This year, Harford CC aims to be second to none Owls seek elusive field hockey title

November 01, 1992|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

Harford Community College is headed for the national junior college playoffs in field hockey for the third straight year, and a championship would give coach Judy Davlin a clean sweep of the top four places during her coaching career.

The Owls, who wound up their regular season at Herkimer (N.Y.) CC yesterday, will be one of four teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association championships at Mitchell College

in New London, Conn., on Friday and Saturday.

Although the remaining places have not been announced, the last poll listed the first four as Becker, Mitchell, Ocean County and Herkimer.

Before its two-game trip to upstate New York -- it met Cobleskill Friday -- HCC was 7-3, including a stunning victory over Ocean County.

"We lost to Ocean in an early meeting, 3-2, in overtime, but in our game up there, we had total domination in winning, 3-0," Davlin said before a recent practice. "They had only one shot."

Harford CC has finished second, third and fourth during its previous eight trips to the nationals, and Davlin pointed out that this year's team is a lot like the one that finished second in 1983.

"The thing that stands out is we have a lot of speed this time," she said.

Davlin, in her 21st year as head coach, also says this year's

group has more talent than the one that finished fourth last year.

Among the keys to success have been the strength of its players up the middle, and more aggressiveness, particularly in pushing the ball into the attacking end of the field.

Freshman forward Paige Dixon (Fallston) is the team's top scorer, with 12 goals. Molly Marshall (Fallston), Julia Dean (Rising Sun) and Lisa Aquino (Joppatowne) are solid links. Jen Eney (North Harford) is an outstanding defender, and Lisa Dougherty (Fallston), in her first year of hockey, has shown steady improvement in the goal.

"I was nervous and didn't know what to expect when I came here. I only knew a couple of the players," said Dixon. "Any improvement I've made has been because of others. We work well together."

Dean and Eney are holdovers from last year and Eney explained that, "We have worked better together this year. There are no arguments. There just seems to be a bond among us."

Davlin cites Eney (defensive work), Aquino (strong and aggressive) and Marshall (the assist leader whose offensive and defensive skills make her perfect for the midfield), but Dougherty is perhaps an unlikely standout.

"She was a soccer player in high school, and I had had several soccer players who became good goalies," Davlin said. "I had to talk her into coming out and we tried her in the field first, but she couldn't do the stickwork. In goal, you need to be aggressive, with good footwork, and she has been strong on both counts."

Michelle Henderson, a two-year player for HCC, was in the same situation when she started, and, as she said: "I just kind of learned. Nobody taught me. With that background, it's easy for me to work with Lisa because I can relate to her not knowing what to do in some situations."

Curiously, Davlin said she was close to giving up coaching, because "I was tired of dealing with the problems." Having All-County players in school but not playing and having had others say they would play and then not showing up contributed to her dissatisfaction.

"This group made staying worthwhile, however. It's been pure pleasure," she said. "Every last one of them is like the old-time athletes. They enjoy the game, are dedicated to getting better, and don't question every move.

"Though most of them did not know each other until the beginning of practice, they get along well and are hard workers. This is one of the reasons we're doing so well."

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