Her play speaks volumes

The easygoing nature of Bel Air's Christina Dove belies the three-sport star's competitive nature.

March 08, 2006|By MARY BETH KOZAK | MARY BETH KOZAK,SUN REPORTER

At first glance, Bel Air's Christina Dove appears to be easygoing and introverted. However, on playing fields, in gymnasiums and in the classroom, she has a competitive streak that only those who know her best can recognize.

"She may be quiet, but she always gets the job done," said Michelle Peck, Dove's friend and teammate in three sports. "The coaches tell her what to do and she does it. She's an extremely hard worker and she's always trying to better herself."

Although Dove rarely shows emotion, as she walked off the basketball court last week after a lopsided loss to No. 8 River Hill in a Class 3A East regional semifinal game, her eyes showed everything she was feeling.

Like any athlete, she hates to lose. But Dove, as a team leader, took the loss personally, feeling as if she let her teammates and coaches down.

"She has a lot of respect for her teammates," said her mother, Debbie Dove. "She's not bossy and her teammates definitely respect her - when she speaks, her teammates listen."

Dove, a 5-foot-10 senior center, led the Bobcats (16-7) to a second-place finish in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division. Dove, a two-year captain, averaged 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks this season.

She is the core of not one, but three sports teams this year, in soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Dove was selected to the All-Harford County first team for soccer as a forward this past fall.

Although she was disappointed in how the Bobcats' basketball season ended - with a 74-38 loss to River Hill - she said she is looking forward to lacrosse season.

"It was sad to see it end that way," Dove said of basketball, "but I still have lacrosse. We still had a really good season and we have a lot to be proud of."

Lacrosse is Dove's favorite and best sport. She will play at Syracuse University next year on a full scholarship for academics and athletics. She chose the Orange over perennial lacrosse powers Princeton, Northwestern, Duke and Loyola.

The Bobcats finished fourth in the county last year and are hoping to dethrone crosstown rival C. Milton Wright this season. The Mustangs enter the season with a 60-game winning streak over county foes.

Dove, a center, will be a key part of the Bobcats' run at the county title.

Last season, she was named to the All-Harford County first team and was the county's leading scorer, with 42 goals and 31 assists.

"She's aggressive, and that's how she gets her goals scored [in soccer and lacrosse]," Peck said. "She's not afraid to go up against anybody, and that she gets from basketball."

Dove says the transition from basketball to lacrosse is a relatively easy one.

"I think basketball and lacrosse are very similar," Dove said. "The way you move without the ball, all the cutting and dodging and the transitions, are very similar. They are both just really fast-paced games. Soccer and basketball are the best ways to keep you in lacrosse shape."

Dove, who comes across as modest and mild-tempered, actually is intense and competitive, in the classroom as well as in sports. She is tied for first in her class with a 4.25 grade point average

"Playing sports has just taught me about managing my time," said Dove, whose favorite subject is math and hopes to major in either business or engineering. "I do my schoolwork when I get home from practice. It keeps me busy."

As she winds down her final year at Bel Air, Dove hopes to be remembered for her hard work in the classroom as well as her stellar athletic ability.

"Some kids can do it and some can't," Debbie Dove said. "She's obviously always been competitive. She's been like that for as long as I can remember."

marybeth.kozak@baltsun.com

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