Girls soccer teams prepared for low-scoring, battle of defense

September 06, 1992|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Don't look for many high-scoring games in Harford County girls soccer this year.

With defensive strength on almost every team, even the best squads should be in for close, hard-fought league battles.

The race for the county title should be tight for much of the season. But C. Milton Wright returns so much power that the co-defending champion Mustangs are easily the preseason favorite. They return eight starters including four seniors and two juniors.

When it comes to defense, no team looks better than the Mustangs. Last season, they allowed only 10 goals in 14 games, and most of the defense responsible returns. Stopper Amanda McCulloch, sweeper Jackie Bangert and outside fullbacks Melisa Billings and Amy Morse are all back.

The only major spot to be filled is in the nets where senior Julie Smith takes over. Smith backed up sensational keeper Danielle Rivas the past two years. Now Smith has earned the starting spot.

"She's got some big shoes to fill, but we think she can do the job," said Mustangs coach Ken Dawson. "Julie has faced some pretty good shooting in practice alone."

Dawson also has to beef up his halfback corps, but he has plenty of depth there along with two returnees Taryn Szerensits and Amanda Fouts. The Mustangs also have two quality strikers in Jen Catlin and Amanda Boch. They scored seven goals each last year -- together that's four more than all their opponents combined.

Fallston also returns eight starters but most are sophomores. If the Mustangs stumble, the Cougars will be waiting. Last year, Fallston beat the Mustangs late in the season denying them the county title outright and forcing them to share it with Joppatowne.

Fallston's top returnees include senior fullback Cindy Jenkins and senior halfback Pam Toth and sophomore keeper Suzy Harrison.

Joppatowne and North Harford could challenge for second or even the title, but most likely, they will battle for third place.

The Mariners lost All-Metro striker Thori Staples, who led the county in scoring last year. This year, the Mariners are more balanced, but they return only three starters including senior halfback Cheryl Ulrich, one of the top midfielders in the county.

New Joppatowne coach Chris Myers moves up from the junior varsity with most of this year's squad. He expects his sophomore-laden team to need a year of work before challenging for the title.

North Harford returns a lot of power also, and the Hawks could be the spoiler this year.

Bel Air, Aberdeen and Edgewood could have something to say about the outcome of the county race too.

In the Catholic League, John Carroll will make a run at regaining the title it lost last year. The Patriots have one of the top scoring combinations in the Metro area in Amity Torbit and Katie Nietubicz.

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