Girls soccer team scores national title


February 15, 2002|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT WAS A hard-fought battle for the St. Jane Knights girls under-13 soccer team at the Got Milk? 3v3 Soccer Shootout last month in Florida. But when the final whistle was blown, the Pasadena girls had captured the national championship in their division.

They soon had milk mustaches to go along with their title.

The Got Milk? 3-on-3 tournament requires players to combine many offensive and defensive positions that would usually be covered by a much larger team in a regular soccer game. Players must be versatile and have good communication skills to win this fast-paced game.

The Knights team roster was: Brittany Hadaway, 13, a student at Chesapeake Bay Middle School; Rebecca Miller, 13, from George Fox Middle School; Kristen Milligan, 13, from Chesapeake Bay Middle; Hallie Thomas, 13, also from Chesapeake Bay Middle; and Julianne Sylvester, from St. Jane Frances School.

The team is coached by Trish Pappas, a veteran in the St. Jane soccer program.

The team began its quest back in June at a tournament in Columbia, where it qualified to move on to the next level of competition, the Northeast regional contest in New Jersey in August. There, they won the right to be part of the nationally sponsored event in Florida.

It was the second year in a row that the Knights had qualified for the Florida tournament. Last year, they made it to the semifinals.

The Knights were one of 900 teams traveling to the Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando to compete this year. The field in the girls 13-and-under category included 19 teams from all over the United States. The team faced eight opponents over the weekend - five on Saturday and three on Sunday - to win the title.

Keeping the team focused on playing in the Florida sunshine with the distraction of Disney World nearby was a potential problem for Pappas and the parent chaperones on the trip. The outcome proved otherwise, though.

"I thought that if they worked together, like they did in the past, that we had a good chance at winning," Pappas said. "I didn't want them to play to please me but to please themselves. They had to decide that winning was really what they wanted and then do it."

Other Maryland teams winning national titles in the Got Milk? 3v3 tournament include the Bel Air Outlaws, girls 17 and under; the Ocean City Waves, boys 17 and under; the Maryland Spirit, girls 16 from Ocean City; and the Salisbury Strikers, boys 10 and under.

The winning teams received plaques. And the players had their pictures taken - with milk moustaches, of course.

A renewed challenge

Any sharp middle school teacher knows the secret to motivating sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. Don't ask. Don't demand. Just place the challenge in front of them and dare them to do it.

That is exactly what County Councilwoman Shirley Murphy and a panel of local business leaders did last year with much success. Now, they are bringing back their MSPAP Incentive Program - and expanding it.

Last year, Murphy and the Business Advisory Board for Pasadena Schools challenged local middle school pupils to raise their grades by at least one letter, in three academic subjects, during the third marking period. The payoff for the kids was a catered luncheon held at Kurtz's Beach, where a cadre of politicians and board of education officials served the students. A select group of middle-schoolers enjoyed a limousine ride to the luncheon for raising grades in all four academic subjects.

To Murphy's astonishment, almost 200 children from Chesapeake Bay, George Fox and Marley middle schools increased their grades and were feted at the luncheon.

The program was designed to help the schools raise their scores on the MSPAP test. This year, the program has been expanded: Students who have perfect attendance or straight A's are eligible for one of two luncheons.

The rules are the same. Grades earned from Feb. 4 through April 11 count in the contest. Students who raise their grades in that period will be treated to a Hawaiian Luau luncheon on May 7.

Students who make the Principal's Honor Roll for earning straight A's during the third marking period and pupils with perfect attendance for the year will eat at another luau on May 28.

As an added incentive, students who qualify in more than one way will arrive in style at the luncheon - in a stretch limousine.

Sorry, kids, you can qualify for only one luncheon.

The challenge has been issued. Now let's see if they can do it again this year.

Information: 410-222-6890.

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