Passing makes her game complete Field hockey: Three-year varsity starter Stephanie Lawrence worked on her passing over the summer, adding another dimension to her offensive firepower for F. Scott Key.

October 18, 1998|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Stephanie Lawrence wanted something different from her senior field hockey season.

Lawrence had proved during her first two years on Francis Scott Key varsity that she could score. She started both years and compiled 19 goals and 12 assists.

The senior center-forward leads the team in scoring this fall with 11 goals and two assists. But while it may not reflect in her statistics, Lawrence's passing has elevated her game this fall and helped No. 5-ranked Francis Scott Key to a 9-1-1 record.

During the summer, she went to camps, worked by herself, and hooked up with senior line-mates Natalie Crabbs and Megan Straehle whenever possible. The effort paid off in a big way.

"Her stickwork has improved, and her passing to her teammates have improved," said Francis Scott Key coach Mindi Wagner. "Her reading of different players also has improved."

Lawrence has played on the varsity since her sophomore year. She contributed right away, scoring eight goals with four assists as a sophomore and adding 11 goals with eight assists when the Eagles moved up to Class 2A last year.

Each summer, she has attended camps to strengthen different parts of her game and even has attended with Crabbs and Straehle. This summer's camp was at James Madison University.

"I'm looking to play field hockey in college, so I'm looking to round out my game," said Lawrence. "I think [this year's success] is mostly because our forward line has played together for three years."

Lawrence said being able to keep playing with Crabbs and Straehle helps immensely.

Crabbs has six goals and six assists this season, and Straehle has added four goals and two assists. Each in the trio knows the others so well that they barely have to speak during games -- they can guess where they'll be going.

"It's like they've got a playbook," said Wagner.

Lawrence said the forward line has clicked even more this season than in the past few years, but she'd still like to play better herself.

"For the most part, I feel like I've played well but not as well as I could," said Lawrence. "But we've played well as a unit."

Opponents are having a tough time stopping the Eagles from getting the ball into the circle. When North Carroll handed Key its lone loss of the season, a 1-0 decision, the Eagles pressured the Panthers until the final gun. Key actually outshot North Carroll, 13-6, and kept the ball in the Panthers' end for nearly the entire second half.

"We can just move the ball up and down the field quicker," said Straehle. "We know where we are on the field."

That knowledge could come in handy during regional playoffs. Winning the region was almost commonplace for the Eagles when they were in Class 1A, but Key got a rude awakening to Class 2A last year. The Eagles lost, 5-0, to eventual state champion Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the early part of the region playoffs.

Lawrence said that loss stung her teammates, and they've worked hard to improve.

"Last year we were all disappointed that we didn't make it past regionals," said Lawrence. "We want to do better this year."

Regionals begin next week.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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