Franklin finds soccer success is just relative

Sisters: Lindsay and Brandi Sproul are once-beaten Franklin's leading scorers, often combining on goals. The Indians benefit from their anticipation and versatility.

October 24, 1999|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Franklin girls soccer coach George Wagner has dubbed sisters Lindsay and Brandi Sproul his two restarts.

With Brandi taking corner kicks and Lindsay starting all other set plays, the Indians (6-1-4) average nearly two goals per game on restarts. Many of them are sister combinations.

"There's just a lot of body language that goes on," said Wagner. "They read each other real well and position themselves so that they're in position to get the scores. Playing with anticipation's half the game, and they do that well."

Twice this season, including Tuesday's 3-2 win over Eastern Tech, the two have accounted for all the Indians' goals in the game. Lindsay, a senior, leads the team with eight goals and seven assists, with sophomore Brandi second at six goals and four assists.

But their knack for scoring on set plays is just the beginning of their contribution to the Indians' success. The sisters, who have nine years of state-team Olympic Development Program experience between them, receive high marks from Wagner and from opposing coaches for their versatility.

Lindsay, an All-Baltimore City/County and honorable mention All-State sweeper, usually starts in the back but can move as far up as necessary. Brandi starts at center midfield and has also seen a little time as keeper.

"They can go anywhere, and that's hard to find," said Loch Raven coach Mike Parker, whose team tied the Indians, 1-1. "It was like those two were everywhere. It didn't matter where the ball was, one of them was always there."

Wagner considers himself fortunate to have the Sprouls on his team. Lindsay nearly defected to McDonogh -- twice. Had Lindsay gone, Brandi eventually would have followed.

As a junior, Lindsay spent a week of preseason at McDonogh before returning to Franklin. Although she could handle the intensity of the Eagles soccer program and she knew a lot of the players, Lindsay said she realized she would rather stay with her life-long friends at Franklin.

"There are so many memories you get out of high school, and there was no other group I wanted to share those memories with," she said. "I just couldn't find it in myself to leave everything I'd grown up with, not to mention my sister."

Brandi told Lindsay she would spend her freshman year at Franklin, and then if Lindsay was at McDonogh, she would transfer there, too. But when Lindsay stayed at Franklin, Brandi never considered leaving.

"I don't think I'd be happy there without her," said Brandi. "I definitely wanted to play with my sister, because this will probably be our only chance to play together."

Because they are two years apart, Lindsay and Brandi had always played on separate club teams. Although Brandi joined Lindsay at Franklin two years ago, this is the first year they have seen significant time together, because Brandi suffered multiple hairline fractures near one knee in the first game of her freshman season. She didn't come back until the season was almost over.

However, neither her injury nor Lindsay's multiple nagging injuries has slowed either one. Both are among the most intense, physical and aggressive as well as skilled players in Baltimore County.

Both likely could play a high level of Division I soccer, but neither is sure she wants to take that route. Last week between the Indians and their club teams, they each played eight games and had three practices in a span of seven days. When it comes time for college, they would like to slow down a bit -- especially since they are both leaning toward majoring in sports medicine, a demanding field of study.

"Soccer has done so much for me, but there is so much more out there," said Lindsay, who is in the midst of an internship at Hunt Valley Physical Therapy. "I've been to Sweden to play and I've had wonderful experiences on my club teams and my high school team, but I don't want to make it my life in college. I've grown up playing soccer, but there are other things I want to do."

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