For Loch Raven's Robyn Harry, aggression is the better part of valor.
More than her formidable skills and lightning speed, Harry insists her attacking style makes her a stubborn defensive player as a guard in basketball season and in her fourth year as a returning defender from last year's 2A state runner-up lacrosse team.
But soccer is her favorite of the three sports -- she earned first-team All-County honors a year ago while helping the Raiders to a 2A state runner-up finish.
And as a junior striker for this season's 11th-ranked Raiders (8-1, 7-0 county 1A-2A league), her attacking style can be downright intimidating.
"I think that getting in the goalie's face is important because it can make them nervous," Harry said. "My speed is a big part of it, and I never back down from anybody."
Harry's method has reaped dividends that are overwhelmingly apparent to opponents.
She's the area's third-leading scorer with 25 goals and five assists, and her 42 career goals and 22 assists rank her only behind Michelle Dejuliis (55, 19) on Loch Raven's all-time scoring list.
"You can always trust her to back you up when you pass to her," said Bridget Harthausen, who has eight goals and four assists. "She keeps everyone else up during games, and you can always count on her putting the ball in the net."
Harry's blend of hustle and talent were instrumental in both her team's goals in last week's 3-2 loss against top-ranked McDonogh.
Harry scored the first, and McDonogh trailed, 1-0, for only the second time this season. An assist on the second helped to tie the score at 2.
Harry's feats came against the Eagles' All-Metro sweeper Alison Schroeder, perhaps the area's best all-around player, making her efforts all the more impressive.
"They had a big field like ours, so I just tried to spread their defense a lot," Harry said. "Sometimes I'd take it wide and cross it, other times I'd just go for it."
She netted the first goal off a corner kick from Harthausen. Harry raced unchallenged from the far to the near post, trapped Harthausen's cross with her right side facing the goal, turned and fired a left-footed shot past keeper Sarah Manekin.
The next goal was a direct result of Harry's hustle as much as the finishing touch of teammate Mary Edwards. Rising with Manekin, who leaped to her right to retrieve a dangerous cross, Harry collided with the keeper, jarring the ball loose. She then recovered quickly to boot the ball goal-bound, where it bounced off a McDonogh defender toward Edwards, who chipped it into an unprotected net.
"I didn't think she [Manekin] had the ball totally in her possession," Harry said. "I don't try to hurt anyone, but I always go after the ball."
That was among the main reasons coach Lou Menegatti moved Harry from the midfield post she played last year to center striker this year. So far, the Raiders have produced 62 goals while
giving up just five -- and Harry has been the focal point.
"Up front, she can get free a lot of times and make things happen," Menegatti said. "She's matured a great deal since being an outside halfback last year, and she seems very comfortable up there."
Loch Raven ends the regular season with three big games this week, playing Hereford (7-1, 7-0) tomorrow, Owings Mills (7-3, 5-3) on Tuesday and Hereford again on Thursday.
And with only four seniors on the roster, Harry's aggressive leadership will continue to come in handy.