Centennial soccer teams both No.1, but surprises may kick in Eagles and Hammond considered girls favorites

Mercy faces triple threat

September 08, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer Rick Belz, John Harris, Roch Eric Kubatko, Pat O'Malley and John Stewart contributed to this article.

While both Centennial and Hammond seem early favorites to retain their state titles, Catholic League champion Mercy -- minus a huge chunk of its offense -- could get a battle from at least three other teams.

In addition to McDonogh, which it beat, 3-0, for last year's Catholic League championship, Mercy must get past Harford County's John Carroll and Anne Arundel County's St. Mary's.

The Howard County and 4A-3A state champion Centennial Eagles soared past all opponents last year, including a combined 8-2 margin over the area's No. 2 and No. 3 teams, Hammond (Howard County) and Old Mill (Anne Arundel County), before whipping Baltimore County's No. 6 Dulaney, 4-1, in the championship game.

The core of that Eagles' team is back, as are most of the players from 2A-1A state champion Hammond, Old Mill and Dulaney.

Region III champion Old Mill is the team to beat in its county. Its neighbor, Severna Park's Falcons, had won four straight titles before the Eagles joined Class 3A last year. But the Falcons must also overcome Chesapeake in Region IV.

For Hammond, which downed runner-up Wilde Lake, the toughest challenge may come from Baltimore County's Loch Raven Raiders, who were unbeaten before dropping their state semifinal match, 3-2, to Wilde Lake.

In Baltimore County's 4A-3A race, Dulaney must contend with a Perry Hall Gators squad that it tied, 4-4, during the regular season. Perry Hall dropped its Region II semifinal game to Harford County's C. Milton Wright, which was defeated by Dulaney in the final.

Here is The Baltimore Sun's preseason top 15, with last year's record in parentheses:

1. CENTENNIAL (16-0) The Eagles return seven starters and 12 lettermen from their undefeated Class 4A/3A state championship team, including All-Metro senior striker Vicki Brunt (16 goals, eight assists) and senior playmaker Natalie Rich. Centennial out-scored opponents 64-10 last season, and coach Rick Pizarro thinks this year's team may be even stronger.

@2. HAMMOND (15-1) A trio of superstars are among 11 returning lettermen from Hammond's Class 2A/1A state championship team that went 15-1. Its only loss was to Centennial. Senior striker Samantha Andersch (18 goals, 17 assists) was an All-Metro selection. Junior halfback Kacy Williams (10, 12) is a premier playmaker. Junior striker Kisha Jett led the Howard County league with 26 goals.

3. OLD MILL (14-1) The Patriots had allowed just seven goals before losing to Centennial. Seventh-year coach Bruce Sponsler will count heavily on returning first-team All-Metro junior forward Michelle Salmon (23 goals, three assists), a national team player who needs 41 goals to break the county's scoring record of 80. Senior midfielders Stacy Himes and Nicki Matters add depth, and senior midfielder Cindy Parulis marked the top scorers on opposing teams last year.

4. LOCH RAVEN (14-1) Although coach Bruce Stevens has been replaced by Lou Menegatti, the Raiders have eight returning starters, including top-scoring senior striker Michelle Dejulius and linemates Mary Edwards (junior) and Robin Harry (sophomore). Senior midfielder Shelly Klaes and sophomore Kim Allen will guide the transition.

5. WILDE LAKE (12-4) The Wildecats are young but have the potential to be as good or better than last year, when they posted a 12-4 record and made it to the state Class 2A/1A finals, losing to Hammond. Five starters, including junior midfielders Nat Froman and Reny Trellis, and sophomore Kristin Riismandel, are among eight returning lettermen.

6. DULANEY (12-3-1) Last year's Lions' squad included All-Metro striker/goalie Courtney McClelland (19 goals, seven assists), who has graduated, and four freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors. Then-coach Evey Quinn earned The Baltimore Sun's Coach of the Year honors. Replacing Quinn, who left to teach abroad, is Cathy Schmidt. Junior striker Aimee Vaughn (22 goals, 11 assists), a second-team All-Metro pick, returns to lead her team. Also back is junior midfielder/striker Whitney McClelland.

7. MERCY (14-1-2) With a schedule that includes Loch Raven, Howard and a league opener against McDonogh, 12th-year coach Bob Doerfler may miss first-team All-Metro striker Robyn Depasquale, who graduated with 52 career goals and 22 assists. Returning, however, are three each in midfielders and fullbacks, and a striker in senior Cathy Sabatino. The second-leading scorer, senior Lauren Szczepaniak, heads the midfield with seniors Jennifer Herschberger and Leah Weetankamp.

8. SEVERNA PARK (10-2-2) The Falcons were eliminated by Chesapeake, 2-1, in the regional finals, ending their bid for a fourth straight state title. But coach Joyce Stefancik (14th season) has 11 players back from last year. They include senior All-County striker Stepha

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