Severna Park capable of repeat performance Defending state champions are the team to beat again 1993 high school field hockey preview

September 09, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Severna Park is clearly the team to beat coming off its state championship season. It was the Falcons' sixth state title since 1978.

That, no doubt, would put Annapolis in the playoffs again.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

The Cavaliers beat Chesapeake for the first time. They tied Broadneck in the rain. They tied St. Mary's for the first time in 10 years.

The 8-4-2 record was, coach Mary Pat Bozel says, Spalding's best in over a decade.

"It was rewarding," said Bozel, who's in her fourth year. "The kids had a lot of talent and a lot of pride. The kids here now really want to play."

So what can Spalding concoct as an encore?

"Improve on 8-4-2," Bozel said. "One of those losses shouldn't have been. One tie shouldn't have been. We're trying to go for a perfect season."

The Cavaliers' strength is midfield, where the leading players are Marie Swartwood, Amanda Adams, Anne Mattison, Cara Tracey and Jami Duffy.

"Marie is the best I've coached," said Bozel, who's in her fourth year at Spalding after three at Annapolis. "Dedicated, almost obsessed. She eats, sleeps and drinks field hockey. She went to a camp at Georgetown where they were trying to identify players with Olympic potential."

Seven players graduated, so there are pockets to fill. After last year's team scored a school-record 31 goals, reinforcements are needed on the front line.

The top returning scorer, No. 4 last year behind three seniors, is senior Katie O'Brien, who had six goals and two assists.

In goal, Bozel is relying on junior Amanda Gildark, last year's backup. "She's flexible and has quick reactions and a willingness to learn," Bozel said.

Bozel has a no-nonsense approach to coaching: "I'm hard on them. I expect a lot. But the kids have worked hard the last few years, and gained a lot of respect."

Arundel Wildcats

Coach Clint Gosnell thinks it's high time Arundel advanced another notch in the playoffs. The past two seasons, the Wildcats lost in the first round, last year to LaPlata for a 6-6 finish.

"I want the region championship," said Gosnell, in his fourth year at Arundel and the only man coaching field hockey in the county. "That's our goal. It's realistic. Of course, we have to beat Severna Park under pressure. Severna Park is always the team to beat."

Gosnell has a nucleus of returning starters that "we can build a team around." The group includes attackmen Jackie DeVean, Leslie Knowles and Kristy Gardner, midfielders Heidi Motzer and Tobi Owen and defenseman Heather Jones.

"Leslie led in goals and assists last year," Gosnell said. "But Heidi has the potential to be a better scorer than Leslie."

Goalie Amanda Gottschall was second-team All-County as a sophomore last year, but is expected to share time with another junior, Jessica Dorr.

"Jessica looks better now than Amanda," Gosnell said.

The Wildcats are faster than last season, more skilled and fundamentally sound. But they do have a need.

"Consistency," Gosnell said. "Will we come together? We haven't yet. But if we do develop consistency, we'll be very successful."

Broadneck Bruins

No wonder coach Phoebe Kelly is "excited" in her 10th year at Broadneck. She has 20 returning players.

"We had only three seniors last year," Kelly said, referring to the team that went 4-7-2. "It was an inexperienced team, with mostly sophomores and juniors.

"Now all those people have at least a year of experience. They have had practice and game experience together. We have teamwork now, and the girls have more confidence in what the game is about. I'm excited."

The top returnees are halfbacks Jamie Casey, Melissa Kvichak and Laura Gareis, goalie Rachel Lenzi and fullback Heather Vale. All are seniors.

"Our strengths probably will be speed, ball control and scoring power," said Kelly.

Broadneck's marquee player is Ann Rodriguez, a junior forward who, according to Kelly, figures "to be our playmaker and one of our high scorers. She should be one of the top five players in the county."

Other productive juniors are forward Jaime Coy, midfielders Jaime Greene and Debbie Knorr and sophomore Meredith Benda, a midfielder.

"Our only weakness is lack of exposure to upper-level teams," Kelly said. "We need to test our players that way."

The tests will come in rapid-fire fashion. After the Sept. 17 opener against Northern, Broadneck will play Old Mill, Annapolis, Chesapeake and Severna Park. Not a patsy in the bunch.

"It's too early to tell about this team," Kelly said. "But the girls are determined to have a better season than last year."

Chesapeake Cougars

Coach Jerry Raab calls this a rebuilding year at Chesapeake, and with good reason.

Gone, via graduation, is Monica Gibson, who set single-season and career scoring records.

"We not only lost Monica, but a lot of defensive players and midfielders who were three-year veterans," Raab said. "We've got to get the juniors to mold with the few returning seniors we do have."

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