Under-19 players step up game

Waagbo, Allen, Reese, Stanwick gain lessons from U.S. training team


Girls Lacrosse

High schools

Spring preview

March 21, 2003|By Katherine Dunn and Edward Lee | Katherine Dunn and Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

As an All-Metro attacker who has helped No. 1 Mount Hebron win a state title every year of her high school career, Kristen Waagbo already plays lacrosse at a pretty high level.

But the senior's game has jumped another notch after working with the U.S. Under-19 training team, the pool of 24 players vying for positions on the squad that will compete at the 2003 International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations Under-19 World Championship from June 26 to July 6 at Towson University.

"Everyone shines being around players who are just as good or better than they are," said Waagbo. "It just gives me a lot more confidence knowing I played with such great players."

In addition to Waagbo, Hereford's Jessica Allen and Mollie Reese, Notre Dame Prep's Coco Stanwick, Severn's Jess Adam and Schuyler Sutton and Severna Park goalie Brooke Shinnaberry were selected to the training team in August.

Over Presidents Day weekend, the team headed for Orlando, Fla., for intense training under the eye of head coach Wendy Kridel, the Bryn Mawr coach who also guided the U.S. team to victory in the last Under-19 world championship in Australia in 1999.

Sutton said the players, who hail from seven states and Washington, D.C., got along so well that they sometimes forgot they were competing for only 16 spots on the final team.

"Everyone just loves lacrosse," said Sutton. "Everyone has the same desire to win. We felt a real connection knowing everyone feels the same. There was a moment there when the coaches said, `You know you're competing for a spot,' and we were like, `Yeah.' It's hard to think that way because everyone is so supportive."

Kridel and her staff will have the difficult job of cutting the final roster to 16 girls over Memorial Day weekend.

"It's going to be tough to make those final cuts," said Kridel. "They're good and they really like each other. It's very hard to find consistent weaknesses and to try to eliminate kids from that. A lot of it is going to come down to what we're perceiving as their chemistry."

Ruling the roost

A couple of rules changes take effect this season, but coaches are nearly unanimous in their support of them.

Goalies will no longer be able to stall by repeatedly dumping the ball in the crease and going in after it. As they did before, goalies have 10 seconds to get the ball out of the crease, but now, they may not re-enter the crease until someone else plays the ball, said Sue Diffenderffer, the rules interpreter for the state girls lacrosse tournament.

"Now you can go mark her and that forces her to do something," said Diffenderffer.

The old way had been used most effectively as a stall tactic on the college level.

"All these rule changes are the result of someone abusing something that's understood," said Notre Dame Prep coach Mary Bartel. "I have a real problem with a five-minute stall where the goalie keeps rolling the ball in and getting it. I have no problem with the change. It'll be good for the game.

Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes agreed: "Goalkeepers will have to become more adept at clearing the ball."

The other change, in the interest of safety, allows only four players from each team around the circle on the draw. With everybody else behind the restraining line, possession should be cleaner, said Diffenderffer.

"I love that," said Mount Hebron coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland. "There were too many girls up there and it became kind of like rugby, it becomes a scrum. Now, it's strategic for us, who we put on the circle, and that can really help us on the fast break."

Wilde Lake coach Cheryl Lee, however, doesn't like the change.

"I could do without that rule," said Lee. "This rule and the rule about the goal lines being 12 meters clear of any obstructions - both seem to be changing this game into fast-break lacrosse."

Familiar faces

When Katie Marks and her Centennial team visit Long Reach on April 8, Marks will see a familiar face on the Lightning sidelines: her sister's.

Andie Marks is the first-year coach for Long Reach, a program that is trying to find its footing among the giants in Howard County.

Marks was a defender for Glenelg and Lynchburg (Va.) College. Katie Marks, two years older than her sister, also played defense for Mount Hebron and Hofstra.

But the two never met on the lacrosse field and didn't think they would until Andie Marks replaced Denise Furtaw.

"It's going to be very weird," Marks said of facing her older sister. "She's my best friend, so it's going to be strange going against each other."

Katie Marks said a little trash talking might be exchanged in the days leading up to the game, but she said it wouldn't get out of hand.

"I think it will be a fair game," said Marks, whose birthday falls on the date of the game. "You need to play the game and stay focused, but at the same time, I want to enjoy the moment because it's really special."

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