A whole new game at Pikesville

Former Mount Hebron star Polly Purcell, in her first year as Panthers girls coach, is changing attitudes, the intensity level and the results



When Pikesville's girls lacrosse team began this season, one of the players' goals was to improve enough to draw some attention.

The Panthers did just that two weeks ago, when they turned a few heads with a 12-11 win over Hereford, one of Baltimore County's most competitive teams.

"We just wanted to be recognized as a program," Panthers junior midfielder Morgan Appel said. "Usually we haven't been competitive and we had never beaten a team like Hereford. It took us awhile to understand that we could do it. Now, we realize we have to play our hardest and we can compete."

A change in the Panthers' game and in their attitudes came with new coach Polly Purcell. A two-time All-Metro attacker at Mount Hebron, Purcell has brought a new intensity to the Panthers and demands a new level of dedication.

"The biggest difference between this year and last year is our work ethic," Appel said. "Polly has been really pushing us. We have so much talent. If somebody can push us and show us what we can do with it, we can really reach our potential."

Purcell emphasizes conditioning and pressure defense all over the field, and she said the payoffs are coming gradually.

"At the beginning of the season, we had extra workouts based on conditioning and extra stick workouts, which was something they were not used to," Purcell said. "I don't think they liked it, but they did it. Knowing that I've come from championship teams at Hebron, they knew this stuff would work."

The Panthers are 6-4, having lost to No. 6 Dulaney, No. 9 Towson, No. 11 North Harford and Franklin.

"The Towson game was a turning point," Purcell said of the 16-5 loss. "That was a low point in terms of effort and they were not happy with themselves. Coming off the field, they made a promise never to have another game like that. The intensity and the commitment level is a big difference from what I was used to, and I think we're definitely improving in both those areas right now."

Appel has been one of the key players, with 17 goals and 12 assists as well as her ability to win a lot of draws and ground balls.

Megan Seidman leads the team in scoring with 44 goals and 14 assists, followed by Becca Kreshtool (27 goals, 18 assists) and Becca Misler (21 goals, 11 assists). Carley Glass leads the defense.

The best news for Purcell, who coached Pikesville's junior varsity last season, and the Panthers is that Glass is the only senior in that group.

Gift to Calvert Hall

In honor of Carlo Crispino, who recently donated $1 million dollars to his alma mater, Calvert Hall dedicated the Carlo Crispino Center during a ceremony on the school's campus on Friday.

Crispino's gift, one of the largest single donations ever given to Calvert Hall, will designate $150,000 to student tuition assistance and another $150,000 for faculty/staff endowment.

The Carlo Crispino Center houses the pool, wrestling center, weight room and auxiliary gymnasium. The dugouts on the school's baseball field will also be named in honor of Crispino, a football and baseball player at Calvert Hall who graduated in 1948.

Crispino signed a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1949 and played one season as a catcher with Lima, Ohio, in the Class D Ohio-Indiana League.

Serving up success

Nothing seems to distract Hereford sophomore Katherine Charchalis on the tennis court. That may be the main reason she was 12-0 after winning four No. 1 singles matches last week.

"Her concentration is really amazing," Hereford coach Mark Trotta said. "The kids on the team nicknamed her `The Machine,' because she goes out there and takes care of business. She's focused as to what she wants to get done."

Charchalis has a 30-3 record over two seasons at No. 1 singles and has not lost a regular-season match. She fell in the county and regional finals last season to eventual champ Ashley Harvey of Catonsville. Now that Harvey has graduated, Charchalis looks to take her place at the top when the county tournament gets underway on Friday.

Charchalis, who carries a 3.98 grade point average, is a consistent base-liner with an enviable work ethic, Trotta said.

In her four matches last week, Charchalis lost only two games, and Trotta said she has improved since last season. Not only does she hit harder with her forehand and backhand, but she has worked on her serve.

"Her serve is a lot better than it was last year, although it may not be as consistent with her first serve," Trotta said. "She's trying to hit harder and move the ball around more, so it's just a matter of mechanics."

College bound

Woodlawn's Shanell Williams has committed to Frostburg State to play basketball.

In last week's note about McDonogh girls lacrosse, one player was inadvertently left off the list of players who have signed with Division I programs. Defender Abby Caso is headed to William and Mary. Eagles goalie Natalie Pappas has committed to Division III Salisbury.



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