Key, North Carroll lead talent-laden county LOCAL SPORTS: HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY PREVIEW

September 15, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

Talent galore in 1994.

That easily could be the theme for high school field hockey in Carroll County this season.

Seldom have so many top players returned to the field in a county rich in field hockey tradition.

North Carroll's Jill Ballard, the 1993 Carroll County Player of the Year, is back along with most of the players who pushed her for that honor.

Francis Scott Key's Stacey Greene, who just might go down as one of the best field hockey players in the history of the county, returns for a third season and she is only a junior.

Look for Westminster to be right back in the middle of the fight for first place in the county with Key and North Carroll, with Liberty having an outside shot and South Carroll coming on strong at the end.

Greene already has led the Eagles to one state championship and could play on two more state champion teams before she is through. Key's talented goalkeeper, Missy Muller, is another headliner returning in what shapes up as a dream season in the county.

Muller was so good in the goal for the state Class 1A champions last season that she received a lot of support for county Player of the Year. It's the girls who score who usually draw most of the attention.

North Carroll forward Amber Bosley is back after scoring eight goals and handing out three assists last season for the county champion Panthers.

Bosley can do it all and often did for the 11-2-1 Panthers, who allowed only two goals the entire season.

Another top player back is speedy Key defender Laurie Ryer, who puts on a show every game with her ability to outrun opposing players.

All five of those players were first-team All-Carroll County choices last season. Two -- Ballard and Greene -- were first-team All-Metro, and Muller was a second-team All-Metro selection.

In all, last season Carroll County had three players on the All-Metro first team and two on the second team.

In the Baltimore area, only Baltimore city and Anne Arundel County could match Carroll County's total of three first-team All-Metro players.

So why is Carroll, with just five schools, making so much noise in field hockey? Coaching stability and the return of former top players to the coaching ranks used to be the primary reasons for the success. Now there are more good reasons.

"I think we depend on our kids in the programs to sell the game to other kids," said Westminster co-coach Brenda Baker. "And when you've had as much success as we've had in the county that isn't too hard to do."

Key has won five state championships and appeared in 13 state tournaments in the 19-year history of the tourney. Westminster has captured four state titles in 10 trips to the states. South Carroll has three state championships in four appearances in the final four. Liberty has two state titles in four times in the state tournament, and North Carroll has won once in five chances in the states.

Only Severna Park (seven) and Middletown (six) have won more state titles than Key.

Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn said of the Carroll field hockey ++ success: "I think it's happened because more and more of our girls are going to camps in the summer and more are playing indoors, along with the coaching stability."

Westminster co-coach Sue Hooper begins her 23rd season, Baker is starting her 12th season at Westminster and 17th overall (five at South Carroll), Vaughn is in her eighth season at Liberty, Stacy Stem starts her fifth season at South Carroll, and Mindi Wagner (Key) and Denean Koontz (North Carroll) start their third seasons.

Three of the five schools have been ranked in the preseason All-Metro poll.

There is no question that Francis Scott Key has the most talent returning, but the Eagles are handicapped because they play only four county games.

Key would have to go unbeaten just to have a chance at the county title.

North Carroll, probably second to Key in talent, plays the most county games (seven) and has to be the preseason favorite. The Panthers are the defending county champion, having edged Westminster by one-half game with the help of playing one more game (six) than the Owls.

Despite missing out on the county championship last season, Westminster has scheduled just five county games again this year -- two fewer than North Carroll.

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