Soccer teams are entering the final weekend of the regular season, and the accustomed maneuvering for tournament playoff spots in the Big South Conference was affected by off-field decisions.
For the past month, UMBC, Towson State and the other members of the Big South have been awaiting the announcement of penalties against Coastal Carolina. In eight of its 13 victories, it used four players found to be professionals. The conference announced Monday that Coastal won't participate in the postseason tournament and that its games won't count in the seeding process.
As a result, UMBC's 6-1 loss to Coastal Carolina on Sept. 19 isn't being counted in the standings, and the Retrievers find that their 5-1 record is the best in the conference. The Retrievers can secure the first seed for the playoffs by beating Charleston Southern on Saturday (7 p.m.) at UMBC Stadium.
Minus a Sept. 12 loss to Coastal Carolina, Towson State's final Big South record is 4-2-1, and like UMBC, the Tigers will be home for a quarterfinal game a week from today.
Loyola will be home for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament Nov. 7-8, but bigger spoils are available this weekend. The Greyhounds (13-3-1) are at No. 10 William & Mary on Friday, and at Maryland on Sunday (2 p.m.). Loyola has gone 0-3-1 against William & Mary since beating the Tribe in the 1987 NCAA tournament, and it last beat Maryland in 1983.
A day after being ranked No. 24 in the nation, the Greyhounds lost, 2-0, at Fairfield, their first-ever setback after 31 straight victories in the MAAC. They are 3-0 against nationally ranked opponents, however, and still thinking of an NCAA berth.
Navy (10-5-1) had a six-game unbeaten streak end with a 2-0 loss at Army, but the Mids can lock up the fourth and final spot in the Patriot League semifinals by beating host Bucknell on Saturday.
In Division III, St. Mary's and Goucher finished second and third, respectively, in the Capital Athletic Conference, and both will be home for first-round games Friday.
Essex out for soccer sweep
Essex Community College has had the best men's and women's junior college soccer teams in the state to date.
Coach Sonny Askew's men, 11-3-1 overall and ranked No. 18 in the nation, put their unbeaten in-state record on the line Saturday, when they travel to Anne Arundel.
All-America midfielder Wojiech Bujak, a Polish emigre whose brother Darius starred for the Knights in 1986 and '87, has seven goals and six assists. Joe Bailey (Archbishop Curley) gives Essex another sophomore ace in the midfield, and stopper Jason Orsino (Boys' Latin) and goalie Zach Thornton (John Carroll) are veteran defenders.
Danny Santoro (Franklin) and Henry Jones (Perry Hall) are running up top.
Coach Scott Wittman's women are 14-0 and ranked No. 3 in the nation. They're at home Friday (3 p.m.) against Catonsville, which it beat, 2-1, two weeks ago. Freshman Robyn DePasquale (Mercy) and Stacy Schott (Franklin) are the top point-getters for Essex, but Catonsville counters with its own prolific combination, Angela Farace (North County) and Amy Leishear.
Essex will be host to the Region XX tournaments for both men and women Nov. 6-8.
St. Mary's turnaround
St. Mary's volleyball team might be the most improved team in the state -- in any sport.
The Seahawks went 5-21 in 1991, but they were 20-4 overall after winning the Chesapeake Women's Invitational at the College of Notre Dame. Juniors Jen Tregoning (Francis Scott Key) and Amy Brewer (Catonsville) and sophomore Stephanie Caples (Dulaney) headed the all-tournament team.
Runner-up Goucher placed sophomore Laurie Bender (Loch Raven) and freshmen Barbara Fleece and Karen Levi on the all-tournament team, which included Notre Dame's Sheila Mitchell (Dulaney) and Sheryl Pedrick (North Harford).
UMBC will be the site of the Big South cross country championships Saturday, with the women racing at 10 a.m. and the men at 10:45. Liberty is defending champ for both.
Also on Saturday, Maryland is at the ACC championships at North Carolina State, and Frostburg State goes after its second title in as many weeks when the Mason-Dixons are run at Christopher Newport. Navy goes after its first Heptagonals championship since 1974 tomorrow at Van Cortlandt (N.Y.) Park.
Maryland (11-6-1), the fifth and final seed for the ACC women's soccer tournament at Duke, plays Virginia in a first-round game Friday. . . . With 15 goals and eight assists, UMBC freshman Denise Schilte ranks sixth among the nation's scoring leaders.
Maryland: Quarterback John Kaleo and wide receiver Marcus Badgett were named co-Offensive Backs of the Week by the Atlantic Coast Conference. The two teamed on a game-ending 38-yard touchdown pass that beat Duke, 27-25. Kaleo, who also was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division I-A Offensive Player of the Week, completed 30 of 45 passes for 378 yards. Badgett's nine catches covered 218 yards.
Towson State: Junior tailback Tony Vinson was named the ECAC Division I-AA Offensive Player of the Week. He had school records of 41 carries and 264 yards in a 28-21 defeat of James Madison.
Loyola: Bill Heiser, a freshman from Bowie who attended Eleanor Roosevelt High, was named the Player of the Week in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He had three goals in two MAAC victories.
Salisbury State: Chris Hayes, a senior from Waldorf, was named the Player of the Week in the Eastern States Athletic Conference. He had two goals in as many Sea Gulls victories.
Loyola: Kim Colavito, a junior from Bedford Hills, N.Y., was named the Player of the Week in the MAAC. She averaged 3.87 digs per game and had 10 service aces.
Maryland: Andrea Oakes, a senior from East Berlin, Pa., was named the ACC Player of the Week. She had 44 kills in ACC victories over North Carolina and Duke.