Aberdeen standing tall in drive for title

Unbeaten Fallston boys next up for soccer team


High Schools

October 12, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Asked two months ago about his team's chances for the coming boys soccer season, Aberdeen coach Matt Roberts didn't predict the Eagles would win a county title, but he did say confidently that the Eagles should impact the county race.

Looking back on it now, Roberts may have been selling his team a little short.

The Eagles have rebounded nicely from a 5-8-1 season in 2002 to go 9-2 this season, including two 1-0 victories over Bel Air and North Harford -- both teams that harbored county title aspirations.

A 2-0 loss to C. Milton Wright on Monday did damage the Eagles' own title hopes, but Aberdeen will get another chance to make a difference when it plays tomorrow at Fallston, which is undefeated in the county.

"Obviously, we need some help now, but like I said in the beginning, we can still impact this," said Roberts, whose team has benefited from scoring balance and a more favorable schedule than last year. "We're not done yet."

Henry Campbell leads the Eagles with 11 goals, Justin Bays has 10 and Zach Grubb, who is primarily playing sweeper for Aberdeen, has nine.

Aberdeen, which is experimenting this year with the schedule that it will play next year in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic League, is also getting solid seasons from goalkeeper Mike Gillis and defenders Justin Morgan and Adam Vencill.

O'Brien retiring

In his last year as athletic director at John Carroll, Jerry O'Brien is getting plenty of satisfaction from the success the Patriots' boys and girls volleyball teams and girls soccer team are enjoying.

And why not?

When O'Brien became the athletic director at the Bel Air private school in 1973, the boys and girls volleyball team and the girls soccer team didn't exist.

In fact, John Carroll didn't have boys and girls swimming, girls indoor and outdoor track, softball, rugby and water polo programs like it does now, either.

The addition of those programs, along with overseeing the Patriots' move to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association for boys' teams and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland for girls, are a few of the highlights for O'Brien in his 30 years on the job.

"I have enjoyed interacting with fellow athletic directors, coaching, working with kids and seeing the program grow," said O'Brien, 64, who told school officials last year that the 2003-04 academic year would be his final year at the school.

O'Brien, who teaches Latin at John Carroll, said he will move to Ocean Pines and looks forward to playing golf and spending more time with his wife of 42 years, Janet O'Brien, his three kids and his four grandchildren.

County races

Evan Minarik and Eric Burdon scored, giving Fallston a 2-0 victory over host North Harford on Friday and tightening the Cougars' grip on the top spot of the boys soccer standings.

Fallston is 4-0 in the county, but plays Bel Air, fresh off a 1-0 victory on Friday over C. Milton Wright on Tuesday.

All three of those teams still have county title hopes: Aberdeen is 3-1, Bel Air is 5-1 and C. Milton Wright is 4-1 against county opposition.

In girls soccer, Bel Air, C. Milton Wright and Fallston all have undefeated county records, and North Harford, which suffered its first lost Friday, a 2-1 setback to Fallston, is 8-1-1 overall and 4-1 in league.

There should be significant change in those records this week. Tomorrow, Bel Air plays host to C. Milton Wright, and on Wednesday, Bel Air is at Fallston and North Harford is at C. Milton Wright.

With a 1-0 victory over C. Milton Wright on Wednesday, thanks to a Lindsey Mueller goal, the Fallston field hockey team is in the driver's seat to capture the 17th county championship in coach Alice Puckett's 21-year tenure.

C. Milton Wright and Edgewood, who play on Oct. 21, are the only two teams left with unblemished county records in girls volleyball.

Bell finds end zone

While Bel Air wide receiver Adam Berry gets much of the attention in the Bobcats' passing game, it's getting harder and harder to overlook receiver Willie Bell.

Bell, who caught four Andrew Berry passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the Bobcats' 28-7 win over Fallston on Friday night, has scored caught touchdown passes in four of Bel Air's five games, including three straight.

For the season, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound junior, who doubles as a linebacker, has 15 catches for 224 yards and five touchdowns.

"He's got great hands and he finds the opening in the field," said Bobcats coach Bruce Riley. "Fallston was paying a lot of attention to Adam and Willie did a great job finding the open spot."

Golf mark

When North Harford's Katey Bertier and C. Milton Wright's Samantha Rumbley shot 97s in Thursday's Harford County Golf Championships at Ruggles Golf Course at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, they became the first two county females to shoot state tournament qualifying scores.

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