In ordinary years, freshmen rarely make the varsity soccer squads atcounty high schools. The quantity and quality of the competition is normally just too fierce.
But this is no ordinary year. Freshmen not only are popping up on rosters around the county, but also are contributing as impact players.
"It's very unusual to have freshmen play so much," said Howard High coach Rudy Storch, whose team includes two strong freshmen players, Chris Dodson and Mike Bagrosky.
Among the girls teams, this year's freshman phenomenon is perhaps even more pronounced with Wilde Lake, Atholton and Centennial having key freshmen players.
Here's a look at each of this year's freshman phenoms:
* Brock Yetso, 14, ofCentennial, has started as keeper since the second game of the season for the top-ranked and undefeated Eagles. His 13 saves against Calvert Hall helped Centennial pull off its biggest victory of the year, 2-1.
Yetso has allowed just three goals in six games, one due to adefensive error by a teammate and one on a fluke shot.
"He reads the game well and is rarely out of position," Eagles coach Bill Starasaid. "Mentally he's a freshman, but physically he's mature beyond his time."
Yetso is 6 feet tall and 160 pounds. He's competed with older players on club teams, a practice that's called playing up, andthat has helped him adapt so quickly to the fast pace of varsity competition.
* Chris Dodson of Howard is a forward for the fourth-ranked Lions, and each of his two goals has won a game for them.
He didn't start until last Tuesday, but has been the first man off the bench and has played 80 percent of the time.
"Despite his limited size, he's made an impact on our team with his excellent skills," CoachStorch said. "He pressures people to make bad passes, and he's fun to watch."
* Mike Bagrosky of Howard has started every game and played four different positions for the Lions -- sweeper, forward, midfield and right fullback.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 145-pounder likes playing forward best but has played mainly defense. He's a state team player, a member of the Olympic Development Program regional pool. He played last season for the Columbia Elite '76 club team.
"My best game was against Centennial," Bagrosky said. The Lions lost that game 3-1 but were tied 1-1 in the second half. The Lions are 5-2.
* GavinPhillip of Wilde Lake has started some games at midfield and displayed good technical skills.
"He makes good decisions and has given us some excellent minutes," Coach Dave Nesbitt said. "He's creative onattack and has an accurate foot."
Like Bagrosky, Phillip plays for the Columbia Elite '76 club team.
"He's small in stature but hasa 6-foot-4 heart," Nesbitt said.
* Scott Baughman of Mount Hebronhas one goal and one assist as a midfielder for the Vikings, who are2-4-1.
"He knows what to do with the ball and dishes it off well," Coach Ron Martin said.
* Stephanie Van Deusen of Atholton has scored six goals and made four assists as a forward for the Raiders, who are 3-3-1.
"She has excellent skills, great dribbling ability and has made a big impact on our team," Coach Jane Koren said.
Van Deusen scored two goals against Mount Hebron, one of those directly off a corner kick. She takes Atholton's direct kicks and corners.
"Ican't imagine what she'll be like in four years," Koren said. "She'salready one of the most skilled players in the county right now."
* Sara Buckley of Atholton is only 5-feet-4, but can jump and touch the top of the goal. The keeper played her best game Tuesday in a loss to Oakland Mills.
"She's grown into being an aggressive goalie who takes control and calls the defense," Koren said. "And she has a lot of style in punting and catching."
* Shara Boonshaft of Centennial has played stopper, sweeper and center midfield while starting most of her team's games. She's scored three goals and has one assist.
"She's one of our best tacklers and is persistent," Coach Rick Pizarro said. "And she has good ball skills."
* Carrie Brelsford of Wilde Lake is a skilled player. As a 5-foot-9 stopper, she controls the middle and looks more like a senior than a freshman. She has started all seven games and played every minute in five of them.
"She's not afraid to mix it up," Coach Rick Wilson said. "I've been very pleased with her."
* Lindsay Waxler of Wilde Lake is the team's thirdforward and usually one of the first players off the bench.
She has two goals and four assists despite a sprained ankle suffered in the third game of the season.
* Kristin Riismandel of Wilde Lake plays midfield and has scored four goals to go with two assists.
"It's nice to see freshmen put up some numbers, because it gives them confidence," Wilson said. "Kristin can run all day, has great endurance and has started a couple of games."