In a Flash, girls soccer club becomes a state power

December 20, 1992|By Mike Jefferson | Mike Jefferson,Contributing Writer

As the coach of a newly formed girls club soccer team two years ago, Chuck Martin set his sights high.

Not only did he want the Harford United Flash to win Division I of the Washington Area Girls Soccer League, but he also wanted the team to be crowned state champion. No other non-high school team from Maryland had won a Division I WAGS league title.

Now, Martin's vision seems prophetic. The Fallston-based Flash ripped through the best competition on the East Coast this fall to win the under-14 WAGS Division I title undefeated and untied (10-0).

Last spring, the Flash won the under-13 Maryland State Championship and will defend its title in June as an under-14 team.

With a record of 28-3-3 this fall (18 by shutout), winners of three tournaments and runners-up in two, the Flash is becoming the most-respected team in the state.

The Flash ended the season Dec. 5-6 with a second-place finish in the Raleigh Shootout Soccer Tournament, played in sub-freezing weather and high winds.

In the final, the team lost a 1-0 match to the two-time North Carolina state and three-time tournament champions.

After the match, Martin said, many coaches and parents showered the team with compliments about its skill, style of play and class.

"We like to lose with dignity and win graciously," said Martin.

The team started the fall season by competing in the Redland (Pa.) Summer Classic Soccer Tournament in August. To reach the finals, the Flash defeated host Redland, 3-0, the Hampden Goalbusters, 7-0, and the Shamokin Black Diamond Pueblos, 8-0.

In winning the Baltimore Metro Classic Tournament earlier this month, the Flash outscored local competition, 20-1.

The Flash thrives on the high-pressure league and tournament finals, where it faces its toughest competition.

The better the competition, said Martin, the better his team plays. So far, his players have lived up to his expectations.

Last spring, after moving into Division I of WAGS league after consecutive championships in Division III and II, the team finished with a .500 record.

Martin considered that showing the team's biggest accomplishment at the time. All other teams that advanced to Division I dropped back to Division II to regroup.

"The kids on the team are very exciting to work with," said Martin, a professor at Towson State University. "They're dependable, motivated and very hard-working."

Most of the girls live in Harford County, three in Baltimore and two in Glyndon.

Halfback Danielle Konschak has led the scoring attack with 22 goals and nine assists. Forwards Shanna Ziegenfuss (19, 11), Jenn Cook (15, 17), Haley DeLaurence (11, six) and Karen Tiedemann (18, five) run the team's offense.

The defense is led by fullbacks Jennifer Kar--, Lauren Porter, Katie Tiburzi and Nicole Froman. In the goal are Tina Steck and Katie Bowman. After going to a diamond defense, the team allowed just three goals and won 13 straight games.

"It's unusual for us to give up a goal," said Martin.

Also anchoring the defense for the Flash are Cindy Wolf, Krysten Martin, Lauren Hess and Brooke Stastny.

Six of the team's players -- Stastny, Kar--, Konschak, Steck, DeLaurence and Ziegenfuss -- are om the state Olympic Developmental Program team. Konschak is a member of the Regional ODP team.

Martin works hard at educating the young players, teaching them moves and developing new drills at practice that emphasize teamwork. Unselfish play, he says, is the key to the team's success.

Martin and assistant coaches Sam DeLaurence, Debby Konschak and Randy Tiedemann always have another challenge waiting in the wings for the players.

Said Martin: "We want the team to stick together through high school, become regional champions and win a national championship."

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