Century coach stays involved in sport

Retired Taylor focuses on indoor club team


November 05, 2006|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to the Sun

Gayle Taylor may have announced her retirement as the field hockey coach at Century after Tuesday's game, but the 16-year coach won't be straying very far.

Taylor, whose teams compiled a 33-9-3 record during her three seasons with the Knights and this season went unbeaten in both the county and Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference to win titles in each, will focus on the Westminster-based indoor club team that she launched last winter.

Her Majestx, which practice out of Larry Sheets Players Family Amusement Center, last year had 65 players try out from all but two county schools.

"Instead of traveling to Virginia, Baltimore County or Pennsylvania, I started a club team here," said Taylor, whose club recently joined a federation with 18 other area programs. "I'm trying to get all the high school coaches involved in this because it builds everybody's programs."

The program at Century, however, will have a new leader. Her decision to step down was in part prompted by a county policy that gives teachers priority over outsiders for coaching jobs.

"That's pretty much what I knew was going to happen. From year to year, everybody signs a new contract, and it's never a given," said Taylor, who had previously lost a coaching job at Francis Scott Key because of the rule. "I knew how I felt then . ... I didn't coach for three years after that, and I swore that I probably would never coach high school because of always having that in the back of my mind."

Still, Taylor said she wants to make the transition as easy as possible for her players.

"I'll miss the girls and the parents. The support I got down there over the years is unbelievable," said Taylor, adding that she could never leave the sport entirely. "If I wasn't doing the club, and if I wasn't doing leagues and clinics and camps, I'd definitely be coaching somewhere."

Key defense

First-year coach Mindy Minchhoff is the first to admit that her Francis Scott Key volleyball team doesn't have a great deal of height. What the Eagles do have, however, is an abundance of talent on defense.

Led by talented freshman Kellee Stonesifer, the defense has given opponents fits all season, and has led Key to a No. 10 area ranking.

"We have to have good defense because we're not very tall," Minchhoff said. "So basically, we try to get all our points from our defense. We just have strong, smart players."

Others who have excelled on the defensive side include setter Lauren Tracey and hitters Allyson Lethbridge and Dani Katsampis. Together, they have helped the Eagles to an 11-2 start, not including a win at last month's Thomas Johnson tournament.

There, the team scored a best-of-three victory over top-ranked Liberty, avenging an earlier four-game loss and providing the Eagles with a dose of confidence.

"It was a big win for us because we felt like we had the chance to beat Liberty [earlier in the season]," said Minchhoff, whose team could face the Lions again if it reaches the regional finals. "We just need to be consistent and eliminate the mental mistakes."

Knight earns honor

Chris Monteil, a senior linebacker from Century, has been named the Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts last week against Urbana in a 34-15 loss.

To submit news and story ideas about Carroll County high school athletics, contact Rich Scherr at CarrollSports@comcast.net.

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