Team-by-team Capsules Local Sports: High School Field Hockey Preview

September 15, 1994|By Bill Free

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1993 record: 13-1-2. Coach: Mindi Wagner.

Top players: Stacey Greene, Jr., F; Missy Muller, Sr., G; Laurie Ryer, Sr., D; Holly Talbert, Sr., F; Jessica Sutherland, Sr., F; Amy Layman, Sr., D; Jen McDaniel, Sr., F; Jen Gallagher, Sr., D; Robin Day, Sr., L; Kristi Johnson, Jr., L.

Outlook: There just don't seem to be any weaknesses on the defending state Class 1A champions. Eight of 11 starters return, including the high-scoring Greene and stingy goalkeeper Muller. Greene scored 13 goals and had three assists last season. Greene has all the ingredients of any exceptional athlete -- speed, quickness, size, instincts, power, a strong will to win and coolness under fire.

Opponents might even put as many as four players on Greene, but the Eagles are prepared to turn to other players to score. "All our plays don't revolve around Stacey," said Wagner. "My other three forwards can score. Jessica Sutherland is another big girl like Stacey and she has the toughness it takes to play. She's hard-core and rough. She ran me over in practice one day and kept on going, apologizing as she went by me. And Holly Talbert is an acrobat with a stick in her hand."

Sutherland had the assist on the only goal Key scored last year in its 1-0 victory over Pocomoke in the state 1A championship game. Talbert had the goal against Pocomoke, one of eight she scored last season to go along with seven assists.

McDaniel, who also had eight goals, completes Key's outstanding front line that also includes Greene, Sutherland and Talbert -- all returnees.

No wonder Wagner says of her team: "I think when people hear we're the defending state 1A champions, they will shake in their shoes. But we're not perfect. We have to keep Missy Muller healthy. She dislocated her shoulder late last November while playing in a tournament in California, and she's had one health problem after another in the past. She's asthmatic and is constantly pulling something."

The Eagles have experience and talent at all positions, with five players fighting for the final starting defensive position. Junior Carrie Kibler leads the way in that battle with four other juniors -- Kristi Muller, Jen Wildesin, Leslie Plienis and Crystal Martz.

"We're a close team like last season," said Wagner. "We've already been out to breakfast together and we got together election day. It should be an exciting season and it would be wonderful to win another state title."

Liberty Lions

1993 record: 9-6. Coach: Courtney Vaughn.

Top players: Debbi Bourke, Sr., F; Heather Carter, Jr., G; Jessica Horneman, Jr., D; Amy North, Sr., L; Cindy Collins, Sr., L; Ashley Meehan, Soph., D; Jeannie Rainey, Sr., F; Megan Renehan, Sr., D; Danielle Gray, Jr., F.

Outlook: There are a lot of question marks for the Lions as they try to match their surprising march to the state 2A tournament last year.

Bourke, who had eight goals as a sophomore but scored only three last season, has to bounce back with a strong season; the entire offense has to learn how to convert its opportunities, and an unproven defense has to come through in front of Carter.

"Debbie Bourke had an off year last season," said Vaughn. "But )) she is very determined and won't back down. She is one of our smallest players but has the biggest heart on the team."

North, Rainey, Gray and Collins are some of the players who must score if Liberty is to be successful. On defense, the newcomers will have to follow the lead of Horneman, who is a strong hitter and an aggressive player.

"There's no pressure on us this year," said Vaughn, whose team dropped a 2-0 decision to North Carroll in the season opener Monday. "We're just out to play .500 ball. A lot of our players came in out of shape and it's going to take a while for them to get going. But our players all like each other and we had a nice gesture from Megan Renehan, who volunteered to play sweeper for us this year after being on offense last season."

Vaughn said Renehan's presence might allow the defense to surprise some people.

North Carroll Panthers

1993 record: 11-2-1. Coach: Denean Koontz.

Top players: Jill Ballard, Sr., L; Amber Bosley, Sr., F; Laurie Kreseski, Sr., F; Laura Kenney, Sr., F; Mary Ann Oldani, Sr., D; Jen Richards, Sr., D; Beth Moore, Sr., L; Becky Bosley, Soph., G.

Outlook: Koontz said her players will never forget a disheartening upset loss on strokes to Liberty last season in the 2A West Regional final, but they have been looking to the future and another chance to make it to the state tournament.

At least the Panthers gained some revenge for that setback Monday when they defeated Liberty, 2-0, in the season opener for both teams. To no one's surprise, Ballard and Amber Bosley scored the goals. Ballard and Bosley figure to bash a lot of opponents, and if they don't get the job done, look for Kreseski, Kenney or Moore to step forward.

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