Soccer steals Napolitano away from Mt. Hebron

ODP championships to keep point guard from second River Hill game


February 09, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Julie Napolitano, the starting point guard on Mount Hebron's fourth-ranked girls basketball team, will miss next week's game against second-ranked River Hill because she will be in Arizona with the Maryland Olympic Development Program soccer team.

Napolitano, a sophomore, averages 4.3 points and has 69 steals, 24 more than Annie Collins, who is second. Napolitano is a tenacious defensive player, and has become more confident on offense.

"I'd be lying if I said we weren't going to miss her," said Mount Hebron coach Scott Robinson. "She's had a great impact on the team this year."

River Hill (17-0 overall, 13-0 league) handed the Vikings their only loss of the season, 57-37, Jan. 14 at River Hill. Napolitano was in foul trouble much of the game, and eventually fouled out.

Napolitano, who recently made the under-16 national soccer team, is a member of the state under-16 ODP team that won the Region 1 title last summer and will play for the national ODP championship in Phoenix, Feb. 17-21. The soccer team is leaving next Thursday morning, the same day Mount Hebron (16-1, 12-1) will play host to River Hill.

"As coaches we wanted her to do both. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way," Robinson said. "We have a lot of depth and a lot of confidence in the other girls on the team. They'll have to step it up a notch, and I'm confident that we can do that."

Napolitano wanted to play the basketball game and then take a later flight to Phoenix. But those plans couldn't be made.

"I was just put in a bad situation and it didn't turn out," Napolitano said. "Obviously I'm disappointed, but I have faith in my team and I think they'll step up and get the job done."

Last week, an incident caused Glenelg varsity players Chrissy Starcher, Stephanie Simpson and Becky Simpson to leave the team. Starcher, a freshman who was averaging 5.8 points and a team-high 3.4 assists, decided not to return. Stephanie, a junior, and Becky, a freshman, returned to practice Monday after missing three games.

Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar did not disclose what led to the players leaving, but did say all three had the opportunity to return.

Stephanie Simpson, a starting guard, said she and her sister "just took some time to put everything in perspective." She added that "things were real positive [Monday] in practice."

Lesikar, who brought up freshman guard Jessica Young from the JV, called the situation "unfortunate," but added "in the long run this will make us a much tighter unit."

Long Reach defeated Hammond, 59-53, last Friday at Hammond, earning the Lightning (1-16, 1-12) its first victory. Tina Rezaiyan had a career-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, and the Lightning made 12 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter.

`We finally showed everybody how we're capable of playing," Rezaiyan said.

Michelle Lake scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter, including two late free throws.

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