Anne Arundel County Capsules High School Field Hockey Preview

September 14, 1995|By Bill Free

Annapolis Panthers 1994 record: 6-6-1. Coach: Jennifer Russell (third year).

Top players: Amy Brew, Sr., F; Suzanne Graf, Jr., F; Brittanie Oakley, Jr., M; Kate McMahon, Sr., D; Jennifer Behler, Sr., D; Susan Wymkoop, Soph., D; Meghan Cornwall, Sr., F.

Outlook: Five overtime losses marred a promising season for the Panthers last year. Russell has told her players not to put her through that kind of misery again, especially since the team did not win any OT games but did salvage an overtime tie with Meade. "It was enough to drive me crazy," said Russell. Two top players (forward Lisa Jewell and defender Sharon Carswell) from last year's squad have graduated but Russell believes her offense will be stronger this season with Brew and Graf leading the way. "Amy is an incredible athlete," said Russell. "She gave up soccer after the 10th grade to play field hockey and she is very aggressive." The biggest concern, Russell said, is how quickly junior Tricia Waite develops in the goal. Of course, playing in the same division with Severna Park could give anybody a headache. The Falcons trounced Annapolis, 5-1, last season. "That was the only real loss we had," said Russell who sees a bright future for Annapolis due to an improved feeder system from area youth leagues.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers 1994 record: 8-4-1. Coach: Mary Pat Bozel (sixth year).

Top players: Stephanie Paxson, Sr., F; Jennifer Thomas, Sr., F; Amy Sledgeski, Sr., M; Laura Libertore, Sr., D; Amanda Gibboney, Jr., D; Shannon Cashour, Sr., D.

Outlook: The Cavaliers already have made an early-season statement by beating Chesapeake, 1-0, last Friday, getting revenge for one of their four losses last season. Bozel sees no reason her team won't improve on last season's 8-4-1 record because "we have a lot of depth, experience and an ability to score goals." Playing a tough independent schedule that includes the top Arundel schools and top AIS A Conference teams, Spalding has improved its program to the point where Bozel is looking into joining the AIS A Conference. "In the past, we didn't have the depth we have now and the real good teams would run us in the ground," said Bozel. The Cavaliers appear to be especially strong on defense with Cashour and Gibboney leading the way. Gibboney is starting her third year at sweeper. They also have sophomore Malia Swieconick, a Junior Olympic player, battling Patricia Kircher for the starting goalkeeper position. The two players combined for seven saves in the 1-0 opening-game win over Chesapeake.

Arundel Wildcats 1994 record: 11-3-1. Coach: Clint Gosnell (sixth year).

Top players: Lisa Howard, Sr., M; Jeni Miller, Sr., M; Kati Miller, Sr., M; Meghan Miller, Jr., D; Meghan Crouse, Sr., D; Kim Gonski, Sr., D; Laura Buchman, Jr., D; Carla Navarro, Sr., F; Jean Benoit, Sr., F; Meghan Tidwell, Soph., G.

Outlook: In five years, Gosnell has taken Arundel from an 0-9-3 team to 11-3-1 and he is hoping for even bigger things this season. There is proven talent almost everywhere on the field for the Wildcats and they have been helped even more by the addition of junior defender Amy LeBrun, a transfer from Northern Calvert County. Navarro and Benoit are exceptionally quick at wing and forward Jeni Miller is expected to use her speed and fierce competitiveness to lead the scoring. Jeni and Kati Miller are twins and Meghan is their sister, giving the Wildcats a threesome that seems to thrive on intense sibling competition. "They argue among themselves about almost everything off the field and they've been known to disagree on the field but they sure can play," said Gosnell. Now that the Arundel field hockey program has been rebuilt, the big question facing the team is when will it beat Severna Park for the first time? The Wildcats are in the same division with Severna Park and will have to finish ahead of the Falcons to get a chance to play for the county title. They finished third last season behind Severna Park and Chesapeake.

Broadneck Bruins 1994 record: 6-5-1. Coach: Phoebe Kelly (13th year).

Top players: Lisa Foertsch, Sr., F; Katie Lengyl, Sr., F; Meredith Benda, Sr., D; Mary McGinnis, Sr., D; Colleen Harding, Sr., F; Katie Bauer, Jr., F.

Outlook: Kelly refused to make any predictions, saying only, "We'll let our actions speak for our talents." There is reason for Kelly to be a little coy because she has 10 seniors returning and four juniors who know their way around the field. When a team has that much experience, it is easy to think big. But Severna Park is still Severna Park, and Arundel, Annapolis and Chesapeake keep improving every year. The four talented juniors -- Bauer, Melissa Bragg, Sarah Zaleski and Ashley Schroeder -- are forwards. In addition to experience, the Bruins have speed and aggressiveness to challenge the top teams in the county. And they do have one big emotional edge in their favor-- they are the only public school in the county to beat Severna Park in the last nine years (1-0 in 1989).

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