Ziegler just couldn't stay away

Expected to be sidelined for season, senior is back in No. 6 Fallston's lineup

Notebook

High Schools

April 25, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Fallston senior Kim Ziegler was supposed to spend this softball season on the sideline, fulfilling her role as one of the team's captains and helping out the coaching staff when called upon.

A partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, sustained during an indoor field hockey game this winter, was supposedly too much for Ziegler to play through, and Fallston coach Pam Gauss had all but written off having the four-year starter at shortstop in the lineup for the season.

Ziegler, however, has made a surprising return.

Though surgery wasn't necessary, extensive therapy was - all so Ziegler would be ready for field hockey practice this summer as a freshman at the University of Maryland, where she is on scholarship.

But watching games and practices from the bench proved too much for Ziegler to bear.

"I did what I could to help them, but it was so straining on me," said Ziegler, a two-time All-Metro field hockey player. "Being on this team for the past three years, it was hard to not be out there."

Two weeks ago and after two months of therapy that got her to the point where she "didn't feel a thing" in her knee, Ziegler surprised Gauss with a doctor's note, approving the senior's participation in the sport. Ziegler was in the lineup that weekend when the Cougars went 1-1 at the Cavalier Classic, hosted by Archbishop Spalding.

"I made the example that she's like a puppy and you have to hold her back on a leash, but if you let her go, she's going to take off," said Gauss, whose team is 11-1 and ranked sixth. "I've never seen a student-athlete push herself as much as she does. She is used to being out there and she wants to be out there."

Ziegler is hitting .538 over four games and providing her usual spark in the Cougars' potent lineup, while still occupying a vocal leadership role for Fallston.

"You don't realize what you're missing until she's back," Gauss said. "It's just the little things, the talking on the field, cheering girls when we're doing sprints."

Defensively, Ziegler, who has been forced to adjust to a bulky brace on her knee, has shifted from shortstop to first base, which requires less lateral movement and Gauss hopes eases some of the pressure on her knee.

"I'm not back at shortstop, where I'd like to be to finish my senior season where I started it, but it's just exciting to be out there with the girls," Ziegler said. "I realize I've been All-County all three years and I probably won't have enough at-bats to get it this year, but that's all right. I just want to be out there, having fun with the rest of the team."

A learning experience

Ever since an 8-7, double-overtime loss to C. Milton Wright last season, the North Harford girls lacrosse team was looking forward to the rematch with the Mustangs.

When it arrived on Tuesday in Pylesville, the Hawks looked ready, jumping out to a 6-3 first-half lead before watching the fifth-ranked Mustangs ride two of their top players, Christina Frank and Kadie Stamper, and lean on their experience to notch a 9-7 win. It was C. Milton Wright's 50th straight victory over county opposition.

Though his team felt it had let an opportunity to unseat the six-time county champion Mustangs slip away, Hawks coach Greg Murrell, last year's Harford County Coach of the Year, took some solace in the loss, and chalked up the game to a learning experience for his young team, which is still learning how to win against some of the area's better teams.

"I think it was a lack of big-game experience," said Murrell, whose team is 6-3, also surrendering a two-goal lead in a near upset of No. 6 Severna Park. "[C. Milton Wright] is very experienced, and they do a nice job of putting pressure on you and forcing turnovers. As much as you want to win, they're a quality team, and you really can't feel too bad about losing to a quality team."

Patriots flying high

The John Carroll boys lacrosse team is making its defense of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title look rather easy.

The No. 13 Patriots are 8-0, and they have done it with balanced scoring.

In a 14-5 victory over Sts. Peter & Paul on Thursday, 10 Patriots scored, led by senior Liam Gettier's four goals and junior Brett Leppert's two. Two days earlier, John Carroll routed St. John's-Prospect Hall, 15-3, as 11 players tallied, paced by four goals from Gettier and a pair from junior Dane Frank.

Twelve Patriots found the net in last week's 16-4 triumph over Key, with Leppert (four goals), Gettier (three goals), Ryan Sarigianis and William Boniface leading the way.

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