Glorious return for Powelson Coach of the Year

November 30, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Denean Powelson had fond memories of the field hocke glory days at North Carroll in the mid-1980s and refused to believe the school could not return to those high standards.

With those ideals, Powelson gave up officiating the game to accept the challenge of rebuilding the Panthers' program, one that had sagged to a 3-9 record last season.

She set no timetable, but most people thought it might take a couple of years. Make that one year.

Powelson, 24, had a dream season for a first-year coach, knocking off three defending state-champion teams on the way to an 8-4-2 record and the Class 2A, Region I final.

Those accomplishments have earned Powelson The Baltimore Sun's 1992 All-Metro Field Hockey Coach of the Year honor.

Powelson found herself matching wits against some of the top coaches in the state in Carroll County, which has won more field hockey championships (14) than any other county.

At the top of the list were South Carroll's Stacy Stem, last year's Baltimore Sun All-Metro Coach of the Year, and Westminster co-coaches Sue Hooper and Brenda Baker.

The Cavaliers were the defending state 3A champs, and the Owls had won the state 4A championship.

But Powelson never flinched.

She guided North Carroll to upset victories over South Carroll, Westminster and defending 2A champion Middletown.

The Panthers beat Middletown in the opening round of the state 2A, Region I tournament.

When asked how she pulled off such a turnaround, Powelson said, "We went back to basics, playing a more traditional game of aggressiveness and being the first to the ball. I saw we had speed to play that way, and the kids gave me 100 percent from Aug. 24 to Nov. 6. We worked harder every day."

Powelson said she was close with her players but they "knew there was a line they could never cross. I was the coach and they accepted and adapted to what I wanted to do."

She said she got her toughness from her father, Ed Powelson, who has been coaching soccer for 34 years at North Carroll.

"He's tough and I'm the same way," she said. "The kids came in with a positive attitude and wanted to win. I think they were a little surprised at how well we did."

A 2-1 loss to Glenelg in the final 39 seconds of the Class 2A, Region I final was hard to take, but the season went so well that Powelson said she "wanted to start the 1993 season the next day."

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