Burnett picks up where she left off at AACC

April 14, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

If you go to an Anne Arundel Community College women's lacrosse game this spring, you might find Angie Burnett at either first or second home, racking up the goals from her attack position.

Then again, depending on the opponent and whatever hunch coach Jim Shuck is playing, you might see her on the defensive end instead, shutting down the other team's top scorers.

Here's how her season has unfolded so far.

In the Pioneers' opener on April 1, she scored three times in an 18-3 rout at Harford CC.

Last Tuesday, having switched to a defensive wing, she helped stifle Essex CC, 21-6.

Seeing minutes at both attack wing and one of the home positions, she scored twice on Sunday in an 18-1 win over Virginia Tech's club team, and added two goals and seven assists the next night in a 20-2 victory over Harford CC.

"I wanted what I perceived to be the strongest team on the field at that time," Shuck said, explaining last week's move to defense. "Angie is such a good connector. She can catch and throw. She drops very few balls. I thought she's smart enough to know how to play defense, certainly to take care of one girl, and in the transition I felt it would be less likely that she would lose the ball."

Burnett has a preference, finding it more comfortable to stay at attack, which she played throughout high school and for her first year at Anne Arundel. But she also says, "I'll do whatever's best for the team," and is too busy enjoying her return to the sport to complain about a new position.

Burnett isn't your typical junior college sophomore, not at age 22 and with a four-year gap between seasons.

A 1989 graduate of Annapolis, where she made honorable-mention All-County as a senior, Burnett enrolled at Anne Arundel and led the team in scoring the next spring with 78 goals and 15 assists. But she gained more satisfaction from her job training and exercising horses, and decided to leave school.

That plan took a nasty turn soon after, when she was kicked in the abdomen by one of the horses. Though no serious injuries occurred, thelingering soreness made it too difficult to ride, let alone play lacrosse.

She began working as a groomer at a horse farm in Davidsonville, and much of her free time was spent taking care of her grandmother.

"Then, I decided to come back to school so I could get some kind of a degree to fall back on if I get hurt again with horses," she said.

That led her back to Anne Arundel, where she is blending in nicely on a team loaded with talent -- especially at attack -- while also providing additional experience and maturity.

"She's played at this level before," Shuck said, "and she's also played club ball with the Chesapeake team and out in Colorado, so she's played with higher-level people. It's like having a sixth returning player this year, instead of just the five who were here last year.

"I know Angie. I had seen her during summer ball. I knew who she was when I heard her name from when she played at Annapolis. I knew she was a very adequate player. And she's just added more strength to an already strong attack.

"I watch her at practice, when I talk about things in the attack, how to make some moves and how to run a girl into a pick, and I see her try it. Some of the other ones just keep doing the same thing. So, I see there's some thought patterns there and she knows how to listen, so when I ask her to do certain things, she'll try them."

Burnett, who spent her junior year at Archbishop Spalding before transferring back to Annapolis, said she missed playing lacrosse a great deal, but also found it "awkward coming back, because I'm older and wasn't sure I still had it in me. But we're working on it.

"I think I'm doing pretty well. I've hung in there. Playing defense is kind of new to me, but I feel I'm doing really well at it. I'd still like to go back to offense, but I just want to play."

Returning to competitive lacrosse meant going back to the exhausting practice and conditioning sessions. "It was hard getting back into shape. I didn't think I could keep up with the young girls," she said.

"The hard part was basically learning how to work with new people again. Most of these girls have played together before and they have their own way of playing, which is different from the way I played three years ago. The game has very much improved. You really have to be skilled.

"When I was here before, we had some girls who had never played before and who just decided to come out. But that's not happening now."

After this season, Burnett will restrict her playing to club teams and summer league competition. She'll leave Anne Arundel with a two-year degree in human services, and some fond memories of her return to the junior college circuit.

"It was nice just to get the opportunity to come back and play for an organized team again."

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