Cameroon natives bring girls soccer to DuBois

Notebook

September 21, 2005|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Reporter

Solange Kengni and Marie Tamfu played soccer back in their native Cameroon, so when they arrived at W.E.B. DuBois as freshmen, they wanted play on their school team.

The only problem was that the school had no girls soccer team. Last year, Kengni and Tamfu decided to do something about that.

"The girls had been asking," DuBois athletic director Linda Mitchell-Holmes said. "I've been here three years, and the first year they weren't interested. Last year they said, `Can we start a team?' I said, `Sure.' "

For Kengni and Tamfu, who did not know each other in Cameroon, playing on their own team sure beats watching the boys team.

"Some schools have girls soccer, and that's my favorite sport," Kengni said. "We watched the boys, but we want to play. I just love it. It's so fun."

The Panthers will play an independent schedule of only four games this fall but will join the Baltimore City league next fall. Their first game was scheduled for yesterday against City.

Coach Levi Straight has a core of 10 everyday players as well as five part-time players. The 10 regulars are: Kengni, Tamfu, Kadisha Martin, Melissa Barnes, Eula Smith, Shenera West, Desiree Calo, Jackie Stenzel, Jessica Jenifer and Ugochi Nzeadigihibe.

For Straight, a math teacher at DuBois, the season's goals are to get the girls in better shape and playing as a team.

"Teamwork is a big thing," Straight said, "just kind of getting the feeling of being able to assert yourself and being able to direct teammates around, being able to take constructive criticism and work together."

Looking up to Western

Western's defending Baltimore City champion volleyball team has grown a lot this season thanks to two new players.

A pair of 6-foot-1 power hitters, Zhondria Benn and Taqwisha Richardson, give the Doves an added dimension. Benn, a senior better known as a basketball player, returns after a year off, and Richardson, a junior, is a transfer from North Carolina.

"The team was all shorties last year," said coach Monique Butler, with a laugh. "Our tallest player was Shannon [Lett], and she was the only one."

Lett and Valerie Johnson, at 5-10, along with Brooke Wilson, Janelle Carrington, Kelsie Thomas and Kedra Smith, all 5-9, make the Doves the tallest team in the city. That gives setter Shatera Kimbrough lots of options.

So far, the Doves have not been tested, but that will change Tuesday when they meet next-door neighbor Poly, their toughest competition.

As the Doves gear up for that match, Butler has been pleased with how the veterans and newcomers have meshed.

"They all want to play, they're willing to learn and they want to get better, so it makes my job easier," Butler said. "They listen to what I say and try to master all the skills. They don't want to be one-dimensional players."

Kicking off at Morgan

Over the next two weekends, Baltimore City public schools will play a pair of night games at Morgan State's football stadium, continuing a relationship with the university that began last year.

On Friday, Poly takes on Mervo at 6, folllowed by an 8 o'clock game featuring No. 8 Patterson against No. 3 Dunbar. The second game matches Patterson, a Class 4A state semifinalist last season, against defending Class 1A state champion Dunbar.

On Sept. 30, Carver meets Samuel Banks at 6 before City faces Forest Park at 8. City features Duke-bound wide receiver Sheldon Bell, while Forest Park has perhaps the city's top running back and special teams player in Alan Singletary.

Buchheister out

Mercy junior Karen Buchheister, a two-time All-Baltimore City performer in cross country, will miss the remainder of the season because of a stress fracture.

Magic coach Randy Fowler confirmed that Buchheister, who complained of numbness in her legs three weeks ago, was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her right femur last week.

Fowler said doctors told Buchheister that she could begin running in four to six weeks, but Fowler said he didn't want to risk further injury to Buchheister this fall.

"It's just one of those tough breaks," Fowler said of his team's No. 1 runner, who finished fourth at last year's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships. "I'm sure she's going to be blue, but hopefully, this will give her the desire to come back hard for her senior year."

Sun staff writers Edward Lee and Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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