Atholton girls sail past expectations

Raiders surprise all with 5 straight wins for 7-4-1 soccer mark


High schools

October 17, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec and Rick Belz | Jeff Zrebiec and Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Throughout the season, Atholton girls soccer coach Nancy Shea has maintained that the Raiders, a team loaded with juniors, are still a year away from being a prime contender.

That still may be so, but outside of River Hill, the Raiders are hotter than anyone in the county right now. Entering today's game against Hammond, Atholton has won five straight to improve its record to 7-4-1, 6-2 in the county.

"In the beginning, we were just trying to learn a new system," Shea said. "We finally have figured out what we want to do. We try to play to our strength, which is our defense."

The Raiders have been buoyed by junior goalie E.J. Goldman, a second-team All-County selection last year, and junior sweeper Stacy Grenier, an Olympic Development Program player.

Goldman has been spectacular, recording four shutouts, and Grenier has stabilized a defense that lost three starters from last year's team.

Sophomore Melinda Petre and junior Tessa Laidig lead the team offensively with four goals apiece, while eight other Raiders have scored.

Piece of the prize

Last Friday's 2-0 win over previously undefeated Centennial, coupled with Tuesday's 5-1 victory over Mount Hebron, clinched at least a share of the county girls soccer crown for top-ranked River Hill.

A win today over Glenelg would assure the Hawks (11-0, 8-0) of the outright title. If River Hill loses, Centennial (10-1-2, 7-1), which edged Wilde Lake, 1-0, in overtime on Monday on sophomore Hailey Siegel's goal - its first victory over the Wildecats in its last four tries - can gain a share of the title by beating Atholton next Tuesday.

It is the Hawks' fifth county crown in the last six years.

"It's not a whole lot different this year than it's been in the past," said Hawks coach Joan Kelso Smedley. "I do think we're a little more mature and the girls make it work when they need to."

The Hawks remain a favorite to win their fourth straight Class 3A state title. One of the teams River Hill may have to go through is Urbana, which they could meet in the state semis. The two teams play in a possible playoff preview at home on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Last year, Urbana dealt River Hill one of its two losses.

Dutch heading north

Mount Hebron senior Lindsay Dutch verbally committed to Penn State to play lacrosse this week. Dutch, also on the soccer team, is a four-year starter for the Vikings' lacrosse team and a part of three state championships.

Other committed Vikings are Kristen Waagbo (Duke), Maria Bosica (James Madison) and Karen Long (Penn State).

Hanging on

Who could have blamed the Hammond volleyball team if it felt a little snake-bitten at the start of the season?

Already set for a rebuilding year due to the graduation of eight seniors, the Golden Bears lost two of their most experienced and talented players, April Hiller and Megan MacKenzie, in the preseason to freak injuries suffered while each was on vacation.

Then there was an unbalanced schedule that had the Golden Bears playing conference powers Glenelg, River Hill and Centennial - all top five teams at the start of the season - twice each.

"I figured we were 0-6 to start the season," said coach Ken McLaughlin. "It's been up and down. ... We're playing better defensively and we're understanding where we're supposed to be a little more now, but the barometer is when you play these better teams."

Hammond, which lost to No. 9 River Hill in four games on Tuesday, will play No. 8 Centennial today, No. 2 Glenelg on Monday and No. 4 Arundel on Oct. 28.

The Golden Bears have won three of their last five to improve their record to 4-7 overall, 3-6 in the county.

Hiller returned from a knee injury and is one of the team's best passers. Hitters Alisha Sanford, Jessica Friedheim and Alisha Sanford and setter Jessica Swantko also have played well.

Down to the wire

The next five days likely will decide which two teams will play in the county championship volleyball match. Set for Oct. 30 at the site of the opposite seed, the match will pit the two teams with the highest winning percentages.

At 9-0 in the county, No. 2 Glenelg appears a lock for one of the spots, while the other one will likely go to either Centennial or Mount Hebron. The Eagles (8-1) and Vikings (7-2) will play on Monday. Centennial also has a rematch against Glenelg tomorrow night at Centennial.

Vikings win second game

The season has been a disappointing one for the Mount Hebron football team, which won just its second game last week, 17-14 over Hammond.

The Vikings, who won't play this week's game against Northwestern of Prince George's County because of the sniper shootings in the Washington area, were hurt by the loss of Maurice Workman to a broken collarbone in the first game of the season against Long Reach.

Northwestern is 4-1, ranked No. 14 in the state and is the second-best team in Prince George's County behind Suitland.

Behind 262 all-purpose yards from Steve Bloom, and a game-winning field goal from Brian Knight, the Vikings tried to start a season-salvage project last week at Hammond.

Knight, whose missed extra point cost the Vikings in a 27-26 overtime loss to Howard the previous week, redeemed himself with a 27-yard field goal against the Golden Bears just before halftime.

Top boys soccer scorers

Marco Filipponi of Wilde Lake and Josh Burford of Glenelg are tied for the most goals scored this season with 12 apiece. But Filipponi's goals have come in nine games and Burford has played 12 games. Both players also have four assists.

Justin Hughes of River Hill leads in total points with seven goals and 11 assists.

Randy Collins of Centennial is among the leaders with nine goals and six assists.

Sevi Sinanian of Mount Hebron has eight goals and four assists.

And Kwaku Boateng of Hammond has eight goals and four assists. He scored four of those goals in one game against Oakland Mills.

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