DiDio looks forward to a standout year Cavs' star set after summer of field hockey 1993 high school field hockey preview

September 09, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

It's almost frightening to imagine just how good South Carroll's Tracie DiDio could be this season.

The senior forward is unquestionably the standout this fall in Carroll County field hockey circles.

"People are really excited and talking about coming out and seeing Tracie play," said South Carroll coach Stacy Stem.

"Her improvement from June to September has been tremendous. I thought in June that she should go to college for lacrosse because that was her best sport. But now I think she is good enough to play field hockey and lacrosse at a Division I school."

Stem said DiDio has raised her field hockey game to a college level with marked improvement in her stickwork and confidence to go along with her already outstanding quickness, speed, desire and intelligence.

Stem believes the last element for a complete field hockey game for DiDio is better positioning.

If that happens before the season is over, there is no predicting just how much she could dominate.

All this has come about for the Cavaliers' standout after a summer diet of field hockey.

She attended a field hockey camp at the University of Maryland and played in a Washington summer league, a Baltimore summer league and pick-up games.

In her "spare time," DiDio did a lot of running for conditioning.

This is not to say that DiDio hasn't already had a superb field

hockey career at South Carroll.

She helped the Cavaliers win a state 3A title in 1991 and played a major role in last year's runner-up state 3A finish.

DiDio was sensational at times last year for the Cavaliers, going coast-to-coast for some scintillating goals.

She used her quickness and speed to run around people on the way to the cage. And she was phenomenal in two regional 3A playoff wins in the mud and rain over Linganore and Thomas Johnson.

DiDio scored two goals in the win over Thomas Johnson, helping lead South Carroll to the state tournament. The Cavaliers went on to beat Kenwood in the semifinals before losing to powerful Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the title game.

BCC took DiDio out of that championship game with a relentless physical style of play.

"They abused Tracie," said Stem. "But I think she learned a lot from that and has matured since then."

It was BCC who South Carroll upset in 1991 to win the state title. The Barons came back to get revenge on DiDio and the Cavaliers.

Now the gifted two-sport athlete is ready for a final run in Carroll County, and, most likely, a regional confrontation against BCC, which has been moved into South Carroll's region this season.

And just what drives DiDio to greater heights in field hockey?

"I like the sound of the ball hitting the back of the cage," said DiDio, who had 11 goals and seven assists as a junior. "I like going one-on-one to the goal and using my stickwork. But I never really thought I'd be considered the best player in the county going into my senior year."

DiDio dabbled in tennis, soccer and basketball in her youth before concentrating on field hockey and lacrosse.

"I kind of like field hockey and lacrosse the same," she said. "But I'll probably choose a college based on field hockey since I'll be making a decision before my senior lacrosse year is finished. I think field hockey is harder to play than lacrosse. It is more of a challenge and requires more stickwork, skill and speed."

There's added pressure on DiDio this season with the departure of Patti Duffy to Virginia Commonwealth on a full field hockey scholarship.

"Patti was our quarterback and a good leader. We're going to have to learn to work together this season to make up for her loss," said DiDio, the only junior to make The Baltimore Sun's All-Carroll County field hockey first team last season.

In a county where field hockey reigns supreme, it is quite an honor to enter the season as the best player. DiDio has earned it.

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