Is Fallston for real again this year?

April 25, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Through the first five games of the season, Fallston's girls lacrosse team is unbeaten.

There's nothing so unusual about that. After all, the Cougars have won the Harford County championship in each of Nancy Ferguson's five years as coach.

But this year, Ferguson's Cougars are younger than ever before -- both in class standing and in experience.

The roster includes three freshmen and six sophomores, almost all of whom start. Of nine upperclassmen, only three -- seniors Cindy Jenkins, Jenny Haslbeck and Jenny Clark -- have extensive starting experience.

"We've had little ones up before, but we've had quite a few upperclassmen to go with them," Ferguson said. "This year, they're being thrown into the fire real quick."

This week, the Cougars will find out whether they have rebuilt quickly enough.

Tomorrow, they play host to Seton Keough, another young but quickly improving squad. Wednesday night, they entertain C. Milton Wright, the county's most experienced team, in a game that could end up deciding the county championship.

The Cougars want to hold onto the title, but they know they're in for a battle to keep it.

"There's a lot of pressure on us, because everybody wants us and they think this is the year," said Jenkins, who plays a variety of positions.

"We know C. Milton is good everywhere. They have no weak spots, so we'll have to have a good game from everybody."

So far, the Cougars' attack hasn't had much trouble scoring, but they have yet to meet a very strong defense. Through the first four games, Jenkins was the top point-scorer, with 14 goals and 10 assists. Sophomore attack wing Julie Haire had the most goals (18), as well as three assists.

Freshman attack wing Anne West came on quickly with seven goals and four assists in wins last week at Edgewood (19-3) and Joppatowne (17-8).

However, rebuilding the defense is probably the most difficult task, because a strong defense requires a lot of communication.

"Because they're so young, they have a tendency to be not as talkative," said cover point Clark. "A lot of times you have to yell things so everybody knows what's happening, but they tend to be a little bit quiet."

Clark is the only veteran deep in the defense. Sophomore Jinae Szerensits moved up from JV to start at point with freshman Courtney Benner at third man.

The Cougars also are breaking in a new goalie, Susan Hottel, after graduating All-Metro Tammy Kloiber. The Cougars have been young on defense before, but Kloiber always made the job easier.

"To rebuild with Kloiber behind you is one thing, but with an inexperienced keeper, that's another thing," said Ferguson. "I feel bad for the keeper because when you have a good defense in front of you, you can relax a little bit. But Susan has done a good job."

In the midfield, the Cougars are young but versatile. Almost everyone can play anywhere between third man and third home.

Sophomore Jenny Weber is a strong defensive center, and junior Daina Burton is having a fine year at third home. Attack wings Haire and West are off to good starts, with defense wings Lisa Taylor, Judy Simon and freshman Jodi Taylor trading starting time.

Despite their youth, the Cougars still aim high. After going to the state Class 2A-1A final four two straight years, they are striving for a return engagement. The seniors especially would like to go at least one more step and make it to the title game, as they did two years ago.

"Sometimes they might seem unrealistic, but you have to set high goals," Jenkins said. "Going through the season, you always improve. You start out rebuilding and by the end of the season, you've rebuilt."

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