For Carroll's high school sports team still playing, mid-May means a new level of excitement surrounding the regional playoffs. Boys and girls lacrosse teams are one win away from advancing to the region finals; baseball and softball squads are a step behind but equally as motivated to keep posting victories.
Fans of those sports have a few intra-county clashes from which to choose if they want to get a glimpse at some of the area's top spring athletes and teams competing.
Monday brings sectional finals in lacrosse.
In Class 2A West, Century's girls (10-4) host Winters Mill (11-5) at 6 p.m in the Section 1 title game. On the boys side, Liberty (7-6) hosts Winters Mill (6-10) at 6 p.m. in their sectional final.
Francis Scott Key's boys (4-9) and girls (4-9) teams are playing 1A West Section 1 finals Monday, both at 4 p.m. against Western Tech at Arbutus Middle School in Baltimore County.
Westminster's boys and girls are each hosting 3A West Section 1 finals Monday at Ruby Field. The Owls girls (12-3) face Rockville at 5:30, and the boys (14-1) take on Blake following that contest.
The 2A West games feature their share of intrigue.
The Knights are coming off a 12-11 victory against county champion South Carroll, which knocked off Century during the regular season. Century's Grace Bruce netted the deciding goal with four seconds to play.
Their opponent needed overtime to take down Oakdale 11-10 in overtime Friday night — Sophia Barnes scored the game-winner, while Madison Harmening collected five goals to lead Winters Mill to a thrilling road victory.
The boys matchup pits two teams that pulled off impressive upsets in the previous round. Liberty, which lost to Century 12-2 during the regular season, avenged that game with a 6-5 win Friday. Meanwhile, the Falcons got six goals apiece from Reid Stewart and Kaden Ross, and six assists from Justin Hulse, to clip Oakdale 15-14.
Alex Carr scored the game-winner in overtime — he did the same last Wednesday to help WM edge South Carroll in the sectional quarterfinals.
Three county softball teams are hosting sectional semifinals Monday.
One of the 2A West Section 1 semis features county champion Century (12-5) at home against Winters Mill. The Falcons (8-10) beat Liberty to reach this point, and while they lost twice to the Knights during the regular season both games were close (5-4 on April 9 and 7-5 in extra innings April 28).
South Carroll, winners of nine in a row, hosts Oakdale in the other sectional semifinal. The Cavaliers (12-6) made a run to the 2A state finals last season.
Westminster (10-6) plays at home against Blake at 4 p.m. The Owls are the top seed in 3A West Section 1 and had a bye in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Manchester Valley (8-8) won its 3A West Section 1 quarterfinal Thursday to advance to Monday's semifinal at Blake.
The winners will meet Wednesday in the sectional final.
Baseball resumes postseason play Tuesday with three county teams remaining.
County champion Century (15-3) hosts Winters Mill (10-7) in the 2A West Section 1 final at 4 p.m. The Knights crushed Oakdale 17-1 on Saturday, while the Falcons got past South Carroll 3-1.
Manchester Valley, fresh off its upset win over Westminster in the 3A West Section1 semifinals, travels to Rockville for the sectional final. The Mavericks are 9-9.