Anne Arundel County girls soccer previews

September 04, 1997|By Glenn Graham

Annapolis Panthers

1996 record: 0-12-1

Coach: Tom Cordts

Top players: Kelly Dirks, senior, D; Jen Patrick, senior, GK; Tina Grillo, senior, F; Becca McDevitt, junior, D; Beth Hemminger, junior, M-A; Kristy Dirks, freshman, F

Outlook: A lack of scoring was the big problem last season, the result a handful of one-goal losses. The positive was the Panthers kept it close against a lot of teams. The focus in the preseason has been the ability to finish. Cordts expects his defense to keep things close with a veteran sweeper-stopper combination in Kelly Dirks and McDevitt. Both have played varsity since they were freshmen. Patrick covers the goal well from side to side.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1996 record: 5-8-1

Coach: Rick Pizarro

Top players: Amy Campion, junior, F-M; Michelle Rowland, junior, D; Yasmin Alter, sophomore, GK-F; Rachel Gaes, senior, M; Alicia Hogan, junior, D; Shelly Sullivan, sophomore, D; Susan Tyrell, junior, D; Sara Speargas, sophomore, GK-D.

Outlook: With only four seniors back and a few talented underclassmen, the Cavaliers' big season may be a year away, but that doesn't mean they won't make some noise. The starting point is Campion, who's always around the ball with fine skills and a strong shot. Rowland is smooth at sweeper. Hogan, a solid defender, is likely to play stopper. If scoring is a problem, Alter may move up top after starting in goal as a freshman.

Arundel Wildcats

1996 record: 16-2

Coach: Tom Degner

Top players: Kelly Jordan, junior, F; Becky Beardsley, junior, M; Polly Williams, senior, F; Rhiannon Palatka, senior, D; Mandy Schultz, senior, GK; Kristan Blunt, sophomore, D; Melissa Godboldte, senior, D

Outlook: At Arundel, 1996 was a season of firsts as the Wildcats captured their first county and region championships on their way to a state runner-up finish. So what can the Wildcats do for an encore? A surprise team last year, Degner said "teams will be looking out for us this year." A strong nucleus returns, including eight seniors and co-Anne Arundel Player of the Year Jordan, who burst onto the varsity scene last season with 21 goals. "She's extremely fast and very determined. She just wants to win," Degner said. Degner hopes the team won't need to rely on her as much. Beardsley is a standout at midfield with Palatka the glue to the defense.

Broadneck Bruins

1996 record: 6-7-1

Coach: Jennifer Vickery

Top players: Ellen Bangert, senior, F; Gretchen Oaksmith, senior, D; Fran Schlossman, senior, GK; Jaime Flynn, senior, D; Corinne Shuck, senior, M

Outlook: Vickery, a Northeast High and 1996 Salisbury State grad, takes over for former coach Leann Shuck, now an assistant at Arundel. The first-year coach had 70 players try out and kept 23 on varsity. Defense is the team's strength. In goal, Schlossman isn't afraid to come out and take charge. Oaksmith, a starter as a sophomore, returns to sweeper after spending her junior year in Korea.

Chesapeake Cougars

1996 record: 10-5

Coach: Lin Sullivan

Top players: Brooke Clyde, senior, F; Stephanie Mosca, senior, F; Krystal Mcintyre, senior, F; Amy Culp, senior, D; Laura Miller, senior, D; Tiffany Howland, senior, M; Ginny Jorde, junior, D; Lauren Gontkof, junior, M; Jennifer Browning, junior, M; Melissa Garner, junior, F

Outlook: Sullivan and his Cougars know they're close. Their region playoff effort last year against eventual Class 3A-4A state champ Fallston -- a loss decided by penalty kicks after 100 minutes of even soccer -- showed just that. "We need to maintain and take that extra step," said Sullivan. There's a fine nucleus to possibly do just that. It starts with a front line -- Clyde, Mosca and Mcintyre -- that will be playing its third season on varsity. Clyde is the team's top returning scorer with 14 last season; Garner, a junior, Garner, had 13. Gontkof will be asked to anchor the middle of the field while Miller, Culp and Jorde -- a second-team All-County performer last year -- all have varsity experience in back. Juniors Nicole Jantz and Beth Schull are vying to start in goal.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1996 record: 2-10-1

Coach: Jon Van Orden

Top players: Marianne Ogle, senior, F-M; Lisa Graziano, senior, M; Kacey Sloan, senior, D; Jen Perkins, senior, F-M; Laura Moody, senior, D; Lauren MacSorley, junior, F-M; Amy Shacklock, senior, GK; Nicki Bounelis, senior, D; Bonnie Nevin, senior, D

Outlook: The Gophers were in transition last season, changing their defensive scheme and moving around some players to get the most out of their talent. This season, Van Orden is expecting to see his squad more comfortable, with the adjustments providing more wins. Former midfielder Laura Moody dropped back to sweeper late last season and brings speed, aggresiveness and a vocal presence to the defense, which also features four-year goalie Shacklock. The switch enabled Graziano to move up to center midfield.

Meade Mustangs

1996 record: 3-9

Coach: Jo Funk

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