Lin Sullivan admits to knowing little about tomorrow's Class 4A/3A state semifinal opponent, but he isn't worried.
He knows enough about his Chesapeake girls soccer team to ease any fear.
"We have our abilities and our game plan," he said. "We expect tostick to that and do what we do well and see whether Dulaney can stop it."
Few teams have been able to stop the Cougars (12-1-1), who are seeded No. 2, ahead of third-seeded Dulaney (11-2-1). The two teams meet at 5:30 p.m. at Glen Burnie High School, with the winner facing either Old Mill or Centennial in next Saturday's state final at Arundel.
Chesapeake is making its first appearance in the state playoffs after last weekend's 2-1 victory over Severna Park in the RegionIII final -- a game that left some observers wondering if the Cougars already had gained what they most desired.
After all, it was thefirst time Chesapeake had beaten the Falcons, the three-time defending 4A/3A state champions.
When asked if there could be a letdown after the Severna Park win, even with his players so close to a state championship, Sullivan said, "That's something a coach is
aware of, but I don't think this group of kids will let that happen to them.
"When you have an opportunity to do something like this, you have to take advantage of it. We thought we deserved respect all along andwere disappointed in the beginning when no one seemed to take us seriously. Now, we have a chance to prove we belong, and I don't think they'll let the opportunity pass."
Junior Stacey Necessary agreed with her coach, saying the Cougars are "getting more excited."
"Allwe have to do is stay together as a team, like we did in the SevernaPark game," she said.
Chesapeake easily could have come unraveledagainst the Falcons after falling behind, 1-0, on another in a series of early defensive breakdowns. But the Cougars regrouped and, with second-half goals from Necessary and sophomore Jamie Long and a strong game from senior keeper Cindy Herbert, posted the biggest win in school history.
Necessary's goal was her team-leading 10th of the season, along with six assists. Long has seven goals and one assist, senior Becky Thiele has five goals and six assists, and freshman Melissa Wagner, five goals and one assist.
"There's no one player you can mark. That just opens things up for somebody else," Sullivan said.
Then there's a defense that includes Herbert and fullbacks Nancy Yeager, Amber Campbell and Deanna Castle that Sullivan said has been "pretty solid" all year.
The numbers back that up.
Chesapeake has eight shutouts while surrendering an equal number of goals, despiteinjuries to Castle and Herbert.
Castle must wear a knee brace after an early season injury that kept her out of two full games, and Herbert sustained some tissue damage in her nose from a collision with an Old Mill player during a 1-0 loss in the last regular-season game.
The Cougars' second-leading scorer, senior left wing Kim Davis (seven goals, three assists), still is recovering from a back injury also suffered at Old Mill. She missed
both regional games, and Sullivan still doesn't know whether she'll be able to play tomorrow.
Sullivan has heard that Dulaney is "very physical," but Lions fourth-year coach Evey Quinn laughed and said the opposite is true.
"I'd say we're not physical at all. We're not as aggressive as I'd like us to be on the ball. I think we have a tendency to kind of hang off the ball a little too much. That's something we've been working on this week," she said.
"In Baltimore County, they don't play a very physical game. Then, you go to the playoffs, and that's when you learn."