After a season to remember, Eagles will try out new look 1993 Carroll County high school soccer preview Talent is there, but not experience Francis Scott Key

September 07, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

The storybook season the Francis Scott Key Eagles enjoyed a year ago is a memory.

Now the Eagles are trying to find a new identity with a new cast of players to make the 1993 campaign just as memorable.

It won't be easy. Gone from last year's team, which won six of its last eight regular-season games to qualify for as a fourth seed in the region -- which the Eagles won -- is a cast of veterans who believed they could beat just about anyone.

It has left Key with plenty of holes to fill, but 12-year coach "Gee" Hibberd believes he has the players to do it.

"We're working real hard and know we have a lot to replace, but we have a young group of talented athletes in this year," Hibberd said.

"We thought last year was going to be a transition season, but so many boys saved their best ball for down the stretch. Our run fell into place as well as you can ask and it was the seniors who pulled it all together. I think this year's team also is capable of being a very good soccer team."

Hibberd is hoping it won't take as long for things to fall into place this season. Two years ago, the Eagles dropped their first eight games before winning their final four to sneak into the region playoffs. Last year's team also got off to a sluggish start before putting together the strong run, finally falling to eventual state champion Fallston in the state semifinals.

"We have a lot of work to do, but have a lot of players to work with," Hibberd said.

"The potential for scoring is stronger this season and once the defense jells, it will be strong."

Defense was the key to last season's success and most of the key components have graduated.

Junior John Shorb replaces John Engel -- an All-County performer -- in goal. Hibberd said Shorb has worked hard to get ready and has shown a lot of improvement since last year, when he played on junior varsity.

Fullback Steve Haines, one of only four seniors returning, will lead the defense with the help of juniors Steve Wright, Zac Yinger and Jason Dykes. Wright will handle the stopper position with Yinger and Dykes sharing time at sweeper. Juniors Patrick White and Ben Middaugh are candidates for the other wing fullback slot.

The three other returning seniors are midfielders Ryan Robertson, Ethan Steiner and Ryan Glover.

Leadership will play a vital role and Hibberd is looking to his seniors to provide it.

"One of the big strengths on the team last year was leadership and it will be hard to replace," Hibberd said.

"We're going to need leadership from the four seniors and them stepping up will be a big key as to how well we do this season."

Hibberd will run a lot of different midfielders to get the most out of his depth. Joining the three seniors will be juniors Dustin Bare, Andy Dudderar and Dave Lookingbill.

The Eagles don't have any single striker to put the ball in the net on a regular basis. They'll look to spread the wealth with the likes of juniors Robby Green, Mike Crawmer, Randy Owings and Vincent Bouveret, an exchange student from Belgium.

"That's the way we like it. We're not looking for one person to do all the scoring," Hibberd said.

"Before we talk about scoring goals, we're going to have to get the ball up there so we have to move it around a little better at midfield."

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