1998 Howard County field hockey teams

November 25, 1998|By Stan Rappaport

Coach of the Year

Laurie Donnelly, Wilde Lake: From 1994 through 1996, the Wildecats won a total of eight games. This year, Wilde Lake came close to its first winning season since 1993, finishing 7-8. "I feel like we accomplished a lot as far as physical endurance and physical readiness for games," said Donnelly, who coached the Wildecats' JV team for two years before taking over the varsity program this year. "I especially worked on a team concept, where the team is important and it doesn't matter if you play a certain amount of minutes or you score a certain amount of goals. I'm very proud that all of them were able to, in the long run, overcome the individualism that's taken place the past few years." Donnelly also stressed fundamentals, and it paid off as the team continued to improve. "We lost our first game of the year to Catonsville, 3-1, and lost to them again in the playoffs, 1-0," Donnelly said. "Their coach was remarkably impressed with the amount of improvement we had made during the season." The Wildecats, who defeated eventual state champion Fallston, 1-0, early in the season, "accomplished a lot," Donnelly said. "We made a lot of improvement this season, but there's still work to be done." Donnelly, who played basketball and lacrosse at the University of Maryland and officiated high school and college field hockey for 20 years, expects between 15 and 20 players to attend a summer camp. "The enthusiasm is there." Donnelly said. "I think we're on a roll in the right direction."

Player of the Year

Liz Kurpe, Centennial, senior, midfield: "Liz got it done for us," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell. "She came through for us in some big games, offensively and defensively." Kurpe finished with four goals and three assists. Two of her goals were game-winners in overtime -- against Hammond and, on a penalty stroke, against River Hill. Defensively, she often marked the opponent's top player. "She always came through for us," Purcell said. "She was a spark for us, and she could also get her teammates motivated to step up." Kurpe has "very refined stick skills," said Purcell, that allowed her to do many things on the field. "She was an initiator on transition. She could redirect or carry, whichever she needed to do." A member of the Futures program, Kurpe, along with teammate Melissa Dugan, coached a field hockey middle school team. She also works during the summer for the Howard County Department of Recreation on its field hockey camp staff.

First team at a glance

Lorin Cahill, Howard, senior, forward: Cahill improved considerably from a year ago. "Her good stick skills along with her speed made her hard to defend. And she is very aggressive," said Howard coach Lisa Crecher. Cahill always had the speed, but this year improved her skills to become more of a threat. "She was a different player," Brecher said. "She was more confident and was so much more effective." A team captain, Cahill led the Lions' attack with 10 goals.

Katie Jeschke, Mount Hebron, junior, forward: ward: A repeat first-team selection, Jeschke had a Howard County-high 16 goals and added two assists. "She has good stick skills and is a great finisher in the circle," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland. Jeschke, a receiver on penalty corners, has a strong, accurate shot and her solid stickwork allows her to control the ball and dribble through defenses.

Kristen Lorch, Long Reach, senior, forward: ward: A fierce competitor, Lorch led the Lightning attack with 11 goals and eight assists. "Her biggest assets are her strength and speed, and her really, really hard shots," said Long Reach coach Kelly Snyder. Lorch, who scored three goals in a playoff victory over Howard, was a good role model for the younger players on the forward line, said Snyder.

Jessica Manzone, Centennial, senior, forward: ward: A three-year starter, Manzone led the Eagles with nine goals and three assists. She scored twice against Glenelg and Oakland Mills. "She initiated the attack in the circle," said coach Gail Purcell, who added that Manzone was good scoring off transition as well as a rebound off the goalie's pad. Another strength is Manzone's vision. "She sees the field very well," Purcell said. "She can find the open person and distribute the ball."

Mandy Schroeder, Hammond, senior, forward: ward: "She scored key goals at key times," said Hammond coach Gay Petrlik. "We've been waiting for her to do that and she did this year." Schroeder led the team in goals with nine, and added five assists. "She came into her own in shooting this year," Petrlik said. A good leader, Schroeder has "excellent drives into the circle."

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