Sisters feel at home on Fallston's hockey team

Harford notebook

November 05, 1995|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Three sophomore regulars on Fallston's regional champion field hockey team were not exactly strangers to the team when they joined it for preseason practice. Although all played on the junior varsity team last season, all have older sisters who have started for the Cougars in past years.

While seniors Barbara Ordes, Rachel Simon and Katie Wirth were well-known for their past efforts on the school's Class 2A state championship squads the past two years, sisters Diana Ordes, Kate Simon and Carrie Wirth had to earn their stripes.

All but Diana (and she splits time) will be in the starting lineup when Fallston plays in one state Class 3A semifinal tomorrow (1 p.m.) at Goucher College.

"I know I definitely felt pressure at the beginning, but I think I'm more relaxed now," Kate said after the 2-0 championship victory at C. Milton Wright. "I think we [the three sophomores] were welcomed as friends rather than players at first." Carrie added, "They're more open with us now than before."

Both agreed they had watched the play of the veterans in practice, and some of those skills had rubbed off.

They were in agreement, too, with the opinion of others who believe Kate, with her excellent athletic skills, has the most potential.

"Dedication is a big part of my game," Kate said, "and I think my father [Herb Simon, active in the area for years as a player and coach of several sports and currently boys volleyball coach at John Carroll] inspired me, and Rachel inspired me."

Rachel Simon was last year's Harford County Player of the Year.

"All the sisters work well together, but at the start I tried not to put each sophomore on her sister's side of the field," said 13-year head coach Alice Puckett. "Now, it doesn't matter, and Katie just works so well in the middle, regardless of who is around her.

"Individually, we knew Kate would be an impact player, because she has speed and game sense. Carrie is hard on herself, but she bounces back and has played well. Diana is very coachable, but there was a question of her readiness and of the playing time we could get her. She's been a pleasant surprise."

Carrie, who had a goal and an assist in the regional final, and

Diana did not come to hockey until high school.

"I'd played soccer for eight years and loved it," Carrie said, "but before my freshman year, Katie convinced me to try hockey."

Diana had played soccer, too, but felt she might have a better chance of playing hockey in high school. This season, "Everybody has helped me improve. I didn't feel like part of the team at the beginning, but I do now."

Carrie was particularly appreciative of the work Puckett and her assistant, Vicky Wright, had done. "They improved me 200 percent. They didn't give up on me, but gave me an opportunity to play," she said.

Where the development of Carrie and Diana has been more physical, Kate sees her improvement as being more mental. "It took me a while to feel comfortable with my teammates, to fit into what they were doing. Now, we're together, and I'm able to use my skills better," she said.

Volleyball

John Carroll wrapped up the boys Harford County championship with two league wins on the road last week, beating Havre de Grace in four games, and winning one game to complete a four-game decision over Bel Air.

John Carroll had led, two games to one, when play was suspended and a forfeit awarded to Bel Air in an earlier meeting. An appeal was upheld, and the game ordered to be continued from the point of suspension.

The Patriots finished 9-0 in the league. Fallston finished 8-1, losing only to John Carroll, and Havre de Grace ended 7-2, with losses to the two above it.

Overall, the gap among the top five or six teams is much narrower than in recent years, with Bel Air, North Harford and C. Milton Wright having a lot of good, young talent.

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