Joppatowne girls return to title hunt

May 08, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

The girls lacrosse team at Joppatowne won four successive Class 1A regional titles in the 1980s -- before the state association began sponsoring a state championship for the sport in 1990. Since then the Mariners have played to mixed reviews.

Matched against the bigger, and usually stronger Class 2A schools, coach Pam Reich's squads have not made it out of the regionals in four tries. In succession, there were losses to Southern-Anne Arundel in the semifinals, Pikesville in the quarterfinals, Fallston in the final and Fallston in last year's semifinals.

That last team marked the first time in her 12 years as coach at Joppatowne that a Reich team had a losing record (4-7).

Year No. 13 has been a complete turnaround for the Mariners, as they have swept through their 10-game schedule with only two losses, earning a return trip to the regionals as a No. 2 seed. A four-team regional will be Friday-Saturday, with the winners advancing to a final, May 17.

The Mariners' losses were to the only teams to finish ahead of them in the county standings, No. 1 C. Milton Wright (11-6) and No. 2 Fallston (14-9).

Wright jumped ahead early, building an 8-4 lead in the first half. The Fallston game was two different halves, as the Cougars ran off to a 13-1 halftime cushion, then the visitors came back with an eight-goal second half to close the gap to 14-9.

It is likely Edgewood and North Harford will be the other two 1A-2A North entries, which sets up the possibility of another Fallston-Joppatowne regional final.

Youth and inexperience on a sophomore-dominated squad led to some of last year's problems, and as junior defender Lisa Maly said, "We needed senior leaders and we didn't have them."

That's not a problem this time, as the captains -- seniors Binnie Nguyen and Betty Ann Pearce, and junior Karen Lemley -- are providing leadership. Lemley, a three-year starter in goal, pointed out that, unlike last year, the fact all the players are good friends and enjoy doing things together is an important factor in their success.

Nguyen, a top defender, Pearce, the team's second-leading scorer, and Kimberly Cosby are the only seniors on a team that returned 11 starters. Cosby, with an eight-goal outburst in last Wednesday's rainy 16-7 triumph over North Harford, is the team scoring leader with 26 goals and 14 assists.

Junior Jaimie Doss, who has had a six-goal game, totaled 19 goals and six assists before being sidelined with a knee injury.

"With the leadership and good cooperation, we are a much more cohesive unit," Doss said after the North Harford game.

Upset time on the tennis court

Whatever happens to the Havre de Grace tennis players in this week's county championships will only be an anti-climax after the Warriors' tense 6-5 victory at home over previously undefeated and perennial county power C. Milton Wright. The victory was the team's first-ever against Wright.

The No. 2 doubles team of Mark Pelletier-Mike Christopher rallied from 6-7 to pull out the decisive match, 9-7, against the Mustangs' Dave Rogers-Chris McKewen. The team mark of 13-3 is a school record for single-season wins. Wright dropped to 15-1.

In earlier pairings, Jason Flick defeated Peter Franks, 9-7; Andy Mitchell defeated Chris Kirby, 8-4; and Heather Swearingen defeated Erin Updegrove, 8-6, for a 3-0 Havre de Grace lead.

There was a Havre de Grace loss in No. 1 girls doubles, but when Jen Browning-Joel Duchon defeated Jenn Dickerson-Keith Erekson, 8-6, and Christine Pelletier-Kathy Foley defeated Kathy Butler-Erica Altman, 8-5, the team score went to 5-1.

Wright had won an earlier meeting between the two schools, 8-3 (Flick, Mitchell and Swearingen were Warriors' winners), although it featured several close matches. This time, down 5-2, with four matches in play, the visitors appeared in position to win them all. Pelletier-Christopher simply refused to let it happen.

Spring season winding down

The heaviest sports period of the spring season will confirm seven county championships this week.

Fallston clinched the boys lacrosse title by beating C. Milton Wright and Havre de Grace last week to finish 6-0. Wright and North Harford, each with one county loss, are scheduled to break that tie tomorrow night at C. Milton Wright.

The Wright girls lacrosse team, unbeaten in the league, aims foa second straight outright title when it plays at North Harford Tuesday night. A loss would drop it into a tie with Fallston. The Mustangs won that pivotal match last week, 5-3.

With the regular county schedules expected to end Friday, Bel Air is unbeaten and in command of two team races -- baseball and softball.

Team and individual honors will be at stake when the county tennis tournament goes at Thomas Run Park Wednesday and Friday, and the girls and boys track and field championships are held Thursday at North Harford.

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