Erin Beerman remembers the day Hammond field hockey coach Gay Petrlik informed her that she would be playing a new position. Beerman, a two-year forward who excelled at scoring, didn't exactly accept her new job with open arms.
"She (Coach Petrlik) said 'You're playing center halfback,' " Beerman recalls. "I said, 'What? I don't know what I'm doing.' I was used to playing forward."
But Beerman didn't sulk. She immediately set about mastering the most demanding position on the field. After a successful transition in her junior season, she attended a seven-weekend, field hockey camp at the University of Maryland last spring. The camp helped her refinethe many offensive and defensive skills required of a center halfback.
And in her final season at Hammond, Beerman -- the Howard County Sun's Player of the Year -- made the work count.
Beerman was thekey to Hammond's 4-2-1 county record (5-5-2 overall), its best league performance under four-year coach Petrlik. Combining deft stickwork, darting quickness and non-stop hustle, the 5-foot-2 Beerman always seemed to be in the middle of the action.
She led the defense with164 steals. She rushed the opposition effectively on defensive corners, helping to limit Hammond's opponents to 11 goals in 12 games. Shescored two goals and added three assists. And her outstanding ball control and passing helped her control the middle of the field.
"She (Beerman) was there to clean up behind whoever made a mistake. She had a consistently excellent year," Petrlik said. "A lot of coaches would come up to me after the game and ask, 'Who's that?' Attitude-wise and skill-wise, she's one of the best I've ever had."
Beerman credits the Maryland camp with turning her game around.
"My skills went up to a higher level," she says. "I can still get open and score on offense, but I can also prevent people from scoring. It's great being able to put the ball where you want it. I love being able to control the field."