Dulaney, Loch Raven net Baltimore County soccer recognition Lions, Raiders seek first state girls titles


Just two weeks ago, Dulaney coach Kathy Schmidt and Loch Raven coach Lou Menegatti were adversaries in the Baltimore County girls soccer championship game.

Tonight, however, each will be the other's biggest fan.

The Lions and Raiders will try to become the first and second Baltimore County teams to win state titles, while at the same time breaking Anne Arundel County's and Howard County's string of dominance.

For Schmidt, it's a matter of pride.

"The Anne Arundel and Howard county schools have touted themselves as soccer powers over the years, while Baltimore County has been viewed as a couple steps behind," said Schmidt.

"So when you have a couple of Baltimore County teams who've fared so well, you have to feel proud."

Although Schmidt's team lost to the Raiders, 2-0, in the county final, she said that bygones long since will have been bygones by tonight.

That's when No. 7 Loch Raven (15-1) will meet No. 3 Hammond (11-3) for the Class 1A-2A title at 6, and No. 4 Dulaney (14-2) will take on No. 2 Severna Park (14-1) for the Class 3A-4A crown at 8 at Liberty High School.

Both county teams have had past title shots, but have come up short each time.

Dulaney has lost each of the past two years to Howard County power Centennial -- last year in overtime. Loch Raven also has lost twice -- in 1990 to Middletown and last year, in double overtime, to Oakland Mills.

Schmidt and Menegatti say their teams have learned important lessons from those defeats.

"I think what we've learned is that it's not good enough just to be in the final," said Menegatti. "At first, you're really excited to get that far, but then you have to settle down and treat it like any other game."

For the teams to do that, they will need to hold their own against some stiff competition.

Severna Park is a defensive powerhouse. The Falcons have allowed just five goals and shut out opponents 13 times. Their only setback was 3-0 to No. 9 Old Mill.

But the big question will be whether they can shut down the Lions' triple threat of Aimee Vaughan (41 goals, 11 assists), Abby Bausman (20, 14) and Ali Schuch (24, eight).

Schmidt said that Dulaney will try to play as it has all season, taking the role of aggressor and pushing the ball on offense.

Sweeper Carrie Budzinski, stopper Shelley Seibert and the rest of coach Joyce Stefancik's Severna Park defense will try to prevent that, and forward Lindsey Poland (14, five) and midfielder Erin Wylde (12 goals) will lead an offense known for its ball control and passing.

For Loch Raven, the task should be just as tough, though injuries have slowed Hammond in recent weeks.

First, senior Karen Fink, the team's top marking back, suffered a season-ending knee injury. A healthy Fink would have been the obvious choice to mark Raiders scoring leader Robyn Harry (36, seven).

Then, late last month, leading scorer Kisha Jett (15, two) went down with a badly sprained ankle, and has been used sparingly since. Coach Dave Guetler, though, said he expects Hammond's all-time leading scorer to be near full strength.

Should Jett still be hobbled, however, the Bears will rely on the scoring of midfielder Kacy Williams (11, seven) and forward Emily Bielefeld (eight goals).

Williams, a midfielder who last year won All-Metro honors in soccer and basketball, is considered by some to be one of the top players in the state. She uses her quickness and superior athletic ability to control play at midfield and also has contributed heavily on offense.

But Hammond is by no means an offensive juggernaut. The team has scored five goals or more just twice this season, though that may be attributed to its strong Howard County schedule.

The Bears suffered their only losses to top-ranked McDonogh, No. 5 Centennial and No. 11 Oakland Mills. Last season, they lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to Oakland Mills.

Like Dulaney, the Raiders, whose only defeat came early in the season at the hands of top-ranked McDonogh, are athletic and like to push the ball on offense. Besides Harry, Bridget Harthausen (11, 11) and Mary Edwards (five, 19) also have been effective near the goal.

Guetler, whose team won state titles in 1989 and 1991, said Hammond might hold a slight edge in talent over the Raiders, but that he expects the game to be a dogfight.

"We may have more club players than they do, but when you get to this level, that all goes out the window," said Guetler. "I think that whoever wants it more will win it."

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