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Eagles Mentioned In West Carteret's Paper

Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 by J.J. Smith, Carteret News-Times
 

West fall teams living up to hype ... so far

 

NEWS-TIMES

 
Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 3:10 PM EDT

J.J. SMITH
"IN THIS CORNER"

Faithful readers of The News-Times’ sports pages may have noticed a theme during our fall high school sports preview stories: The West Carteret teams were going to be good.

The headlines alone pointed to a successful year for the Patriot fall squads.

The cross country headline read, “West girls seek eighth straight league cross country title, boys third straight.”

The girls return four of their top seven runners from last year’s league championship team and include a number of talented underclassmen. The boys return six of the top seven runners, including five seniors, from last season’s league title team.

Each started the conference season off on the right sneaker, with the girls winning easily and the boys finishing a shoelace off of first with a close second-place finish.


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Look for both to repeat as champions.

The tennis headline read, “West’s experience could provide top conference finish.”

The lady Patriots have 10 returning from last year’s team that finished 10-5 overall and 8-4 in the Coastal, which was good for third place.

West is currently 5-2 overall and an impressive 5-1 in the league with its only loss coming in a nail biting 5-4 loss to Washington last Thursday.

Its seems the worst the lady Patriots will do in the Coastal is second, and with only one senior on the roster, they could begin a string of top conference finishes.

The girls golf headline read, “West lady golfers eye special year.”

The lady Patriots had the best season in school history last year, but this season could be even better.

West won a conference championship for the first time in the school’s 46-year history and return all five starters, including Coastal Conference Player of the Year Kelly Mansfield, Player of the Year runner-up Sarah Forman and Coastal Conference Coach of the Year Phil Buzzelli.

The lady Patriots, who won every league meet last year, rolled to a league triumph in their first meet this season and defeated one of the top 3A teams in the state in Wilson Fike at a recent invitational.

There is no doubt, West will capture its second straight conference championship.

The volleyball headline read, “West Carteret looking for special season.”

The lady Patriots return seven seniors from last season’s team that faltered during the regular season with a 12-7 overall record and 7-7 league mark to finish fourth in the Coastal.

But the West spikers had a spring in their step during the postseason and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs with back-to-back upsets of top seeds.

The lady Patriots currently stand at 11-1 overall and 4-1 in the league with only the mighty Greenville clubs (D.H. Conley, South Central) standing in their way.

If West can split with those squads (it has already lost to D.H. Conley), it can fight for the top spot in the Coastal. With seven seniors, this is the year to do it.

 The soccer headline read, “Patriots heavy on experience, 13 varsity players returning.”

Eight of those 13 players are seniors and it seems they want to leave the pitch on a high note. The Patriots finished last year at 12-8-1 overall and 9-5-1 in the Coastal Conference, good for a third-place finish.

This year, Jacksonville looks to be running away with the conference, standing No. 1 in the latest N.C. Soccer Coaches Association (NCSCA) 3A Poll, but West could easily earn runners-up league honors.

The Patriot booters stand at 2-1 in the Coastal after a 3-1 victory over D.H. Conley on Tuesday. Two key matches versus West Craven, the No. 9 team in the NCSCA 3A Poll, next Tuesday and Oct. 21 could determine the league’s second-place finisher.

And last, but certainly not least to sports fans, is the football headline, which read, “West seniors out to avoid repeat.”

Last year’s club missed the state playoffs by 13 seconds abut with 25 returning players, including 16 seniors, this is THE year for the Patriots to make some noise in the Coastal.

Last season, the boys in red went 4-0 in nonconference play but ran into a buzz saw once league play started.

West was hardly competitive in any of its Coastal games, less its 30-14 victory over D.H. Conley and the 17-14 loss to Washington in the final seconds. The loss to the Pam Pack kept the Patriots out of the playoffs for the fifth straight year. West lost it’s other six league games by two touchdowns or more.

This season’s Patriots haven’t looked as dominating through nonconference play, but they seem to be a better than last year’s squad.

West has won a total of two Coastal games during the last five years, but if it stays healthy, and plays to its potential, there appear to be three winnable games in the league this season.

And who knows, the Patriots may even pull an upset. Four league victories would give West a special year on the gridiron and a fall sports season the school’s fans wouldn’t soon forget.

In the past five weeks, the West fall teams have lived up to the hype. But can they continue to meet those expectations in the next six weeks?

If so, the West fall sports banquet will be heavy on the hardware.

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