Local Sports: High School Field Hockey Preview

August 29, 1996|By Bill Free

Annapolis Panthers

1995 record: 8-5.

Coach: Stephanie Rowland Hunt

Top players: Suzanne Graf, Sr., F; Megen Taliaferro, Sr., D; Brittanie Oakley, Sr., M; Tricia Waite, Sr, G.

Outlook: A 2-1 loss to Severna Park in the 4A South semifinals ended Annapolis' season last year under Jennifer Russell who later resigned and was replaced by Hunt who coached the junior varsity last season. Hunt said it will be tough matching last year's 8-5 mark with a predominantly young team but she is hopeful. "I think definitely next year we'll be up there with the top teams," said Hunt. "I'm real excited because I see this team working hard and being dedicated. We're going to try and play the ball on the goal and use a lot of hard pushes instead of drives to get the ball up field."

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1995 record: 11-4.

Coach: Mary Pat Bozel

Top players: Malia Swieconek, Jr., G; Amanda Gibboney, Sr., D; Kat Brady, Jr., F; Katie O'Connel, So., F; Kristin Seubott, Sr., D; Nikki Parisi, Sr., D; Amy Costello, Sr., D.

Outlook: Life without career scoring leader Stephanie Paxson will be tough for a few games but Bozel said her team's defense is good enough to carry the team until the offense comes around. Gibboney, a four-year returning sweeper, will make Swieconek's job in the goal a lot easier. O'Connel is expected to lead the offense in a season that has the Cavaliers moving from independent status to the tough AIS A Division. Spalding and heated rival St. Mary's are both going into the AIS A Division this year. Despite the loss of Paxson, Bozel believes her team is ready for the challenge. "Stephanie set an example and hopefully somebody will fill her shoes," said Bozel. "We have nine seniors and had big numbers [55] come out for the team this year. We have speed, experience and a well-balanced team."

Arundel Wildcats

1995 record: 7-3-1.

Coach: Clint Gosnell

Top players: Laura Buckman, Sr., D; Emily Metro, Sr., M; Megan Miller, Sr., F; Emily Rogers, Sr., F; Megan Tidwell, Jr., G; Sarah Herrmann, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Wildcats just keep getting stronger every year under Gosnell, who enters his seventh season and keeps flirting with a big upset over Severna Park. Arundel lost two first-team All-County picks in Kim Gonski and Jen Miller but some people believe the team can be as good or better than last year. Gosnell is downplaying that kind of talk and praising Severna Park coach Lil Shelton. "Lil is the kind of coach we all want to be," said Gosnell. "Everybody on her team is special to her. If you play for her, she treats you special no matter what your position on the team is." Gosnell will alternate Tidwell and Herrmann in the goal and emphasize a team-oriented offense. "I never expect to get the ball to one person. I expect our players to read the defense and get the ball to the right person," he said.

Broadneck Bruins

1995 record: 5-5-3.

Coach: Phoebe Kelly

Top players: Ashley Schroeder, Sr., M; Sarah Zaleski, Sr., M; Katie Bauer, Sr., F; Katie Tressler, Sr., F; Melissa Bragg, Sr., F; Sara Morell, Sr., D.

Outlook: The Bruins still own the honor of being the last Anne Arundel County team to beat Severna Park -- 1-0 overtime victory in 1989. But Kelly has no visions of grandeur at this 3A school, which is in transition this season. Students are attending classes at Severn River and Magothy River Middle Schools due to school construction. "My key objective is to keep developing players and hope for the best results," said Kelly. "The main difference between our program and Severna Park's is the numbers. It is a bigger school and they have more choices of players. We only had 36 come out this year." Broadneck will try to win this season with a few strong seniors mixed with some talented young

players.

Chesapeake Cougars

1995 record: 11-6.

Coach: Jerry Raab

Top players: Ryane Bellarin, Sr., D; Wendy Isom, Jr., M; Jessica Jones, Jr., A; Christy Gayhardt, Sr., D; Kristy Baker, Jr., M; Sarah Wyant, Jr., A; Mary Wald, Sr., M; Fajen (cq) Barker, Sr., A; Alissa Gilen (cq), Sr., G.

Outlook: With first-team All-County pick Bellarin back and second-team All-County selection Isom returning, the Cougars have a head start on many opponents and should have an excellent opportunity to return to the state 4A tournament. Bellarin is about as good as any defender around and Isom is gifted in the midfield. Add Jones, Gayhardt, Baker and Wyant to the mix and you get the nucleus of a team that will not only be experienced but talented and ready to challenge Severna Park again. Chesapeake has the luxury of playing in the county's North Division and is favored to meet the South Division winner, most likely Severna Park or Arundel, for the county title. "I know if we can defend, we have the people to put the ball in the goal this year," said Raab.

Meade Mustangs

1995 record: 5-6-3.

Coach: Nicki Meshbesher

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