Cavaliers in search of answers South Carroll 1993 high school field hockey preview

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

Seldom has a South Carroll field hockey team needed so much help.

That is the summation of coach Stacy Stem, who always refuses to get caught up in preseason hype.

If anybody listens to Stem talk right now, they would have to believe the Cavaliers will have trouble just getting out of their own way, much less making a run for a third straight appearance in the state 3A championship game.

"This team is really weird," she said. "We don't have any character, we're quiet and backward."

Then Stem listed what else is wrong with her 1993 squad as the season-opener against Thomas Johnson grows nearer (Monday at Thomas Johnson).

"We're hurting in the midfield, our defense needs quickness, we need to shoot more on offense and I don't see anybody good enough to start in the goal," Stem said.

There might be some help in the character area if senior forward Tracie DiDio steps forward to replace the graduated Patti Duffy as the team leader, said Stem.

And certainly Stem can convince the likes of DiDio and juniors Carli Benham, April Hall and Kati Rockwell to shoot more.

But what about the goalkeeping, the lack of quickness on defense and the lack of quality midfielders?

No one can teach quickness and Stem may have run out of miracles in the goal last spring during the lacrosse season when she turned Erin Nauyalis into a top-flight goalkeeper.

This fall, it's junior Miranda Justice, who needs to be completely trained in the net.

Also, three players have quit and one injured, putting the squad at just 16 players without any cuts.

Of course, there is always the junior varsity and Stem has been a master of pulling up young players who are ready for the varsity wars.

To top everything off, defending state 3A champion Bethesda-Chevy Chase has been moved to South Carroll's region and will have to be dealt with before South Carroll can think about going to the states.

"It will be tough to get out of our region," said Stem. "But at least BCC doesn't have [leading scorer] Sara Warlick anymore. We just have to hope Tracie can carry us until some of our other players develop. She's the backbone of the team."

Junior forward Dawn Bennett and senior defenders Holly Fitzgerald and Kristen Shaw have been bright spots in the preseason drills and have given Stem something good to talk about in addition to DiDio, Benham, Hall and Rockwell.

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