Dulaney, Franklin expected to be resurgent LOCAL SPORTS: HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY PREVIEW

September 15, 1994|By Katherine Dunn and Kevin Eck

Franklin and Dulaney -- two field hockey teams coming off subpar seasons -- are expected to return to the top of the Baltimore County 3A-4A League this season.

The Lions were the preseason favorites in the league last season, but they finished 5-6-1 -- their worst record in coach Melba Williams' 29 seasons at Dulaney -- and didn't make the playoffs.

Not as much was expected of Franklin, which had lost several key players from the 1992 team that advanced to the regional final. The Indians dropped to 5-5 last year, their worst mark in coach Carol Smith's 14 seasons at the school.

This season, Dulaney returns seven starters and Franklin has all but one starter back.

Both Williams and Smith are anticipating a return to form for their teams.

"I'm extremely positive about this team," Smith said "We most definitely will improve. And our toughest competition is always Dulaney."

Said Williams: "We didn't make the playoffs last year. We expect to get there this year."

Perry Hall, which went through the regular season undefeated before losing to Westminster in the regional final for the second consecutive year, returns three starters.

The Gators are not expected to match last season's record, but they are still a playoff contender.

Kenwood (10-3 last season) graduated two key players in forward Danielle Baker and goalie Colleen Bess, and it has a new coach in Vera Jensen.

Like Perry Hall, the Bluebirds might be a notch below last season's team, but they could still be a threat.

Parkville (6-4 last season) could be a team to watch.

The 1A-2A League should boil down to Pikesville, Towson, Hereford and Loch Raven.

Pikesville, which last season made its first appearance in the state semifinals since 1984, appears to be the slight favorite.

The Panthers have six starters back and are strong on offense and defense.

Towson brings back a senior-laden squad and could be poised to return to the state semifinals for the first time since 1991.

Hereford first-year coach Tammy Mundie has been impressed with her team. The Bulls have five starters back from last season's 10-2 squad.

Loch Raven, which also has a new coach in Wendy Galinn, lost six starters from last season's regional semifinalist. But a core of players up from an undefeated junior varsity should keep the Raiders in contention.

AIS

In the Association of Independent Schools A Division, Roland Park will try to extend its dominance over the rest of the league. The Reds have won or shared five straight championships. Last year, they edged Severn, 1-0, to win the title outright for the third time during that stretch.

If the Reds make it back to the title game this fall, it will mark their eighth straight appearance.

That record is especially phenomenal in such a low-scoring sport where a team can dominate a game and still lose. Just look at last year's title game. The Reds barely edged Severn, even though they outshot the Admirals, 26-2.

But now the Reds have a little more work to do than in recent years.

Gone is the All-Metro midfield combination of Peggy Boutilier and Brent McCallister, as well as second-team forward Catherine Passano. For the first time in years, the Reds have no stars to lean on, but they do have plenty of experience, skill and balance. That could be enough to keep them clinging to the top of the division.

"These kids have some confidence in themselves," said Reds coach Debbie Bloodsworth. "They're going to really have to work as a team. I don't know how much pressure they're feeling [to repeat]. We have some strong players to replace, but the players who are left are a solid group. I don't know if we'll win again, but we should do fine."

In a highly competitive division, though, plenty of teams are lining up hoping finally to dethrone Roland Park. Notre Dame Prep, Garrison Forest and Severn should give the Reds their best challenges, but don't count out Bryn Mawr, Friends or Maryvale.

In the B Division, look for defending co-champ Oldfields among the favorites. Co-champ Park moves up to the A Division this year, so John Carroll and Seton Keough should be the top challengers.

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