Bluebirds' fair-weather forecaster

Healthy Sadowski keeps Kenwood girls soccer rolling

Overlea field hockey turnaround is a winner



Think of Christine Sadowski as the weather girl for Kenwood's fifth-ranked girls soccer team.

"She's a barometer for how our team does," said Bluebirds coach Derek Woodward, of his center midfielder. "She controls things for us. When she's on, we're on, and when she's not, we're not."

As the Bluebirds get ready for their regional playoff opener, Sadowski's dials all point to fair winds and smooth sailing.

"Technically and tactically, she's just a well-rounded player. She just sees things on the field that other kids don't see," said Woodward, who also coaches Sadowski on the Baltimore Bays club team.

Most importantly, the junior has remained healthy after missing the latter part of the previous two seasons. Both times, the Bluebirds survived the loss of high-scoring Ashley Singer, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament each season, but when Sadowski sat with a twisted ankle as a freshman and a nagging calf-muscle injury last season, Kenwood didn't fare so well.

"The last two years when she went down injured, the team took a fall as well and went into a slump," Woodward said.

On Oct. 1, Sadowski suffered a hairline wrist fracture against Patapsco but has not missed a game as the Bluebirds improved to 9-1-2.

Sadowski has seven goals and five assists, including the game-winner against Patapsco and the tying goal against defending county champ Eastern Tech. In three years, she has contributed 25 goals and 24 assists.

Falcons flying high

Overlea's field hockey team is reveling in its first winning season in at least 15 years.

The Falcons polished off the regular season at 8-2-1, winning eight games for the first time in the program's history.

The celebration will have to wait a bit as the Falcons prepare for Tuesday's regional playoff game, but they have already turned around a program that won only three games last season and none the previous year.

"They didn't win any games for years before that," third-year coach Jenna Zava said. "The most amazing feature was to see the kids all of a sudden take things seriously. Last year when they lost, they didn't care that much. This year when we lost, they were throwing things."

The team spins around center midfielder Amanda DeMoine, whose skill and athletic ability allow her to control transition. Paulisa Brown leads a defense that has shut out six opponents and allowed only nine goals.

Top scorer Farran Chestnut has 12 goals and three assists, followed by Melissa Ortiz with five of each. Jackie Marino has four goals and four assists, and Megan Tudor has contributed five assists from the midfield.

While this team has come together in victory, they have also bonded through adversity.

Last fall, they watched as teammate Megan Finn collapsed during practice and Zava saved her life by performing CPR. Finn, who was found to suffer from a rare heart muscle ailment, recovered. Although she cannot play hockey any more, she remains part of the team as a manager.

"That day, they witnessed a horrific thing that, thankfully, had a great outcome," Zava said. "These kids have seen something that not a lot of people will ever see in their whole lives, and that makes them view field hockey in a whole different light. It really brought them together."

Gators' glory

Perry Hall posted a 10-1 record in Baltimore County, good for a finish among the top three boys soccer teams in Division I.

The Gators, of first-year coach Rick Ulmer, outscored their opposition, 30-5, with six shutouts, their only loss being 1-0 to division rival Patapsco.

Senior keeper Dan Alleman and senior sweeper Justin McGrath have been the defensive mainstays, with senior striker Andrew Gillis (12 goals, six assists) leading the offense.

"You get a striker like [Gillis] every 10 years. He can really find the back of the net," said first-year coach Rick Ulmer, 66. "[McGrath] may be the hardest working player I've ever coached. He does nothing at half-speed."

Other key players are senior strikers Dino Kelis (five goals, four assists) and Chris Bock (four, six), defenders Tim Kirk, a junior, and sophomores Josh Spivey and Nick Kuklane, and midfielders Ryan Stumpf, a senior, and Scott Wolf, a junior. Senior defender Sean Wolf has been injured.

Kessler hired

Owings Mills graduate Gregg Kessler, a former three-time Class 2A-1A state champ and high school and collegiate All-American, has been named to coach Calvert Hall's wrestling team, athletic director Lou Eckerl said.

Lions look to rebound

Dulaney field hockey coach Karen Casperite had a difficult time telling her players last week that they had missed out on advancing to the Baltimore County championship game.

The Lions did just about everything they could to get there, including nipping Towson, 2-1, in overtime Friday. That forced a three-way tie with Towson and Hereford in the county's Heron Division, and the top two teams in the division play for the title.

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