Vikings brace for tougher foes 1993 high school girls soccer preview Mount Hebron

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

The road to the state final four gets tougher this season for Mount Hebron. The Vikings, state semifinalists in Class 1A-2A last fall, move up to Class 3A-4A.

That means the road to the final four now runs through two-time defending champion Centennial's backyard. It also means that the Vikings' new region includes Howard, a tough South Carroll squad and teams from Frederick and Baltimore counties.

Still, second-year coach Warren Michael and the Vikings plan to make a run at their third straight regional playoff berth.

"We'd like to sneak in," said Michael, whose squad finished 9-6 overall and 3-4 in the Howard County league. "Last year, we snuck in as the fourth seed and beat the No. 1 seed [North Hagerstown] and the No. 2 seed [Middletown], and we'd like to do that again."

Before that, however, the Vikings have some work to do. After graduating nine seniors, the Vikings return only three total points from last season's offense. Making matters worse, they also lost leading scorer sophomore Shannon Otto, who moved to Virginia.

However, the Vikings again should be competitive in the county if they play as smart as they did a year ago.

"Last year, we were successful in not doing stupid things though we were not as talented as some other people," said Michael.

Still, the Vikings are young especially on the all-new forward line. Sophomore Christina Eberhart moved up from the junior varsity for the playoffs, making her the most experienced striker. Freshman Kyle Rutkowski also should have a starting spot as could junior Katie Taylor and sophomore Nicola Liskovic.

The Vikings' strength appears to be their midfield with two stellar returnees in sophomore Julie Kickham and senior Cathy Nelson. Nelson and Swedish exchange student Malin Abrahamsson, who also will start at halfback, are the only seniors.

Sophomore Sam Oehl and freshmen Kate Golding and Jen Palmer are battling for a possible fourth midfield starting spot.

Defensively, sophomore Christie Ciazzo will run at stopper with sophomore Kristen Midura at sweeper. Sophomore Magda Malik and junior Laura Correnti should start at fullback while Lynette Chastant will see action, too.

In the nets, Warren will start sophomore Alicia Mosley, a newcomer. A starting guard for the Vikings' basketball team last winter, she has just a year of club experience.

"Alicia is going to have to make some saves, because scoring is our weakness," said Michael, although his squad did explode for 10 goals in its first scrimmage.

Like most county teams, the Vikings open with a tough non-league schedule that includes Laurel, Severn, Liberty and C. Milton Wright. Michael doesn't believe that scheduling easier teams would help his squad prepare for postseason play.

"If we're going to try to be there in the playoffs, we have to play a few good teams. It might end up burning us, but that's the chance you have to take," said Michael, who will be assisted this season by girls basketball coach Dave Greenberg.

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