McDonogh soccer shows fine early kick 4-0 Eagles girls prove 1991 was no fluke

September 17, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

McDonogh girls soccer co-coach Ted Scocos calls the Eagles' schedule "a meat grinder," but the No. 9-ranked Eagles -- surprise runners-up in last year's Catholic League tournament -- are anything but chopped liver being served up for a feast.

They're already off to a 4-0 start, having outscored their opponents, 15-2, with two shutouts. And before an opponent thinks of the youthful Eagles as sacrificial lambs (the starting lineup boasts just two seniors), they need only to survey McDonogh's roster to discover it's a smorgasbord of talent.

All but one starter returns from an 11-8-2 squad that dropped a 3-0 decision to Mercy in the championship game. Freshman Laurie Schwoy wasn't one of those players, but she's the Eagles' top scorer with six goals and five assists.

Senior All-League striker Debbie Johnson (11 goals last year) netted two goals in the Eagles' come-from-behind, shootout victory over St. Mary's in last year's tournament semifinal, and she has two goals so far this season.

The Eagles' other senior, sweeper Debbie Hantman, ranks among the league's best defenders, and Johnson's front-line mate, junior honorable mention All-Metro Christine Coroneos, also was an All-League pick.

Another honorable mention All-Metro is junior Alison Schroeder, one of five Olympic Developmental regional team players on the Eagles' roster. Schroeder, who scored seven goals last season, has two goals and two assists this season.

And the word around the league is that Schwoy, another Olympic Developmental player, and freshman midfielder Susie Pitt will continue to make their marks.

"I think the league is going to be very tough, and I expect McDonogh will be right up there near the top," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin, whose 10th-ranked Saints went 13-4-1 last season.

Along with his Saints, who have been tournament runners-up three times, Tobin listed Mercy, four-time champion John Carroll and three-time champion Catholic as contenders in the six-team division.

"But actually, if you want to pick a favorite, I believe McDonogh could be it," Tobin said. "They got off to a slow start last year but they ended well. If they get out of the blocks earlier this year, I think they'll end up with a very nice team."

While some of his rivals are touting his upstart Eagles, Scocos prefers a more reserved approach.

"I don't think the girls really know how good they can be," said Scocos. "We don't talk about winning the Catholic League because it's too early to have any way of knowing. But I do think that they're very positive about what's ahead."

What's ahead is a doozy of a schedule.

Before facing Mercy in next Wednesday's league opener, the Eagles' agenda features games against Howard County power Howard High (today), and its neighbor, defending Class 2A-1A state champion Hammond, Saturday at 11 a.m. Former Baltimore County 2A-1A semifinalists Towson and Loch Raven are also on the schedule.

It's a tough road for an Eagles squad in only its third season of A-level, Catholic League play, but neither Scocos nor co-coach Maurice Boylan would have it any other way.

"We're just trying to build a program over here, looking to make the girls' program at McDonogh what the boys' program is over at Calvert Hall," said Boylan. "That's our goal."

Scoring goals -- 39 of them -- is what helped the Eagles burst onto the scene a year ago. They whipped Mount Carmel, 6-0, in the tournament's first round before edging Catholic and St. Mary's in consecutive overtime contests.

"We really pushed ourselves toward the end of last season, and if people are talking about us, that's great," said Schroeder, 16. "I think in our [games] so far, we've shown that we can play well against a variety of teams. Last year, we didn't start doing it until the middle of the season, so it's reassuring that we're playing well this early."

The goal-scoring shouldn't end with Schroeder, Johnson, Coroneos and Schwoy. Sonia Chase, a striker, came off the bench several times last year and netted seven key goals.

Scocos said sophomore Kara Kristaldi, another Olympic Developmental player, spent last season getting accustomed to her midfield role but should also add scoring punch.

"In practice, we have a strong work ethic, talent and heart. But it's not like boot camp -- we have fun too," said Schroeder. "We know what kind of soccer we have to try and play, and I think we definitely have the potential to do well again."

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