Teams at a glance

September 02, 1999|By Stan Rappaport

Atholton Raiders

1998 record: 2-13 overall, 1-8 league

Coach: Wendall Thomas

Classification: 2A

Top players: Katie Allen, Sr., D; Jessica Obst, Jr., G/D; Michelle McKenna, Jr., M; Laurie Beckman, Jr., F; Liz Shields, Jr., G/F.

Outlook: "I like this group," said Thomas, who is starting his fourth season. "It's a good bunch to work with." The Raiders have midfield speed they hope to turn into scoring chances. But they need some players to step up and finish. Shields will get most of the time in goal, allowing Obst to play defender. Also on defense will be sophomore Caitlin Kelley, a transfer from New Jersey. Others who will contribute include junior Ashley Wall (M), sophomore Jessica Behm (M), and sophomore Christen Pena-Ariet (F). "We've been working very hard, and we're hoping that our conditioning pays off," Thomas said. "The girls are working very well together, and they know they'll have to do that to have a successful season." Allen is the only senior.

Centennial Eagles

1998 record: 13-6 overall, 5-4 league

Coach: Mike Senisi

Classification: 2A

Top players: Erica Niemann, Jr., G; Alison Woods, Sr., M/D; Maggie Via, Sr., F; Carolyn Schmid, Jr., D; Samantha Test, Soph., M.

Outlook: The Eagles graduated four players who were instrumental in last year's playoff success that culminated with the Class 2A state title. Still, Senisi believes this year's squad has the same potential. "This team is capable of going as far if we all work together," Senisi said. And so far, so good. "We have a great combination of kids -- we're all on the same page," Senisi said. "Their attitude has been great, and everybody is working hard to get better each day. It's just a positive environment." Via (10 goals last season) is back after knee surgery, and junior forward Ashley Evans (five goals) and junior midfielder Caitlin Jenkins will contribute on offense. Niemann is one of the top goalies in the county and Schmid, a sweeper, came into her own in the playoffs. Marking backs Courtney McDonald, a junior, and senior Shelly Sinclair round out what Senisi believes is a solid defensive group.

Chapelgate Flames

1998 record: 5-8

Coach: Sarah Crown

Classification: IAAM

Top players: Courtney Holley, Jr., D; Jenny Kotting, Sr., M; Kristen Lynott, Soph., F; Jessica Holtrop, Fr., M.

Outlook: With seven sophomores and seven freshmen on an 18-player roster, the Flames, who will compete in the new Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference, are very young. Still, Crown, who has been with the program four years, the last two as head coach, said "this is is the strongest team we've had since I've been here." One reason is Chapelgate's bench. "We have so much depth this year," Crown said. "I feel comfortable putting anyone in there without losing a step." Crown said the players are "very dedicated and are working very hard." Four starters return, including Holley and Kotting, who will be captains. Also contributing will be freshmen twins Karin and Kim Yagel and freshman Ayme Ricketts and sophomore Susie Both. Ricketts and Both will share goaltending duties and also play forward.

Glenelg Gladiators

1998 record: 10-6 overall, 6-3 league

Coach: Mike Williams

Classification: 1A

Top players: Kelly Renfro, Sr., M; Jen Fields, Jr., F; Lindsay Lewis, Soph., M; Katie Kirley, Jr., F; Stephanie Howell, Sr., M; Melissa Wilder, Sr., M; Bibi Warfield, Sr., D; Layne Buckler, Sr., D; Amanda Strandquist, Sr., D.

Outlook: "Offensively, this is the best group I've ever had," said Williams, who is in his seventh season. "The big question for us is how we hold up in the back." Renfro (seven goals, two assists) and Fields (eight, 10) are the top returning scorers. The Gladiators, whose winning county record was the program's first since 1980, graduated their top defensive players -- All-County performers Lori Tvarkunas and goalie Jamie Epperlein. Senior Kristin Nairns, Epperlein's backup last season, will start this year, and senior Kelly Jones also will see playing time. "Both are great kids and have been working hard and supporting each other," said Williams. Glenelg returns nine players with starting experience. Renfro and Wilder are four-year starters, and Kirley, Howell, Warfield, Buckler and Strandquist are three-year starters. Lewis is a two-year starer. "We've got lots of experience and good team speed. I see us being competitive in every game," Williams said. Junior defenders Erin Edell and Stephanie Simpson also will contribute, as will freshman midfielder Chrissy Starcher. "Can we win the county title?" said Williams. "Yes, if we play well in the back."

Hammond Golden Bears

1998 record: 17-1-1 overall, 8-1 league

Coach: Pete Di Marco

Classification: 2A

Top players: Martha Bielefeld, Sr., M/D; Meg Tilley, Sr., M; Katie Fink, Sr., F; Melissa Workman, Soph., M; Jen Osborne, Soph., D.

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