Freedlander revels in giant-killer role Hero: Bess Freedlander scored the goal that ended Severna Park's 54-game field hockey winning streak this month, and the celebration hasn't stopped at Severn.

September 22, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Bess Freedlander was an accomplished field hockey player long before she ever scored the celebrated goal that ended Severna Park's 54-game winning streak 17 days ago.

It's just that the Severn School senior is now being recognized around the state for her heroics against a team that seemed to be invincible during the long streak.

Freedlander has taken many bows for sending the ball into the Severna Park net for a 1-0 victory in the season opener and everyone around the school is glad to see this talented athlete finally basking in the spotlight.

They say that no one on the team deserves the recognition more than Freedlander, who plays a demanding center midfield position to perfection.

They say it was no accident that Freedlander was where she needed to be on the play that will live a long time in the memory of Severn field hockey fans.

"We've earned our bragging rights," said Freedlander, whose team leaped past Severna Park into the No. 1 position in the metro-area rankings with the win.

"The girls at Severna Park are great girls and I respect them, but I had to beat them one time before I graduated."

Freedlander has been willing to do all the unsung things to help the Little Admirals win since the day she arrived at school last year as a junior transfer from Easton High.

Her reward last season was a trip to the tournament semifinals in the tough AIS A Conference and first-team All-Anne Arundel County honors.

But she wanted a lot more this season and didn't have to wait long to get it against the biggest fish on the team's schedule.

Beating Severna Park was something Freedlander had dreamed about for a long time, and she put on a clinic that September Thursday afternoon on her home field to turn her dream into a reality.

Freedlander used all her physical gifts, mental toughness and innate field hockey sense for 50 minutes to help dismantle the Falcons.

"Bess always seems to know where to go on the field," said Severn coach Renie Sotiropoulis. "She has a sense of being in the right place. I believe she was born with that ability. It's skill, not luck."

Freedlander thinks she inherited that field sense from her father, Howard, who played lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I see the ball well, see the field well and try to position myself where I can put a shot on goal," said Freedlander, who was certainly in position to score against Severna Park off a nice pass from Lauren Poile.

"I think I've become even better since deciding a couple of years ago to focus on field hockey after playing a lot of different sports. I still play lacrosse, but field hockey is my niche and I plan to play at a Division I school."

Freedlander appears to have all the physical attributes to play at a high level.

She has speed, quickness, stamina, strength, excellent stick skills, can score or pass the ball and play defense.

"Bess has so many jobs on the field and goes so many places that it's hard to mark her," said Sotiropoulis. "And she is an incredible team player. She fed Kelley Mahan three times for goals in our 5-0 victory over Seton Keough on Tuesday."

But two days later Freedlander and Severn were played to a scoreless tie by an upstart Friends team in an AIS A Conference opener to put the first smudge on the Little Admirals' record (4-0-1).

"I knew Friends would be tough," said Freedlander. "We have to re-focus a little now and get back to playing the way we did against Severna Park."

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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