Young Raiders gain confidence 1993 high school girls soccer preview Atholton

September 08, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

When new Atholton coach Jim Carlan watched his young team give up a goal in the first 35 seconds of their opening scrimmage, he thought he could be in for a long season.

Instead, Carlan discovered that this year's team did not intend to give in to anyone.

He watched as the Raiders held off their out-of-county opponent and tied the scrimmage about 20 minutes later. The Raiders ended up losing by one goal, but Carlan said his team may have gained more than it lost.

"They found out they could be competitive," Carlan said. "They got their act together and pressured the ball carrier, first and second defender all over the field. They played a good man-to-man game. The more they did it, the stronger they got because they saw how successful they were."

Now, Carlan makes no predictions of soaring from worst-to-first with his rebuilding team, but he does expect an improvement over last season's 2-8 overall record and 0-7 county mark.

Possessing the county's youngest overall roster, the Raiders will start six freshmen or sophomores, including those in the key positions of sweeper and goalkeeper. Returning stopper back Jaime Green is the only senior.

The top veteran is junior inside halfback Stephanie Van Deusen, who moves up from a starting defensive assignment last year. Carlan expects Van Deusen to spark the transition and add an offensive boost to talented sophomore strikers Alisa Spilkia and Alika Crew.

"Last year, the team had a good defense, but that team was playing back on its heels most of the season. We're hoping for Stephanie to get the ball up to Alisa and Alika more. She can make the overlapping runs, and she can also score," said Carlan, a 20-year veteran of club soccer coaching in his first high school season.

Also in the midfield, the Raiders start a converted goalkeeper, junior Sara Buckley, on the inside with Van Deusen. Sophomore transfer Jen Norton and freshman Kim Obst will run on the outside.

Defensively, Carlan starts two juniors, another converted keeper Mandy Robins and returning starter Amrit Dhillon. Sophomore Janine Dauberman takes over the sweeper back spot.

In the goal, freshman Julie Kapcala brings plenty of club experience to the starting position, allowing Carlan to bulk up his midfield and defense with Buckley and Robins.

The Raiders also have eight other players who will see plenty of action: junior halfbacks Kelly Burke, Lisa Sawers, Kyle Carter and Sara Walters; junior fullbacks Chris Gavin and Paola Zbinden and sophomore fullbacks Jen Benjamin and Lindsey Cline.

Despite the youth of this group, the Raiders do have some experience. Every starter plays on a travel team, and Carlan expects that to carry over on the high-school field.

"The strength of this team is the attitude," Carlan said. "Looking at where they've come from, you might expect them to be demoralized, but they aren't. They have a great attitude. They want to win, and they work hard to be competitive."

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