Roberts thrives under pressure Player of the Year 1992 ALL-ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY GIRLS SOCCER TEAM

November 24, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

It didn't take long for Severna Park forward Stephanie Roberts to pick out her favorite goal this season.

Considering that she scored 22 goals -- many coming in crucial situations -- the decision could have taken hours. Maybe weeks.

The winner? Her goal against rival Chesapeake last month with the Falcons losing, 2-1, and less than two minutes remaining.

"I always look back on that one," said Roberts, 17, The Baltimore Sun's Anne Arundel County Player of the Year. "I was walking around and someone yelled, 'Five minutes left, five minutes left.' was thinking, 'We can't lose this game.'

"Suddenly, I got the ball and it was my last chance," she said.

Roberts, who had scored Severna Park's first goal, forced overtime when she outran a couple defenders and blasted a shot into the net.

It was classic Stephanie Roberts. A magnificent goal, made possible by her blazing speed.

She also had little margin for error in a shootout against Old Mill in the Class 4A-3A, Region II semifinals. Again, she came through.

The teams had played to a 2-2 tie in regulation, and neither side scored in two 10-minute overtimes. It was 7-7 in the shootout when Severna Park goalkeeper Shannon Chaney stopped a shot from the Patriots' Michelle Salmon.

Up stepped Roberts, who had scored twice and set up another goal in an earlier, 5-1 rout of then-unbeaten Old Mill. She lined a shot inside the right post, beyond the reach of Patriots keeper Jackie Bardelli.

"That's a lot of pressure," said Falcons coach Joyce Stefancik.

And that's when Roberts, who also had six assists this year, seemed to be at her best.

"I had such a great team behind me. I couldn't have done it by myself," she said.

Roberts had 14 goals last season to lead Severna Park, but her scoring isn't the only area of improvement this fall. Unlike past years, Roberts didn't mind being marked by opposing defenses. She even looked forward to the challenge.

"She really became mentally tough," Stefancik said. "She knew the other team was going to mark her, and it didn't bother her. Even at times when people got pretty rough with her, she took it and she still came through."

With so many young players on Severna Park's roster -- #i Stefancik started three freshmen and one sophomore most of the season -- Roberts knew her importance to the team extended beyond goals.

"Nobody expected us to get as far as we did," she said, "and now that I was a senior, I felt like it was my turn to step up."

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