Centennial meets familiar foe in final Eagles beat Lions for 1991 crown

November 19, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

The girls Class 4A-3A state final at Arundel High on Saturday is a rematch of last season's state final.

Centennial (14-1) won a year ago, 4-1. And the Eagles probably are favored to beat Dulaney again based on their edge at defense.

The key may be which of two fine midfields can control the game.

In Centennial's only loss this season, 4-1 to Hammond, the Eagles' midfield was outplayed. It cannot afford a repeat performance against Dulaney, the highest-scoring team in the Baltimore area.

Dulaney (14-1) has outscored its opponents 103-12, led by junior striker Aimee Vaughan's 38 goals and 13 assists. Freshman striker Ali Schuch has 17 goals and 12 assists.

The key to Centennial's midfield is Natalie Rich, who sat out some of that Hammond game for disciplinary reasons. Rich is a physical player who fouls a lot but instills respect in opposing teams.

"Rich is so strong in the air that we never punted to the middle of the field because we wanted to keep the ball away from her," Hammond coach Dave Guetler said.

Guetler, whose team gave both Dulaney and Centennial its lone defeats, says the Eagles have the edge because they have played a tougher schedule and have a better defense.

"South Carroll scored twice on Dulaney in the playoffs," Guetler said.

He says the Lions cross the ball extremely well, and that Vaughan is a candidate for Player of the Year.

Kelly Butler is a strong midfielder for Centennial and one of the best tacklers in the state.

Defensively, the Eagles depend on sweeper Paige Nettlebladt and stopper Shara Boonshaft, who has a strong foot. Fullbacks Jamie Fontaine and Tania Riismandel are also effective defenders. The Eagles have allowed more than one goal only three times this season and have eight shutouts.

Centennial coach Rick Pizarro says the game will be a battle of forwards. The Eagles feature Vicky Brunt (15 goals, 11 assists) and Michelle Clare (12, eight) up front, along with Allison Bielski (four, three).

Centennial has outscored its opponents 64-13, and only one of its games has been decided by one goal.

Dulaney has been in four one-goal decisions.

Pizarro, who started three forwards against Hammond and cited that as a coaching error that led to the loss, most likely will start only two forwards against Dulaney in an effort to win the midfield battle.

"Dulaney has a bunch of powerful kickers -- more powerful than we are," Pizarro said. "But we held Vaughan to one goal last year, and, if we can do that well again, then we'll do all right."

4A-3A state final

Date: Saturday

Time: 1 p.m.

Site: Arundel High

Records: Dulaney 14-1; Centennial 14-1

Key: Centennial must stop Dulaney's Aimee Vaughan (38 goals, 13 assists) and control the midfield.

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