Lions go out like lambs Howard High teams suffer through frustrating spring

April 25, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Hope springs eternal? Don't try selling that slogan at Howard High School this year.

It has been one of the most frustrating spring seasons ever at Howard, where the baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse teams are midway through the season with a combined 1-23 record.

Only the softball team, with a 9-7 victory over Mount Hebron two weeks ago, has avoided a winless season. The Lions are 1-5.

"We're scoring a lot of runs, but we're not playing good defense," said softball coach Dave Vezzi, maybe the most disappointed of all Howard coaches. "We're making great plays, then dropping routine fly balls. It's been a strange spring."

"There're just not many athletes in the school. I could see this coming last year," said boys lacrosse coach Dan Ross, whose Lions are 0-5.

Inexperience has been the primary culprit. Howard's 0-8 baseball team, for example, has so many underclassmen that it resembles a junior varsity. The Lions have started four sophomores and a freshman at times.

The girls lacrosse team has yet to recover from the loss of eight starters to graduation. Coach Terry Flaig estimates the Lions are averaging between 15 and 20 minutes of possession time, which has made it impossible to generate offense consistently. That has been the prime cause of Howard's 0-5 start.

"Once we get the ball, we don't know what to do with it," Flaig said. "Dan [Ross] and I are talking about scrimmaging each other."

That might be the only way a Howard lacrosse team can be assured of a victory.

Frustration reigns at Atholton

Speaking of frustration, Atholton's boys lacrosse team has felt its share. The Raiders, after beginning the season with an 11-10 overtime victory against Seneca Valley, have dropped six straight -- the last three by one goal.

In last week's Atholton Tournament, the Raiders let a sizable lead slip away before eventually falling to Glenelg in overtime, 9-8. The following day in the consolation game, Atholton lost to Hammond, 6-5.

Then, on Wednesday in a rematch with Hammond, the Raiders lost in a way that drives coaches crazy. After blowing a three-goal lead with five minutes left in regulation, the Raiders took the Golden Bears into overtime in a 10-10 tie. Atholton then got four shots out of its extra-man offense, to no avail.

Hammond then won the game, 11-10.

"This was really a tough one, but we realize we've gotten better in a lot of areas, such as being more aggressive and in our clearing game," coach Wendell Thomas said. "We just have to keep biting away."

Midfielders Charles Fuller and Matt Treese are having fine seasons.

Fuller is leading the team in scoring with 22 goals and six assists, and he is second on the team with 66 ground balls. Treese is second on the team in scoring with 16 goals and 11 assists, and he is leading the team in ground balls with 84.

Valentino sticks out

An Atholton player enjoying an outstanding spring is Allison Valentino, the senior center on the Raiders' girls lacrosse team. Although the Raiders are struggling with a 2-6 record, Valentino has been the county's best player this side of Mount Hebron.

She leads the team with 28 goals and 19 assists, and has accounted for more than one-third of Atholton's offense. She also leads the team with 108 ground balls.

"She [Valentino] has taken my expectations and blown them right out of the water," coach Carol Stevens said. "Her strength has improved tremendously. She is scoring a lot of goals from outside 15 meters. She shoots harder and more accurately than ever."

And Valentino has been rewarded for her hard work. She has just signed to play lacrosse at Loyola.

Brothers share too much

When Centennial defenseman Matt Rainwater went down with a broken hand on Monday, it brought to mind an unpleasant coincidence.

During the fall of 1991, Mike Rainwater -- Matt's older brother -- blew out his knee early in the football season. Until that season-ending injury, Mike was headed for a promising year as Centennial's senior fullback.

Centennial boys lacrosse coach Mike Siegert said Matt Rainwater could end up as the best defenseman the school has ever produced. Because he probably will miss the rest of the season, though, Rainwater won't get to validate Siegert's claim.

The good news is that Matt is only a sophomore.

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