'92 losses motivate talent-laden Golden Bears 1993 high school girls soccer preview HAMMOND

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

The Golden Bears start this season as the team to beat in Howard County, but that could be a mixed blessing for Hammond and coach Dave Guetler.

Guetler and the returning Bears still feel the sting of back-to-back losses to Oakland Mills last fall. The first loss forced the Bears to share the county title with Centennial while the second loss, in the regional final, cost them the chance to defend their Class 1A-2A title. The Scorpions went on to win the title.

The Bears ended up 12-2. They slid from an early top ranking to No. 4 in The Baltimore Sun's Top 15 final poll.

"Last year, I think we peaked too early," said sixth-year coach Guetler, whose 1992 squad was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation by USA Today. "We beat Middletown and Centennial and after that, we still kept winning. We were 11-0 and we go to play Oakland Mills figuring we'll walk out of there with a win. I guess they caught us napping."

The Bears have plenty of motivation to prevent a tailspin this year, but it's always hard to stay on top with the level of soccer in the county still as strong as ever.

Hammond, however, brings back the strongest corps of players in seven returning starters. The Bears lost just three players to graduation, but one of those was the top player in the state, All-America striker Samantha Andersch. Replacing her 15 goals won't be easy.

Still, the Bears have a good start in speedy senior All-Metro striker Kisha Jett, who led the county for the second straight year in scoring with 23 goals and four assists. Sophomore Ashley Decker might pull the other starting nod with junior Keely Alexander also in the hunt. Junior Kim Cilberti should see action on the line.

In the midfield, the Bears have their top player, All-Metro senior Kacy Williams, ranked second in the state last year behind Andersch. Williams will move to center halfback from sweeper, where she anchored a defense that allowed only 10 goals last season. She should provide some additional offense, having pushed up for three goals and getting seven assists a year ago.

Joining Williams in the midfield are returning senior halfbacks Liz Bielefeld and Natalie Serianni. Serianni, a converted striker, and Bielefeld are offensive threats.

Seniors Julie Greer, Liz Mitchell, Christina Borys and junior Jennifer Roos also could see action in the midfield.

Defensively, Guetler returns senior fullback Karen Fink, the Bears' top marking back. Again this season, she'll draw the opposition's top threats. Joining her could be a couple of newcomers, sophomore stopper Angela Trancucci and freshman sweeper Renee Himes.

Seniors Melanie White and Jennifer Yezek, junior Michele Willis and sophomore Becky Bays should see action. In the nets, senior Amy Nestor returns. A third-year veteran, Nestor made 78 saves last season and she often had her best efforts in the closest games.

Without question, the Bears have the talent to sweep the county. If they learned a lesson from last year's losses, they could be an even tougher force.

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