Obstacles can't stop girls of N. Harford

Construction affects practice, game fields

Notebook

October 22, 2006|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Reporter

The North Harford girls soccer team has had to learn to be resourceful. That's the best way to explain the Hawks' success while coping with the school's reconstruction, which has affected their practice and game fields.

The No. 9 Hawks advanced to the Class 3A East regional final last season and are 8-1-1 this year.

"It's been an imposition," said co-coach Tom Berg, who shares the head coaching duties with former Blast goalkeeper Steve Zerhusen. "But the girls have been very good about it ... not complaining about it."

Berg said his team has been "on the road a lot" because a new North Harford school is being built around the old school, which is being torn down.

"We have to play some games on our regular practice field, which isn't nearly as good," Berg said. "The field is at the elementary school across the street, and it's not adaptive to our short-passing-game style of play. It's so bad. We play some games on the stadium field, but we can't practice there because of football."

Still, this is a high-scoring team (outscoring opponents, 48-5), led by senior sweeper Stephanie Mergler, who scored a goal and had an assist last Monday in a 3-0 victory over North East of Cecil County in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game.

"Stephanie has a lot of experience, was second-team All-State last year, is very intense, and has played a lot of club soccer at a very high level," Berg said. "She was a halfback who we switched to sweeper last year. At first she wasn't in favor of the change, but she has done such a great job that now she likes it."

Another top four-year starter is halfback Heather Redding. The team's leading scorer is sophomore forward Beth Lambros, who has nine goals and five assists.

"Beth has some real ability," Berg said. "Before she graduates, she may break all our scoring records."

Berg said his team learned the most this season in a 2-0 loss to Kenwood.

"That was a good game against an excellent team, scoreless at the half, and I believe we grew a lot that day," he said. "I think we learned the importance of 80 minutes of soccer."

Three more key senior starters are fullbacks Grace Kahler, Lauren Morris, and Gwen Branscome. Talented junior forward Becca Miller has been battling a knee injury most of the season.

Getting better

No. 8 C. Milton Wright couldn't hold on to an early lead but didn't feel so bad after its 1-1 tie with North Harford Wednesday.

Injury problems have bothered the defending Class 4A state champions all year, but things are getting better. Backup goalie Lynn Tranovich made 14 saves in her second straight game in place of injured starter Allison Kuchar.

Tranovich stepped in after Kuchar was injured in a car accident on Oct. 13. She suffered back and rib injuries, and Tranovich helped the Mustangs blank Bel Air 1-0 and tie North Harford.

C. Milton Wright coach Paul Austin said he doesn't think Kuchar will be cleared to play in tomorrow's game with North East-Cecil but thinks she'll be back for the playoffs. Tranovich had played 20 minutes all season before Kuchar's injury.

Thigh and ankle injuries have slowed Lyndsie Ludwig and kept her out for most of the season. She scored the winning goal in last year's state title game and played a little in the beginning of this season. She finally made it back last week.

bfree7066@hotmail.com

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