Senior-laden Hammond pursues title aspirations Golden Bears face 'thorn' in key county game today

Girls soccer

October 09, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The last time Hammond won a Howard County championship, most of its starters this fall were 4 years old.

The Golden Bears won state titles in 1989 and 1991 but only once, in 1985, did they win a county title. This year's senior-laden team has the talent and chemistry to produce its second county title.

"They realize there are no superstars and that they have to work hard for each other," said Hammond coach Peter Di Marco. "They're doing that."

Eighth-ranked Hammond (6-0-1 overall, 3-0 league) faces 11th-ranked Centennial (6-2, 3-0) at 3: 15 p.m. today in a game that will help decide the county champion. Tenth-ranked River Hill (6-2, 3-0), the defending county champion, is the league's only other unbeaten team.

"Centennial has been a thorn in our back," said Di Marco. "We lost twice to them last year [3-1 and 1-0 in playoffs]. Both of those games were there. This year's game is at home."

"What happened last year doesn't mean anything," said Centennial coach Mike Senisi. "They have more experience this year and are playing well."

The Golden Bears graduated four seniors, including three starters, from last year's team that finished 8-8 overall and 6-3 in the league. Hammond, the only county team to top River Hill last fall, hurt itself with inconsistent play.

This year's team, which has 12 seniors, eight of them starters, has played well from the start. The Golden Bears have outscored opponents 32-1 and are getting significant contributions from everyone. In their 9-0 victory Tuesday over Atholton, eight players scored.

Michelle Jenkins and Meg Tilley each have five goals and three assists for Hammond. Martha Bielefeld has four goals and three assists, followed by Monica Serianni (three, four) Jen Hendin (four, two) and Jenny Jones (three, three).

The Hammond defense is led by Lindsey Mitchell, one of the county's two top goalkeepers. Sophomore Sarah Walker starts at right fullback, with seniors Kelly Workman (left fullback), Lauren Traber (sweeper) and Brita Grothe (stopper). Grothe, who missed last season because of an injury, has made a big difference.

"The whole team is playing well," Di Marco said. "This is a great team right now."

After a 1-2 start, Centennial has won six straight.

"We're playing well, but we can always play a little better," Senisi said. "We'll play our game [against Hammond] and see what we can do. I'm just looking to get better each game. That's our main focus."

Maggie Via, a junior up from the JV, leads the Eagles with seven goals, followed by Jane Williams (five), Alexia Vogler (four) and Ashley Evans (two).

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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