Centennial's Jordan is ready for shot at lead role, Mount Hebron supremacy Eagles' 9-year JV coach gets chance in varsity spot to challenge Vikings

March 19, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

After nine years as Centennial's JV girls lacrosse coach, Nickie Jordan has taken over the varsity team.

And she's not looking back.

"Centennial lacrosse -- a new generation," is Jordan's way of saying out with the old and in with the new.

"We're going for a more progressive type of lacrosse as opposed to a traditional type that we've done historically at Centennial," said Jordan. "We're changing the whole attitude."

Centennial has had a very good program under coach Gail Purcell, who stepped down after nine seasons. But the Eagles have not had success against Mount Hebron, the top team in the county for years and a perennial Baltimore-area powerhouse.

Jordan wants to change that.

"I'm tired of being No. 2 in the county, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to be No. 1," Jordan said.

"We're changing the whole makeup of our game," said Jordan. "We played in the past a very traditional game -- get the ball in our offensive end, settle the offense, don't rush. This year, it's all going to be a transition game. We want the fast break. We have a lot of fast girls, and we're going to utilize that.

"We're also encouraging the girls to be more aggressive. To not be afraid to go with the ball and go to goal."

There will be other differences this year.

Jordan has got "99 percent" of the team to play with the lighter molded-head stick.

Jordan, who lost only twice in her JV coaching career, has only two seniors on the team. She thinks the Eagles will be "unbeatable" in the next couple of years.

"I have such strong, young girls coming up that I had an opportunity to work with at Burleigh Manor when they were in middle school," said Jordan, who teaches at Burleigh Manor, just a parking lot away from Centennial. "I know them very well, and they know me."

Jordan expects the Eagles "to be very competitive this year," despite their youth. Can they beat Mount Hebron?

"I haven't seen them or heard too much about them this year, so it would be hard to say," said Jordan, whose team plays host to the Vikings on May 5, the last day of the regular season. "But a lot of championships have been won by the underdog. And based on the attitudes and personalities on my team this year, it wouldn't surprise me at all to beat Mount Hebron. It wouldn't be a shock, that's for sure."

Mount Hebron lost in the 3A-4A state final last year in sudden death to unbeaten Annapolis, and the Vikings, who previously had won four straight state titles, want very badly to get back there.

"After that game, we all made a promise that we were going to come back and win it," said senior Cecelia Randazzo, who had 47 goals and 12 assists last season. "That day sticks in everybody's mind. It was pretty bad."

Mount Hebron coach Chris Robinson used that game -- specifically the last 60 seconds or so -- to motivate his squad.

"We worked very, very hard over the summer, but I was not happy with the work ethic I was seeing in the fall," Robinson said. "I didn't think people were improving like they should. I brought the team in for a meeting [in November], and told them I had some video I wanted them to see. I turned on the last minute of the Annapolis game, then said, 'I don't think I need to say anything else.' I think that was motivation enough for them to work hard."

The Vikings return three first-team all-county players -- Cecelia Randazzo, Chrissy Lombard and Kyle Rutkowski -- and two second-team performers -- Kelly Dodson and Kristin Foster.

"The talent is there and we've got good depth," Robinson said. "We can go 18 to 20 deep. It's just a matter of getting all the components together and working together as a team."

Pub Date: 3/19/97

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