Dunbar lacrosse is turning heads

First-year boys program attracting students after beating Forest Park this month

S. Keough's Snowden signs with Towson Univ.

Friends' Matthews scores 100th



When Anthony Smooth endeavored to play on Dunbar's first-ever boys lacrosse team, the junior did so with a great deal of skepticism.

Among Smooth's concerns at a school that prided itself on its state championship football and basketball programs was whether he could generate interest or achieve success if the team didn't win right away.

"Even though I looked at it as a good opportunity, and I knew of a lot of athletes at our school that liked the game, I knew that most [of] the guys had never played it before," said Smooth, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound football tight end and swimmer who had played lacrosse for two seasons in middle school.

"I knew it would be rough at first, but I felt like as the team grew, hopefully people would learn it," Smooth added. "But I also know that if it wasn't football or basketball, it might not really be accepted unless we won."

To the surprise of Smooth, a midfielder, the Poets won their first two games, including their season-opener at Forest Park, the alma mater of coach Terry Boyce, by a score of 8-2 on April 7.

"We're playing an abbreviated schedule of four games this year and won't be in the state playoffs," Boyce said.

Baltimore City athletic director Bob Wade, a longtime former football and basketball coach at Dunbar, said the Poets never had a lacrosse team prior to this season.

"From Day One, they listened to what I wanted them to do, working out, getting their bodies in shape, learning to scoop, catch and shoot," said Boyce, 40, who assisted at Edmondson for five years through 2004. "The day before our first game, I saw them working well as a unit. I told them they looked like a lacrosse team, and that pumped them up. But to go back and win my first game at Forest Park was a big thrill for me."

A federal officer with the department of defense, Boyce was hired "about a month prior to the start of the season," he said.

"We brought all of the boys down to the auditorium, and I explained to them that this is a sport they could do well at," Boyce said. "Of the 125 or so boys that were there, about 25 stuck around, and about 15 stayed on with the team."

Many of the players are from the football and basketball programs, which have won three and 11 state titles, respectively.

"I knew the kids would be athletic if nothing else, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't think we would win a game," Boyce said. "I took some of the kids to watch games at Johns Hopkins, and they enjoyed it. It's starting to rub off on them a little bit."

Smooth and senior attackman Unell Woodhouse are among the top scorers for the Poets, who have also defeated Randallstown, 4-2.

Boyce expects freshman Rashad Staton to be a future star for the Poets, who close with a rematch against Forest Park on May 5.

Said Boyce: " ... Because we've won some games, I've already got kids who have come up to me and said they're thinking about playing lacrosse next season."

Snowden signs

Haliena Snowden, a 6-foot All-Metro second-team forward who helped the No. 2 Seton Keough basketball team reach the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final, has signed with Towson University.

After averaging 14 points and seven rebounds this season, Snowden finish her career with 1,149 points, second on the Gators' all-time scoring list. One of her top performances came in the IAAM tournament semifinal when she scored 20 points in a 72-48 upset of then-No. 1 Towson Catholic.

Snowden, who carries a 3.7 grade point average, received a full scholarship to play for the Tigers.

Matthews hits 100

Friends junior Brooke Matthews scored her 100th career goal earlier this month.

After scoring all of Friends' goals in Friday's 9-4 loss to Bryn Mawr, the team captain boosted her career total to 117 goals. She has 40 goals and nine assists this season for the Quakers (2-12).

The Quakers, who were finalists in the A2 Conference last year, are struggling in the elite A Conference during a rebuilding season, but Matthews has had some high-scoring performances against some of the conference's top teams. She scored five goals each against No. 3 St. Mary's and No. 13 John Carroll.

Kridel to coach U-19

Bryn Mawr girls lacrosse coach Wendy Kridel has been selected to coach the U.S. under-19 team for a third straight time.

Kridel coached the U.S. team that won the 2003 International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations' U-19 world championship in 2003 with a 21-8 win over Australia at Towson University. She also led the U.S. to the title in 1999 in Perth, Australia.

Under her leadership, the U-19 team is 14-0 in international competition. She also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team that won the silver medal in 1995.

Kridel has coached the Mawrtians since 1997 and has also coached at Towson and Roland Park. Her career coaching record at the high school level is 160-38-4 through Friday's victory over Friends.



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