1993 high school girls lacrosse preview

March 25, 1993

North County Knights

Veteran coach Tom Taylor hopes his superstitions get the best of him this spring.

"I have a funny feeling about this team, the last time I coached a team that went to the state championship [Andover, 1988 Class B/C finalists], I had a group of young ladies that are very comparable to the ones I have now. They were a very young, athletic team, just like this year's group. We're looking pretty good, I'm really excited," said Taylor.

Senior leadership for the Knights (7-7 last year) will come from attack players Jen McGuire (29 goals, 17 assists) and Becky Webb (21 goals, 13 assists), and defender Brandi Slocum.

Juniors Karen Wick, April Hall, Jaime Dembeck and Stacey Mayo will split time between defense and attack.

"All four of those girls are strong in the legs, quick, and aggressive. I feel that they'll have to carry lots of weight as the year goes on," said Taylor.

Taylor speaks in glowing terms of junior goalkeeper Joy Farmer, who returns for her second season.

"We're extremely excited with her. The kids feel very confident in her," Taylor said. "With last season being her first time ever playing, you could tell that she felt a lot of weight on her shoulders, but this year I can't believe how confident she is."

Northeast Eagles

Take a good look at the best athletic programs in the county, and they almost all have one good thing in common: a strong feeder system.

"When you look at the county as a whole [in girls high school lacrosse] there are some very, very strong programs. And the reason why they are so strong is because of the little league that they grow up playing in. Just look at teams like Annapolis, Severna Park and Southern, they got those girls with sticks in their hands at a very young age," said Northeast girls lacrosse coach Bob Manz.

"And now, for the first year, we're starting to see a lot of kids playing in the recreation leagues around here. I think it's an advantage when the kids already know what a [lacrosse] field looks like, and that's starting to happen here at Northeast."

Manz, in his sixth season, guided the Eagles to a 2-10 record in 1992.

Northeast boasts a squad with 14 seniors, with the majority spending four years on the varsity program. Leading the pack is last year's leading scorer Christina Williams. Other key upperclassmen are Heather Guy, Joy Collins, Karla Hornberger (goalkeeper), Mindy Pitt and Kelly Roy.

Collins will be the mainstay of the defense, while sophomore Jaime Pleyo brings her athleticism to the midfield along with Lisa Patraglia. Junior Erin Harry will give Collins help.

"We're very aggressive and we have some speed. I've been stressing all along that we have to be aggressive in going after loose balls. If we can keep hustling, I think we'll be competitive with lots of teams," he said.

Old Mill Patriots

Old Mill lost a star in Susan Martin (56 goals), but may have found someone to fill the void in junior midfielder Michelle Salmon (36 goals, five assists).

"She has excellent speed and good stickwork," said first-year Old Mill coach Bill Zaetz said. "And she's a very intense player."

Old Mill returns 10 players, including six seniors. But only Salmon and two others were starters on last season's 3-9 team.

"I think we should be competitive," said Zaetz. "We have a real young team with a lot of athletic ability and promise. I can see us continuing to improve, and I don't think a .500 season would be good."

Seniors Jen Tate and Cindy Botts return at attack.

Salmon will be joined at midfield by six returnees -- seniors Allison Rayburn, Courtney Cochran, Britt Morisson and Kristy Lundy, junior Sara Saghirian and sophomore Stephanie Rose. Two excellent freshmen -- Carina Sonberg and Kerri Tindall -- will start at midfield.

Aimee Swanheart is the standout defensive player back. Junior Marisol Geary and sophomore Jen Timony move up from the JV.

A troubled position is goaltending, with freshman Emily Setzler and sophomore Sandy Roullier vying for the starting role.

St. Mary's Saints

For St. Mary's, there are no titles to win because the Saints play an independent schedule.

But the Saints face the challenge of playing four schools considered to be among the metro-area best the last two years: Severna Park, Southern-AA, Mount Hebron and Seton Keough.

Despite losing to the big four, St. Mary's finished No. 7 in the final Baltimore Sun girls lacrosse poll last year with a 12-4 record.

So this season brings more tests for coach Tina Lewnes (42-20) and the Saints. St. Mary's returns 10 players, including nine starters.

"I think they [those four teams] are the highlight of the season, and to prepare for those four games is our season," Lewnes said. "I think the big goal is to win the four games we keep losing."

But one team stands out on the schedule -- Severna Park, winners of six consecutive state titles.

"Severna Park always has a lot of talent, and we have never beaten them in my five years here," Lewnes said. "That's something we always work for."

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