The North Carroll-Old Mill wrestling match last January probably wasn't the last important meeting between the two schools.

Old Mill of Anne Arundel County meets North Carroll Saturday in the second gameof the Westminster holiday softball tournament at Deer Park. The Patriots start the season ranked No. 8 in The Sun, while North Carroll is ranked one spot behind in the same poll.

In an ideal world, the tournament would be set up so its top two teams would meet in the championship game, but Westminster would liketo play in that game, too. So, the Owls face Littlestown (Pa.) in the day's first game at 9:30 a.m. The Old Mill-North Carroll game follows at 11:30.

The consolation game is slated for 1:30 p.m. and the championship tilt at 3:30.

North Carroll has nine starters back from last year's Class 3A state championship team, but lost its opener to Frederick, 6-3, last week with starting pitcher Michelle Ament benched for team disciplinary reasons and right fielder Kristi McCulley sidelined with a knee injury.

Ament is back this week, but McCulley's status is day-to-day. She could be available as soon as this weekend or as late as early next week.

Old Mill lost to eventual stateClass 4A champ Chesapeake in an all-Anne Arundel Region IV title game last spring, while compiling an 18-4 record. The team's entire infield is back, and the addition of Glen Burnie transfer Jen Schmittle, who led the Gophers in all offensive categories last year,should helpOld Mill's fortunes.

"People expect us to be down this year, but I don't think we will (be)," said third-year coach Debbie Shacklock. "I think we'll surprise some people."

North Carroll tunes up for the tournament, which will not count toward league or region standings, with an important county, Central Maryland Conference and Class 3A Region I game 4 p.m. tomorrow at Liberty.

In other sports this week:

* The companion baseball tournament in Westminster doesn't havenearly the luster of the softball fray, but some interesting games are on tap in the mixer-style event.

Westminster plays McDonogh School of Baltimore County on the upper field at Landon Burns Park, and Francis Scott Key meets North Carroll on the lower field at 9:30 a.m.Saturday.

The 12:30 p.m. games feature McDonogh and North Carrollon the upper diamond and Westminster and Key on the lower field.

* Westminster tangles with one of the area's strongest -- and most controversial -- girls lacrosse programs when the Owls visit Mount Hebron in Howard County tomorrow (4 p.m. varsity, 5:30 junior varsity).

The Vikings are coached by P.J. Kesmodel, a male who advocates a more-physical, running-style game similar to boys lacrosse. That makes many girls lacrosse purists -- who prefer the more intricate stickwork of the female game -- wince, but Kesmodel also develops winning teams.

Mount Hebron is traditionally one of the metro area's strongerpublic school teams.

* The first intra-county boys lacrosse matchof the season is set for tomorrow night at Westminster (6 p.m. junior varsity, 7:30 varsity). With those two expected to challenge South Carroll's four-year lock on the county title, the game will be of great importance in county standings.

Westminster opened the season with a close, 6-4 loss to Howard, one of the top-ranked teams in the metro area, while Liberty defeated Atholton of Howard County, 14-9.

* Francis Scott Key and North Carroll tangle in tennis at 4 this afternoon in Uniontown.

Both North Carroll teams are trying to rebound after tough seasons last year, as is Key's boys team. The Eagles' girls, meanwhile, are rebuilding after one of the best performances inschool history last spring.

Though none of the squads from the two schools figures to challenge for county honors this year, the matchshould be a gauge to see how well the rebuilding projects are going.

* The Western Maryland Relays, the Green Terrors' traditional track and field lid-lifter, are set for noon Saturday at Scott S. Bair Stadium. All events, including field competitions, are scored relay-style, putting the emphasis on team depth.

WMC coach Doug Renner said most of the top Middle Atlantic Conference schools will participate, along with independent schools such as York College.

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