Oakland Mills aims to regain title form

October 08, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Dethroned as county champions by Centennial last season after a six-year reign, the Oakland Mills girls soccer team opens its league season against cross-town rival Wilde Lake tomorrow with hopes of regaining that title.

Two major obstacles for the Scorpions (5-0) are defending state champions Hammond and Centennial, both of which return the majority of their teams, and both of which are undefeated.

But Oakland Mills, a veteran squad with nine seniors and six returning starters, breezed through its non-league schedule by outscoring its opponents, 23-3.

The Scorpions (9-5 last season) hope to avenge double losses to both Hammond and Centennial, as well as a loss to Wilde Lake, a state finalist last season.

Oakland Mills lacks the number of marquee players that Hammond and Centennial has, but hopes its maturity, versatility, individual leadership and team chemistry overcomes its average speed and size.

Team captains Tyann Blissett and Mandi Kolste showed during the first week of practice how motivated Oakland Mills is this season.

The captains attended the boys' two-hour practices at 6 a.m. hoping to learn something that might help the girls team at its 9 a.m. practice. The girls practiced again in the afternoon, and the captains came back at night to study the boys' practice.

If the Scorpions have a name player, it is Blissett, an enforcer type who is having a strong season after a subpar 1991 when she battled an injury and had to fill in at goalkeeper for six games. Blissett leads the team with six goals.

Kolste has scored five goals, including the game-winner against Fallston when Oakland Mills rallied to take a 2-1 victory. Kolste has a 3.7 grade-point average and typifies a player that tries to out-think her opponents.

Both Blissett (six goals) and Kolste have been on the varsity four years and played in the state final as sophomores.

They are highly versatile, as are Jenny Arbogast, Laura Ellestad, Courtney Pierce and Kristi Avery, all of whom have three things in common. They are seniors, have scored a goal and play multiple positions.

Another versatile senior, but one who hasn't scored, is Krista Miller.

Second-year varsity coach Nancy Shea uses that versatility to rest her athletes by moving them at times to less demanding positions.

Shea said another plus is the team's attitude. There's no back-biting among the players.

"We have good chemistry. The players respect the captains, work together for one common goal, have a good perspective on winning and are proud to be members of Oakland Mills' team," Shea said.

A major improvement this season is the settled situation at goalkeeper. Injuries forced Shea to use several players at keeper last year, but 6-foot sophomore Lauren McHargue has stabilized that position. She can punt 40 yards, has good hands and is strong in the air. She has averaged six saves per game.

Two freshman have helped. Fullback Terri Hayman has played a lot at fullback, and Ginny Dye has played forward and halfback.

If the Scorpions remain injury-free, they'll be a major player in the races for the county title and the Class 2A/1A state title.

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