Eagles speeding toward .500 mark 1993 high school girls soccer preview Francis Scott Key

September 08, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Speed and quickness can do wonders for a soccer team.

On offense, it can create plenty of scoring opportunities. On defense, it can cover up a lot of miscues.

When Francis Scott Key coach Joe Linthicum watches junior forwards Carri Ryer and Kelly Jirout get to a ball most wouldn't, he can't help but smile. At the other end, sophomore sweeper Pam Lochner uses her speed and aggressiveness to clear a potential scoring threat.

The Eagles, who improved to 5-7 last year after winning only ongame the year before, want to continue the upward march, and Linthicum believes he might have the combination of players to get over the .500 mark for the first time at Key.

"Things are moving along real quick and I like to think we'rahead of schedule compared to last year," Linthicum said.

"They're going about their jobs, working hard, asking questionand showing they want to learn and get better. It really has me tickled."

The Eagles have six seniors back from last year's team, including two -- midfielder Paula Koontz and goalie Amber Grimes -- who have been with the varsity for all four years.

They also picked up senior midfielders Shannon Jones anMargie Neighoff, both South Carroll transfers. Linthicum expects both to step right in and contribute.

"Shannon is a quiet, methodical player who just goes about hebusiness and Margie is a well-skilled player. Both will help strengthen our midfield," he said.

Throw in Ryer, Jirout, Lochner and a handful of otheunderclassman, and the Eagles have a pretty solid nucleus.

"I think the overall talent on this team is better than what we've had in the past two years," Linthicum said.

"And that's saying a lot considering we had [graduated] Erin Murphey on those teams, a player that doesn't come around very often."

The Eagles will switch to starting four midfielders with twstrikers up front after playing three front-line players in the past. The new formation will provide more support for the defense and also give more room for the speedy players up front. Seniors Dawn Blacksten and Kate Ensor also will run up front.

"When the midfield has stayed disciplined and sits back, it creates a lot of opportunities. Sometimes they want to bunch up with the front people and it gets clogged up," Linthicum said.

"The extra midfielder also will take some pressure off thdefense. It's coming along nicely."

Plenty of experience surrounds Lochner on defense.

Senior Mara Comfort will play stopper with Melissa Cavey and Amy Kerr -- also seniors -- on the sides. Junior newcomers Jamie White, Tracy Wenzig and Patti Hyde will see time in back.

Junior Lisa Turner returns to solidify the midfield along with newcomers Autumn Hinkle, Carla Curran and Tanya Stambaugh. Linthicum plans to get the most out of his entire roster.

"We're going to try and create some different things. With 2players, we have enough people to give breaks to our starters

and not lose much," Linthicum said.

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