Questions abound as new season develops South Carroll plays for new coach

Owls' JV coach fills in

Girls lacrosse

1998 Boys And Girls Lacrosse Previews

March 19, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

The girls lacrosse picture in Carroll County offers about as many questions as there are teams:

Was North Carroll's championship a one-shot production?

Was Liberty's failure to extend its string of county titles simply a case of taking a year off to reload?

Will Westminster continue to build on a program that has improved dramatically recently.

South Carroll, on the other hand, presents a situation the other schools have not had to worry about for some time: a new coach.

Bridget Harris, a graduate of North Carroll and Salisbury State, got the job shortly before Christmas, so she was able to observe some of her players in a winter league. They have attended clinics, too, but still there figures to be an adjustment period for both sides.

Westminster doesn't have a new coach, but Suzanne Peters recently gave birth to a second son, the family's third child (offering a mixed midfield), and will out for another couple of weeks.

In the interim, the position is being filled by her assistant, Stacey Whalen, who coached the girls JV the past two seasons and thus coached almost all the varsity players.

"I felt comfortable with the move, because Suzanne and I have similar outlooks about the game, and I think it was a positive situation for the players. Both Suzanne and I are Western Maryland graduates, and we played for the same coach, Kim Easterday.

"We may have different ways of handling conditioning or discipline, but our philosophies and outlooks are about the same. That made it an easy transition for the players.

"Of course, at 24, I'm closer to their ages, so it wasn't so scary for them with a different coach. They tested me, but I think I got their attention. More recently, they are starting to pull together, to work as a team."

Of moving up to another level, Whalen said it was up to the girls.

"I see us maintaining our current level, but we will have to see whether the girls can discipline themselves to take the next step."

At North Carroll, coach Denean Koontz has a strong goalie, Jossalyn Guinan, to complement the chief attackers, Kellyn Hentz and Danielle Shearer.

All were among the school's five first-team All-County choices.

A year ago, Guinan was a question mark for the Panthers, as she was up from the JV team, but she answered the challenge with 146 saves in 13 games. Twenty-two of them came in the first win over Liberty.

That 13-8 decision, where Hentz, considered a natural finisher because of her quickness and stickwork, had five goals, was pivotal in the team's march to the regional semifinals and a final No. 12 ranking in the metro area poll.

Shearer, known for her speed, stickwork, and work ethic, highlighted her balanced offensive season in the regional semifinal game against Liberty with six goals, including two in the final minute that brought the team within 10-9.

With two regular-season victories on their way to an undefeated regular season, North Carroll (6-0) ended Liberty's string of seven straight county titles.

The Lions will miss player of the year Kari Evans, but two of their other three All-County honorees return -- junior Jen Berarducci and sophomore Jessica Roguski.

Berarducci, with speed and athleticism, was a tough defender, leading the team in ground balls, and taking charges. Additionally, she scored six goals, including the last-minute game-winner in a 10-9 decision over Westminster.

The versatile Roguski is able to play attack (43 goals, 14 assists), take the draws, and play solid defense. She wound up with the best shooting percentage on the team.

A year ago, after losing to North Carroll twice, Liberty made up for it by winning its regional semifinal when Kate Hannon, Krista O'Brien, and Trish Young scored successive goals for a 10-7 second-half lead. The team then lost the regional final to eventual state champion Mount Hebron.

In three years, Peters has seen steady improvement at Westminster, going from one win with a young squad three years ago to 5-8, and, last season, to 8-7, including two regional wins before running into Mount Hebron.

Aside from the five senior veterans, another senior who is expected to help is Candace Calderon. A varsity player two years ago, she moved to Pennsylvania with her family last year but is back.

"We missed her last year," Peters said of the defensive regular.

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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