Cowan, Brahim give Oldfields a new look

A HOME-GROWN SUCCESS STORY

April 22, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Most of the students at Oldfields School come from far away, but two from nearby have led the girls lacrosse team to the top of the Association of Independent Schools B Division.

Jody Cowan and Nicole Brahim are among only 30 day students at the Glencoe boarding school in northern Baltimore County. Growing up in Baltimore, both played lacrosse long before most of their classmates ever saw a lacrosse stick.

Both started playing competitively in the sixth grade at St. Paul's School, although Cowan's introduction to lacrosse came much earlier.

"I've always had lacrosse around me," said Cowan, whose father Joe Cowan was a three-time All-American at Johns Hopkins and the nation's top college attackman in 1969. Her sister Kelly, a St. Paul's High graduate, is one of the top players at the University of Virginia, and her mother, Ozzie, also played at St. Paul's.

Lacrosse may not be in Brahim's genes, but she is every bit as much a natural at the game as Cowan.

Both have all the basic skills as well as speed and game sense that would make them competitive in any high school league. They shoot the ball well, although Cowan has more power and Brahim relies on better placement.

Tuesday, they combined for six goals and an assist in an 11-9 win over Park that kept Oldfields (5-1) unbeaten in the B Division.

"They complement each other well because they have different strengths," Oldfields coach Beth Franks said.

"Jody has the ability to be able to go to the goal, whereas Nicole tends to feed her a lot. But it can be reciprocated on the next play."

Cowan scored five goals Tuesday, and Brahim switched to defense after scoring a goal and getting an assist.

"Nicole is the more versatile player because she's very good on defense," Franks said. "Jody has a lot of strengths on attack. She has great speed and stamina so she can play midfield, and she's very self-assured, which I think shows."

Brahim, a senior from Timonium, has played for Franks since the eighth grade, but Cowan has been at Oldfields for only two years. The junior from Homeland tried other local private schools before she found the right fit.

"Nicole actually talked me into going to Oldfields," said Cowan, who hopes to play on the U.S. national team.

Franks said both girls are Division I prospects, and Brahim plans to play at Loyola next fall.

In addition to learning lacrosse early, the two excel because they

work at the game year round. They go to camps and play in summer leagues and indoor leagues.

Last summer, Brahim accompanied Cowan to Vail, Colo., for the Vail Shootout held annually over the July 4th weekend. They played on a team with Kelly Cowan and many of her teammates from the University of Virginia.

"It's a thrill to play against college players and USA players," said Cowan, who has played at Vail for three years. "It's a great experience to play with people who are better than me."

"That's when I realized I wanted to play Division I lacrosse," Brahim said. "Seeing how good all those players were made me want to be the best lacrosse player I could be."

Franks said Cowan and Brahim help her turn newcomers into solid high school players sometimes within a year. "The kids really look up to Jody and Nicole," Franks said.

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