A goalkeeper who can score, too Girls soccer: 'Go to goal' has double meaning for Mercy's Tina Steck, a striker with 12 goals in eight games -- but is better known in club ball as a top-flight goalkeeper.

September 29, 1996|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

When it comes to soccer, Tina Steck has a split personality.

She leads unbeaten, fifth-ranked Mercy in scoring with 12 goals in eight games, but her true calling is in the goal.

As a keeper, Steck has advanced to the Olympic Development Program regional camp several times in the last five years. Last summer, she helped the Baltimore Football Club Mixx/Energizers win the state Under-17 championship and reach the eastern regional semifinals.

Steck is so good in the net that she splits time in every Energizers game with Hereford's Kate Macfarlane, who's twice been named All-Metro keeper. Energizers coach Gary Lynch said the two have different strengths but are equally effective.

"Some college coach is going to find a gold mine in her," said Lynch, who has coached Steck for four years. "She's tremendously strong. She's very quick and alert. She may not look as technical in the sense that keepers fly all around, but she is extremely effective."

Lynch also coaches at the College of Notre Dame, but knows he won't be able to snare Steck for his Division III program.

"Tina can play Division I," said Lynch. "It's highly unlikely she could go to a Top 20 school, because she hasn't gotten the publicity some of the other kids have, but she's a very good keeper."

As a 12-year-old, Steck already was impressing her coaches.

Ray Hruz, who now coaches at North Harford High, remembers Steck's performance on a quickly-assembled team of 11- and 12-year olds that eventually became the Harford United Flash. To reach the semifinals of a highly-competitive tournament, Steck's team had to win its fourth game by at least five goals and not allow more than one.

"I knew we could win with Tina in the goal," said Hruz, "but we had to score five goals, so I put her on the field and told the girls to get the ball to Tina. She scored five goals. When we had a 6-0 lead, I put her in the goal to preserve it. We got into the semifinals and won the tournament."

Opponents still have plenty of respect for Steck's skills as a striker. Club teammate Nicole Froman, a two-time All-Metro sweeper at Loch Raven, couldn't stop Steck from scoring in Mercy's season-opening 3-2 win over the Raiders.

"She's very aggressive, and she reads the game so well," said Froman. "She's not the fastest person in the world, but she can work it past you because of her foot skills. One little fake, and it's bye-bye Tina."

Steck already has scored more goals than she did all of last year. She led the Magic with 10 goals and seven assists last season, earning All Baltimore City/County selection and helping Mercy to the Catholic League A Conference tournament semifinals.

Her appearances in goal for Mercy have been few, because she's more valuable to the Magic as a striker. But she doesn't mind.

"Diving around and getting dirty -- I kind of miss that, but it is a break for me," said Steck. "It's fun to play the field. It gives me a different perspective."

Lynch said all of her time on the field for Mercy has helped Steck improve as a goalkeeper.

"You learn to think about what goes through [a striker's] mind if you're successful shooting, which she is," said Lynch, "and you can use that on the other side."

Pub Date: 9/29/96

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