Shea a quick study at Oakland Mills Girls Coach of the Year

December 01, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Four years ago, even though she had given birth to her third child that year and had never coached soccer, Nancy Shea made the difficult decision to take the girls junior varsity soccer coaching job at Oakland Mills High School.

She figured that such an opportunity to join one of the most success ful soccer programs in the state might not come along again soon.

The result has been a whirlwind success story. The once-novice coach is The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.

Her Oakland Mills team (14-1-1) won the Class 2A-1A state championship in her second varsity coaching season.

It did it the hard way -- by winning close games with defense. The Scorpions won six games by one goal and recorded nine shutouts, including their final five games.

Four of those five games ended 1-0, including the championship game against Loch Raven and two wins over defending Class 2A-1A state champion Hammond. They were Hammond's only losses.

"It was such a great feeling winning [states] -- like nothing you've ever experienced before," Shea said. "It was a fairy-tale season."

Shea knew she had a good returning nucleus of nine seniors, even though defending state championship teams from Centennial and Hammond received most of the preseason media attention.

The Scorpions were 9-5 her first season, but their only losses were to state Class 2A-1A champ Hammond twice, state Class 4A-3A champ Centennial twice and state finalist Wilde Lake.

This season's goal was to beat Hammond. If it accomplished that, then a state title was possible.

When Shea discovered during tryouts that she had a potentially outstanding goalkeeper, 6-foot-1 Lauren McHargue, her hopes soared.

The hardest part for the 39-year-old coach, who describes herself as soft-hearted, was setting priorities and standards. The first priority was finding out which girls really wanted to work. Part of the team cut itself -- eight players quit before official practice began.

"Our captains, Tyann Blissett and Mandi Kolste helped a lot because they demanded respect," Shea said. "Kids knew they had to answer to them if they messed up."

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