Already in midseason form, North Carroll blanks Key, 4-0

No. 14 Panthers score 3 goals in first 14 minutes behind Slessinger, Engel

Field hockey

September 07, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Field hockey season may only be three days old, but North Carroll already looks like a team to be reckoned with.

The No. 14-ranked Panthers scored three goals in the opening 14 minutes and were dominating in a 4-0 victory over No. 11 Francis Scott Key yesterday in a Carroll County league game in Hampstead.

Senior forward Melanie Slessinger had two goals and an assist and junior forward Lisa Engel added three assists for North Carroll (2-0, 1-0 county), which opened with a 7-1 rout of Catoctin. The Panthers, who returned four of 11 starters from last season, outshot the Eagles, 13-0, and earned nine penalty corners to just two for Key (1-1, 0-1).

"These kids have worked so hard these past three weeks to get ready for the season." North Carroll coach Denean Koontz said. 'We have a young defense, so we've been concentrating a lot on that the last couple of weeks. It was nice to see that it has paid off."

Slessinger put the Panthers ahead just 92 seconds into the game when she knocked in a pass from fellow senior captain Christa Obriecht.

Seven minutes later, Slessinger scored her second of the afternoon after taking a magnificent feed from Engel. Five minutes later, Engel set up Slessinger, who then found junior Pam Allen to make it 3-0.

"We play real well together." said Slessinger of herself and Engel. "She's always there for me if I have a crossover, and I'm always there for her."

Said Engel: "I feel good about [the combination], because I work really well with people."

With slightly less than seven minutes remaining, Engel notched her third assist on a feed to senior forward Shannan Carl, who belted a shot inside the weak post from a near impossible angle. Engel now has two goals and three assists in two games, and Slessinger has four goals and three assists.

"They're a good combination up top." Koontz said. "But it starts with the defense. I think we also need to give a lot of credit to our midfield, because they create the offense and they anchor our defense."

The result was disappointing for a Key team that returned just three starters from last year, but started the season with a 2-1 victory over Urbana.

"We knew it was going to be tough, but we didn't bring our "A" game with us today." Key coach Alison Weiss said. "It was not the team that I knew. We started off real slow and got off to that quick disadvantage. But then I thought my girls played great for the rest of the first half and the second half when we were able to shut them down and hold them to only one goal."

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