1998 Carroll County girls previews

September 03, 1998|By John W. Stewart

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1997 record: 4-9-2

Coach: Joe Linthicum

Top players: Amber Bowman, Sr., F; Melissa Merson, Sr., F; Suzanne Miller, Sr., MF; Sindi Stem, Sr., F

Outlook: Ten holdovers, including four four-year starters, have Linthicum talking of the potential for a better season. At the same time, he tempers the optimism of a possible .500 season with the reality that the program, while growing, may be several years away from competing with the top teams. Stem and Merson have been the team's leading scorers the last two years, so some of the work has been stressing ball-control with a midfield, anchored by Miller. "If they can get the ball ahead, we have a front line able to do something with it," says Linthicum. Senior Amber Keyser is the lone returning back. Either senior Meagan Tracey or junior Jen Robertson will start in goal -- the two are about equal at the moment -- and the other will move out to fullback, a position Tracey played last year. A year ago, the Eagles had two scoreless ties and lost four one-goal games and lost to eventual state Class 1A-2A state champion Glenelg in the regionals.

Liberty Lions

1997 record: 15-2-1

Coach: Sam DeLaurence

Top players: Jen Berarducci, Sr., D; Colleen Cox, Sr., D; Gina Cinquegrani, Sr., GK; Meredith Priddy, Sr., D; Trish Young, Sr., MF; Michelle Allen, Jr., F

Outlook: A year ago, DeLaurence believed a tough early-season schedule would help his team grow. So, the underclass-dominated Lions made it to a regional final before losing to eventual state champion Thomas Johnson. This year, the coach (30-2-4 the last two seasons) has loaded up with scrimmages vs. McDonogh and Bishop O'Connell from Arlington, and a regular season that starts St. Mary's, Fallston, Glenelg, and possibly River Hill in a tournament. "We're going to find our weaknesses early," says DeLaurence. "We want to build a maturity that will be able to play in a difficult environment." That means a long-range goal of returning to the state tournament (the Lions shared a state title two years ago), but the coach realizes early-season losses are a distinct possibility. Allen, last year's county Player of the Year, led the Lions in scoring with eight goals and five assists (three on game-winning goals); Young, a dominating player in the middle, contributed seven goals, five assists; Cox, one of the county's best athletes, is a solid defender up top, backed by Berarducci and Priddy in front of Cinquegrani (12 shutouts).

North Carroll Panthers

1997 record: 7-5-2

Coach: Jim MacDonald

Top players: Kellyn Hentz, Sr., F; Stephanie Rogers, Sr., MF; Danielle Shearer, Sr., D

Outlook: Four-year starters Hentz, Rogers, and Shearer are the leaders of what is expected to be a better team than last year's. Shearer was the county's top scorer with 10 goals, seven assists, and Rogers had six goals, four assists. Complementing the three are an experienced group of seniors, and some returning underclassmen, including junior Beth Reeb, a second-year goalkeeper, and sophomore Lacey Hentz, a midfielder. In the wings is a strong freshman turnout for the second straight year.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1997 record: 7-4-4

Coach: Jim Horn

Top players: Jodi Baier, Sr., MF; Amanda Hughes, Sr., GK;

Courtney McCray, Sr., F; Stephanie Wilson, Sr., M

Outlook: The team's four seniors are four-year starters and there are 10 other letter-winners who started at one time or another for a team that allowed more than one goal only once last year -- a 5-2 loss to state champion Thomas Johnson. Its other regular-season losses were to Westminster and county and Central Maryland Conference champion Liberty. Juniors Kim Bowers (forward), Katie Hancock (defense), and Sandy Lagana (defense) are three-year starters, and sophomore defenders Kim Lowry and Leah Onda are two-year regulars. Last year, Baier started as the sweeper, but with the team averaging less than a goal a game, she was moved to midfield, and then to striker. This time, she is entrenched in the midfield. The team pulled together after the TJ loss, winning its last three, then lost to Linganore in the regionals, 1-0. "They came together at the end of last year, and I believe that has carried over," says 12th-year coach Horn. "Practices have gone well, and the team attitude is tremendous, but whether that equals more success remains to be seen."

Westminster Owls

1997 record: 7-7

Coach: Bryan Shumaker

Top players: Amanda Cofflin, Sr., GK; Kelly Cooper, Sr., MF; Cathy Frame, Sr., F/MF; Michelle Payne, Sr., F; Kallie Smith, Sr., D; Mandy Komar, Jr., MF; Becky Ridgeway, Jr., D; Amy Vagnoni, Jr., D

Outlook: Second-year coach Shumaker, working with a squad of 22, will use speed up front to employ an aggressive, attacking offensive style, while relying on a solid defensive group, headed by sweeper Ridgeway in front of Cofflin. Regardless of whether it is offense or defense, everything will go through Komar, a first-team All-County selection last year as a sophomore. Shumaker is optimistic, but the early-season schedule includes a tournament with John Carroll and Notre Dame Prep at Hereford, plus No. 1-ranked McDonogh.

Metro Top 15

Rank School

1. McDonogh

2. Mercy

3 . Liberty

4. John Carroll

5. Severna Park

6. St. Mary's

7. Fallston

8. Hereford

9. Arundel

10. Catholic

11. South River

12. River Hill

13. Chesapeake-AA

14. Centennial

15. Loch Raven

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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