Speno gives youthful Dulaney a healthy boost Senior returns from back injury

April 13, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

You don't have to jar Tim Speno's memory to help the Dulaney senior remember the scene early last spring at Perry Hall.

The hard part for the midfielder is trying to forget.

Speno was in the midst of his best game of the season, having already scored four goals, when he wound up to shoot for his fifth. Just as the ball left his stick, a pair of Perry Hall defenders ran full steam into him from both sides.

The ball went into the net, but Speno went down with a back injury. He had to be helped off the field.

"I heard something crack," recalls the senior. "I thought I could shake it off, but a few minutes later, I couldn't even walk."

Nearly a year to the day, Speno still shudders when rehashing the incident. It is the only dark cloud over an otherwise brilliant high school career.

Now, back at full capacity, Speno is showing Baltimore County opponents that he hasn't lost a beat despite losing most of a season.

In two games, both Dulaney wins, the midfielder has 10 assists and has shown the form that earned him Honorable Mention All-Metro honors as a sophomore and junior.

More importantly, it's his leadership that coach Gary Schreiber says has helped mold a young team into potential champions.

"My expectations of this team have gone up a lot -- an awful lot," said Schreiber, whose team has outscored opponents, 34-2. "[Tim's] been one of the best captains I've ever had. His enthusiasm and intensity rub off on the kids. We've improved a lot with him leading them."

Schreiber says that Speno's unselfish play -- passing off to younger attackers unless he has the "perfect" shot -- has helped the team develop a more potent and balanced offense.

But leading by example is nothing new to the senior. He once shaved his head to make good on a promise to fellow students after they met their goal in a canned-food drive. As president of the school's Student Government Association, that's just one of the things he's had to do.

Speno said he's proud of the leadership skills he's developed while in high school. He also has carried those skills onto the lacrosse field.

If there's a pass to be made for a better shot on goal, he'll make it. If there's a speech to be delivered to fire the team up, he'll deliver it; a back to be slapped to offer support, he'll slap it.

"Our only obstacle is ourselves," said Speno. "[Winning] is not a breeze anymore like it was when I was a freshman. Everybody's getting better and better. But I think if we're all pumped up and work as a team, nobody's going to beat us."

The youngest of four brothers, all of whom played for Dulaney under Schreiber and wore No. 33, Speno is a lefty who is capable with both hands.

A muscular 5 feet 8, he has the strength and intensity to battle bigger players.

It was that intensity that prompted him to test his back on the Dulaney soccer field last fall. "I knew if I could get through a season of slide-tackling without reinjuring it, I was ready for lacrosse," he said.

His goal this year is to lead the Lions back to the Class 4A-3A state title game, where last year they finished as runners-up.

Speno played in that game, though not at full strength.

He regrets that he wasn't able to play through the injury last season.

"Not being able to contribute is the worst feeling in the world," said Speno. "It's tough to just stand there on the sidelines and watch, knowing you could help. I never ever want to experience that again."

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