Johnson stars as the lacrosse player for all seasons Perry Hall senior plays full schedule

May 02, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Kerri Johnson just can't get enough lacrosse.

From the moment the Perry Hall senior played her first summer league game almost five years ago, she was hooked. Since then, barely a day has gone by that she hasn't picked up a lacrosse stick.

"As soon as I started, I loved it," said Johnson, who wears a lacrosse stick charm on a chain around her neck.

A two-time All-Metro second-team selection, Johnson keeps up a hectic pace moving from the spring school season to the Heroes summer league in Howard County to fall ball in Overlea to winter indoor lacrosse in Catonsville. Then, she starts over.

The same way she thrives on playing all year around, Johnson thrives on being in the action almost every minute of every game.

Playing center for Perry Hall, she has the run of the field, forcing turnovers on the defensive end one minute and going to the goal the next.

On April 21, Johnson scored her 200th career goal. Not bad for someone who is just as highly touted for her defensive skills.

"Her defense has always been real strong," Perry Hall coach Wendy Samuels said. "Sometimes you think of a player who has to do a lot of high scoring . . . her main thing is just to score, score, score and really Kerri's isn't. She's got an all-around game."

Opposing players often label Johnson a ball hog, but Johnson, her coach and her teammates disagree. She will pass, but if she thinks she has the better chance to score or draw a foul, she'll take it.

"A lot of people think that because I have a lot of goals, but I get a lot of free-position shots, and if you place your shots, any one's going to make it in," said Johnson, who coaches a team of 11- and 12-year-olds on Saturday mornings.

Johnson, whose sister Marilynn played for Perry Hall 10 years ago, earned a starting spot on varsity as a freshman. Even then, she had the basic skills to contribute.

"Her stickwork was very impressive at the beginning, and she had a good demeanor for a varsity player," Samuels said. "She had some maturity. You could put her on the field, and she wasn't intimidated."

Now, the Gators look up to Johnson. Last year, she led them into the Class 4A/3A state championship game. This year, she hopes to help the Gators (7-1 overall, 6-0 league) back to the title game for another shot at defending champ Severna Park.

With deceptive moves and great speed and the ability to use both hands, Johnson should be in great demand when postseason all-star games begin Memorial Day weekend.

Already, she's on a Maryland high school team that will play in a United States Women's Lacrosse Association Tournament at Villanova University June 13. Today, she will try out for the South Schoolgirl squad to compete at the USWLA club national championships Memorial Day weekend at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Johnson hopes to make the South team that will play in the North-South high school girls all-star game at the Lacrosse Classic at Johns Hopkins the weekend of June 19. A week later, she also may play in the Vail Shootout in Vail, Colo.

Next fall, she'll head to Loyola on scholarship. Because she never has spent much time on the bench, Johnson wonders about making the transition to college.

"I definitely worry," she said. "I think it's going to be a challenge for me because I know a lot of times freshmen don't play, and it's even hard to play when you're a sophomore. I've got to be working hard all the time so it'll pay off and hopefully I'll play."

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