Most field hockey teams are lucky just to have one capable goalkeeper.
But a combination of two players — from Westminster and Woodbine — is giving Glenelg Country School, in Howard County, a situation that coach Jessica McAdams calls the perfect storm.
"I'm lucky to have two outstanding goalkeepers. But I'm even luckier to have two outstanding keepers that have a mutual respect for each other and for the game," McAdams said.
Kelly Johnson, of Westminster, and Sarah Bates, of Woodbine, are sharing time for the Dragons, and each brings a lengthy and impressive resume.
Bates is a two-time selection for the Futures Elite program, marking her as one of the best in the nation and a potential Olympian. She participated in the AAU Junior Olympics in 2010 and has also participated in the National Futures Championship for the last four years.
Johnson, a junior, is also a standout. Last year she was selected to the 2012 Futures Championship, Junior Olympics and Futures National Camp where she was chosen as a member of the 2012-2013 under-17 National Team. She is also a 2013 Futures Elite player.
Bates started playing field hockey as a first-grader at a Montessori school in Montgomery County. Starting since her freshman year, she helped lead Glenelg Country to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship game in 2009 and again in 2010. In that second title game, the Dragons emerged as champions.
Bates has never had to share time as goalie — until Johnson entered the picture.
Glenelg's coaching staff saw Johnson develop during her freshman year and they knew how much time she was putting in outside of school playing club field hockey. They decided to leave Johnson at the JV level for her sophomore season last fall.
But this year, the time share became necessary, and coches say things have gone even better than anticipated with the Westminster-Woodbine connection.
As of this past week, the Dragons had compiled a 3-3 record in IAAM B Conference play, and had a 4-5 record overall thus far. In those games, opponents have scored only a combined 12 goals.
Johnson says playing with Bates has done wonders for her game.
"The kind of competition between us, it makes you better," she said. "We are constantly encouraging and learning from each other."
"We both have the same mentality: that you have to earn your position," Bates said. "We encourage each other, but we also compete with each other."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun