As soon as they started playing soccer together at John Carroll, Amity Torbit and Katie Nietubicz knew they had a sixth sense about each other on the field.
"We just seemed to know where each other was going to go," said Nietubicz. "We've always been able to do that. I could pass down the line and know she'd be there."
That instinct has helped Torbit and Nietubicz emerge as the best one-two scoring punch in the Catholic League this year. With Nietubicz on the left wing and Torbit at center, the two have the speed and the moves to go along with that sixth sense.
"When the ball gets in their area, I feel comfortable, because I know they're going to make something happen," said Patriots coach Joe Rehrmann.
"That rapport has developed from team thinking. Their technical ability and knowledge of the game are excellent. All of that makes them two of the best people working together. And when you watch them, you can see their enthusiasm for the game."
Torbit and Nietubicz also form a key combination on the softball diamond, where Torbit plays shortstop and Nietubicz plays second base. With so much time spent together on the field, they have become close friends off the field.
In the fall, however, they spend most of their time on the soccer field. Both would like to play in college, and they should draw some attention if they keep playing as they have been all season.
PD In the first nine games, they've combined for 16 goals and 10 as
sists. With a 6-0-3 record, the No. 9 Patriots are the only unbeaten team in the Catholic League's A Division.
Rehrmann said he first noticed their potential in a varsity-JV scrimmage when the two were freshmen.
"At the beginning of that game, the varsity was being very laid-back and Amity took the ball, --ed downfield and almost scored. And there's Katie coming down like gangbusters. One of the varsity players came up to me later and told me we had some pretty good players on JV," he said.
Now in their third year on the Patriots' varsity, they complement each other perfectly. The Patriots like to bring the ball down the left side where Nietubicz can cross the ball to Torbit in the middle.
"Katie's passing is beautiful," said Torbit, the Patriots' leading scorer with 10 goals and six assists. "She always seems to know where you want the ball, and she's great for passing into space so you can run onto it. She's quick, so we can hit
each other on the run."
Torbit is the speedier of the two, and Nietubicz often passes over the defense where Torbit can break free.
"Amity runs very intelligently," said Rehrmann. "A lot of players have a lot of straight-ahead speed, but they don't know how to use it. Amity can change speeds and change direction."
Torbit and Nietubicz still hone their skills in club soccer. Torbit's Columbia Crusaders reached the recent quarterfinals of the Washington Area Girls Soccer league. Nietubicz plays for Harford United 75 along with the Patriots' third forward, talented junior Krystin Porcella.
Two years ago, Torbit and Nietubicz helped the Patriots win an unprecedented fourth Catholic League title. Playing on that team, one of the strongest Rehrmann has coached at John Carroll, helped the two youngsters improve quickly.
"We put Carrie Stallings, who was a very strong player, in between them to help distribute the ball to them. The seniors brought them along. That allowed them to develop without a lot of pressure, but they still contributed," he said.
That same drive helps them achieve off the field, where Torbit carries a 3.9 grade-point average and Nietubicz averages 3.7.
Torbit, who plans to study mass communications, is also sports editor of the school paper, The Patriot. Nietubicz, who wants to be a physical therapist, is president of the sports Captains' Committee and is involved in Students Against Drunk Driving.
In the spring, both are captains on the softball team. Coach Neal Drexel said both are good all-around players.
"I guess the biggest thing you can complain about is they get on themselves a little bit too much," said Drexel. "They want to be perfect, and when something goes wrong with them, they're too hard on themselves."