preparation for the county meet, Westminster hosted Century and Liberty on Wednesday while South Carroll welcomed FSK, Man Valley, and Winters Mill.

South Carroll hosted the 2019 county meet, won by Liberty’s boys and girls teams. The Lions have won the last four boys team titles, from 2016-19, and also took first in 2013 and 2014. Liberty’s girls last won in 2014, 2017, and 2019.

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