Peiffer gets her kicks as leader on, off field S. Carroll grad leads team to nationals

November 17, 1992|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Catonsville Community College center halfback Tammy Peiffer often pushes her teammates. Now, she hopes to push them to a national championship.

Peiffer, a 1991 South Carroll graduate, is a key reason for Catonsville Community College's second straight trip to the NJCAA national tournament. Catonsville goes to Mercer County Community College [N.J.] to play SUNY-Farmingdale at noon Thursday.

The tournament is double-elimination, and Catonsville needs three victories for the title. Essex Community College, which defeated Catonsville, 1-0, for the Region XX title last week, could only play them again in the national title game.

Peiffer is the team's on-field leader. She's easy to find at a Catonsville game; just listen. She constantly yells to or at teammates, directs them on the field, and tries to spark them.

"My teammates look to me to get fired up," said Peiffer. "I yell, I offer encouragement. I'm sort of the mother of the team."

Peiffer is the captain for Catonsville (12-6, ranked ninth nationally), which lost to Meramec (Mo.) in the national final last year. Her role as the key communicator on the field is vital, said coach Tom Taylor.

"Communication is a very important part of soccer," said Taylor. "You can't have a good team without good communication."

Taylor said on-field communication is even more important because a coach's words don't always sink in.

"You need a coach on the field, [and] she's a very good leader," said Taylor. "Sometimes players get kind of deaf when it comes to coaches."

Peiffer said she learned much of her aggressiveness during her four years as a starter for South Carroll. She said she learned how to take control of a game as a Cavalier, and, eventually, it just came naturally.

Soccer also came naturally to Peiffer. She started playing at age 5 -- following her older sister, Jill -- in the Freedom Optimist program. Peiffer then played striker until the seventh grade.

She then was moved back to defense, which gave her a whole new look at the game. Peiffer said it changed everything about the way she played.

"I think I'm more of a defensive player," said Peiffer. "If people are watching the game, they're going to know who's doing the work. It's not just offense that wins the game."

Peiffer was a sweeper for South Carroll and enjoyed it. She likes the position of center halfback even more, despite the seemingly endless running.

"Center halfback is a more challenging position," said Peiffer. "You're running the whole time. I'm not restrained. I love it."

After Catonsville, she hopes to continue her soccer career. Goucher, Salisbury State, Towson State and Western Maryland are the schools she's considering.

Peiffer's major is elementary education, and she said she'd like to teach in Carroll County. Peiffer also said she'd enjoy coaching soccer, especially at the high-school level.

Taylor has little doubt about how Peiffer would do running a team.

"I think she'd be a very good coach," said Taylor. "She's a take-charge kind of person. She's a very good leader."

Peiffer coached an under-10 team once. The team didn't find much success, but it whetted her appetite for more sideline experience.

For now, though, she'll settle for another shot at the national title. Last year's effort didn't turn out too well, but Peiffer loved the experience.

"I hope we make it to that final game again," said Peiffer. "It's the best feeling in the world."

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