Owls try for fifth straight tonight Girls soccer: An unexpected double-overtime win changed everything for Westminster. And the coach expects more happiness.

September 24, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

It's easy to pinpoint when Westminster turned its season around. It was Sept. 11, and the Owls upset then No. 1-ranked McDonogh, 3-2.

Coach Bryan Shumaker's crew had started 0-3 against current No. 1 John Carroll, Institute of Notre Dame, and Glenelg, and nothing indicated that things would get better against McDonogh. However, Westminster got two first-half goals and eventually won on Rachel Lindsay's goal in the second overtime.

The victory marked the first of what has become a four-game winning streak, with the Owls going for five straight tonight at home against Frederick.

The McDonogh game was one of those where one team does everything but win. The Baltimore County school took 41 shots, hit the crossbar four times, and the only time Westminster crossed midfield in overtime resulted in the winning goal.

"Their style is to disrupt you, and they just keep coming," McDonogh coach Maurice Boylan said of the Owls. "We're such an attacking team, we're vulnerable to a counter-attack. Westminster goes 40 yards at a clip -- two passes, a long ball, and they're on top of you. That wears you down."

He also pointed to the work of junior goalkeeper Amy Ridgley, who had 27 saves, one of them a penalty kick.

"She had a save in the first 30 seconds that set the tone for the game," he said. "She was outstanding.

The other day, Ridgley, a junior, explained her situation.

"I was the JV goalkeeper last year and knew I'd be the underdog coming in behind a senior, Amanda Cofflin. I went to a couple of PTC camps over the summer and really worked hard.

"I still need work on high balls, and cutting off angles," said the 5-foot-4 Ridgely, who is in her 10th year of soccer, half of them as a goalkeeper.

"The communication with the backs is good, because I knew them, and we work on this in practice."

Michelle Payne and Cathy Frame, two of the four seniors in the current starting lineup, recently cited home field and a lot of fan support, especially from the boys' soccer team, as contributing to the successful night against McDonogh. The support just keeps getting better.

Payne is a third-year varsity player, while Frame is in her second season. With JV experience, Frame had three coaches in three years. Now, Shumaker is providing stability and putting together a solid group.

"A lot of us worked with weights and ran over the summer, and now you can see it: Speed and strength are two of the things we have going for us," Payne said.

Added Frame: "Our knowing where to be and the anticipation of plays is getting better, too."

The acknowledged leader, however, is three-year starter Mandy Komar, a junior midfielder and an All-County choice last year. A player since she was 5, and, like others in the county, a member of a club team, as well as the Olympic Development Program, she sees improvement in her own skills, as well as those of the team.

"I'm more relaxed with the ball, and I see the field better," she said after her penalty kick beat South Carroll, 2-1, Tuesday night. "Overall, we're talking more and working more as a team than before."

Shumaker says of Komar, the Owls' top scorer with seven goals and three assists: "She has speed, size, field sense, and the ability to finish. She has the whole package."

"We don't have the same structure we had last year," the coach continued. "We're improving every game, and I like to think the best is still ahead."

Pub Date: 9/24/98

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