Eagles re-stocked, ready for another run at state championship 1993 high school girls soccer preview Centennial

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

Two-time defending state Class 3A-4A champion Centennial probably lost more talented individuals to graduation than anyone in the county, but coach Rick Pizarro appears to have reloaded for another title run.

Last year, the Eagles finished 15-1-0 and shared the county championship with Hammond. They beat Dulaney, 3-2 in overtime, for the state title and ended up the season ranked No. 1 in The Baltimore Sun's top 15 poll.

The Eagles have plenty of talent returning, so the only question seems to be whether they can fill the gaps left by the loss of their top five players. Gone are All-Metro striker Vicky Brunt, co-Player of the Year in Howard County, All-Metro halfback Natalie Rich and three other All-County players.

"We're not going to have the same offensive strike," said Pizarro. "When you lose all those people -- Vicky had 16 goals and Natalie had nine, that's 25 goals. That's going to be hard to duplicate, although Michelle [Clare] has a real knack for the goal."

Clare, a senior who was second on the team in scoring last year, is the lone veteran back on the line. Joining her will be one or two players who move up from JV, junior Kelly Garrity or sophomores Natalie Hoover or Tiffany Cronin.

Defensively, the Eagles bring back their strongest group. Third-year starter Shara Boonshaft, a junior, will run at stopper back, while fourth-year player Jamie Fontaine starts at fullback. Sophomore Tania Riismandel moves from fullback to sweeper.

Pizarro has four players challenging for the other fullback spot -- seniors Micaela Duffy and Kathy Gallagher as well as juniors Jennifer Hargett and Regina DeNisio.

Third-year starter Laura Bradburn returns to the goal. Sophomore Rima Sidhu will back her up.

In the midfield, the Eagles return seniors Allison Hoover and Allison Bielski, while freshman Lauren Molinaro also might snag a starting assignment. Another halfback spot remains up for grabs.

To post another championship season, the Eagles will need a boost in scoring from their midfield to make up for the goals lost to graduation. Bielski has the potential to be a strong scorer, and she and Fontaine should spark the offense on transition.

Pizarro doesn't put pressure on his team to defend its state title, but he said the pressure is certainly there.

Pulling off the three-peat won't be easy, said Pizarro, who is wary of Dulaney and Severna Park (3-1 losers to the Eagles in last year's state semifinals). Even in the county, Hammond, with a load of returning talent, appears to have the early edge over the Eagles.

A non-league schedule that includes C. Milton Wright, Catholic, North Hagerstown and Westminster "won't be any bed of roses either," said Pizarro.

"We'll take it one game at a time. We did some jelling in our last scrimmage and in practice, people who are going to work together are starting to work well together. But it's going to take some time."

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