Four soccer teams seek region titles Continue season in New Jersey

July 02, 1993|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Staff Writer

Columbia will look to add a few regional soccer titles to its

numerous state accolades when four of its recreation teams compete in the Eastern Regional Championships at Rider College in New Jersey this weekend.

After qualifying in the recent State Cup tournaments, the Crusaders (under-19 girls), Spirit (under-15 girls), Darby (under-15 boys) and Chargers (under-17 girls) will compete against teams from 16 states in this season-ending event.

The Crusaders seek their first regional title after dominating the state once again. The Crusaders head north fresh off their seventh straight State Cup championship.

"We decided early that the Crusaders were not going to be a social team," said co-coach Anita Andersch, who runs the team with her husband, Roy. "It was not going to be a bunch of girls kicking the ball around.

"In any sport, you try to get a reputation. We play tournaments all over during the season where we can be seen."

That increased visibility has brought in four girls from New Jersey, not to mention the best in the surrounding area.

One of those top area players is North Carolina State sophomore Thori Staples, last year's NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year.

The Spirit represent a collage of talent from Howard, Baltimore, Harford and Montgomery counties. From these areas, the Spirit has collected 13 players that are on the state team roster.

The Spirit beat Potomac, 6-0, to take the State Cup title, which accomplished their primary goal.

"From the start of day one in practice, what is most important is the State Cup," head coach John Bagrosky said.

"All the tournaments and league games are aimed at the state championship. Everything else is icing. If you don't win states, there is nothing else after that."

The Darby, which is an English word for local rivalry, won the State Cup in the first year after the merger of two area foes, the United and Hornets.

Composed of nine Hornets and seven United players, the Darby won every State Cup contest by at least four goals, including a 4-0 win over Potomac in the championship game.

While the Darby gained a stronger talent base from the merger, fluid team play became a problem.

"This is the first year the Darby played all together and we have a lot of good individuals. The problem is playing together as a team, but I think we're over that now," goalie Luke Timmons said.

In their seventh year, the Chargers qualified for regionals as a wild card after finishing second to Bethesda.

But the Chargers are not unfamiliar with the state title, winning championships from 1989 through 1991.

During the regular season, the Chargers commanded both ends of the field. They led their local league in scoring and were second in fewest goals allowed.

But, the Chargers are heading to the regionals limited to 14 players, after losing two girls to prior commitments.

Fullback Tammy Stealey has shifted back into goal to fill a void.

"She's mainly a field player in the past for us, but she offered to step in goal," coach Leo Weil said. "She has played goalie in the past but not for us. She was in goal for us in a tournament last week and did a fine job."

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