North Harford continued to show it is an emerging force in boys and girls soccer last week, when the boys played C. Milton Wright (3-1-3) to a 1-1 tie and the girls lost to C. Milton Wright, 2-0, in a game in which the Mustangs got their second goal with three minutes left.
"We have scored more and played better defensively that I expected," North Harford boys coach Ed Zorn said of his team's 5-0-1 start. Overall, senior Keith Smith has dominated the middle, and senior goalkeeper David Zorn, the coach's son, has allowed two goals.
The top scorers for the Hawks are Mike Piccolo, whose penalty kick created the 1-1 tie in the first half of the Wright game, and Chris Roberts. Another who had been playing up, Ryan Renfrow, was moved back to stopper, where he has played well.
The two midfields played on even terms in the game (North Harford's Smith, R.J. Magnaye and Jason Wattenschaidt against Wright's Jeff Smith, Peter Troilo and Matt McFarlane, complemented by Steve Milano). The game developed into a contest between Wright defender Matt Youngerman, with a definite height advantage at 6 feet 2, and North Harford defender Garson Beers, whose booming kicks kept the home team at bay and gave his side good field advantage.
Both keepers played well, with Zorn credited with 16 saves, including several diving stops and a couple of punch-outs that prevented almost certain goals, and Tim Hilyard made 11 saves.
"With Matt's [Youngerman] height, and the job our backs were doing [particularly Stas Kotula], I could stay back," Hilyard said.
Zorn said, "We came out slowly and I think that hurt us. Also, their speed, with Cory Smith and Joe Davis, was such a factor, that I didn't come out [of the goal area] much."
For the girls, Wright (6-2) has presented a new look of late with junior sprinter Miranda James moved back to sweeper. Opposing defenders used to worry about her, now it is opposing strikers who have to figure out a way to work around her.
"They're always tough for us," Wright coach Ken Dawson said of the road victory. "We come up here and they are focused and play hard." Erin Lesh had the Mustangs goals, with Becky Gerhart assisting on both.
Dawson cited the strong play of linemen Amanda Moculski and Katie Corbett, and defenders Nancy Tevault and Amy Morse.
"James' value to our defense is especially important in tight games, like this one, where it is important to shut down the other side," he said.
North Harford has been led by sophomore Danielle Konschak, who has nine goals from center halfback. Against Wright, despite the 2-0 score, the Hawks' level of play was much better than a year ago, when they lost, 1-0.
"We had our chances," said North Harford associate coach Ray Hruz, "but Miranda puts their defense at another level." At the other end, the North Harford defense was solid with Tina Kidd, Dawn Harrison and Wendy Dieter working with leader Tara Schlerf.
For the seven games, goalkeeper Erin Kroneberger has four shutouts and allowed one goal in another.
Top soccer game
Co-No. 1-ranked Fallston (6-0-1) will draw its toughest test tomorrow night at 7 when it is home against No. 8 Perry Hall (5-0). The visiting Gators were a preseason pick to win the Baltimore County title after returning several starters from last year's 13-1 team. They have an experienced midfield led by seniors Chris Ude and Jim Stopper, and senior strikers Brian Doherty (10 goals, three assists) and Brandon Oliver (five goals, three assists).
For Fallston, anchored by 10 seniors, striker Mike Giuffrida (13 goals, four assists), midfielder Todd Paradise, back Jud Ryan and goalkeeper Eric McPhee are the leaders. The Cougars have allowed one goal (a 1-1 tie with C. Milton Wright) in their seven games.
John Carroll volleyball
The boys are off to a 6-0 start, with a basic starting lineup of seniors Paul Kim and Matt Gradishar, and juniors Mike Babiak, Tim DeCapite, Scott Kaufman and Mike Penrose. Kim is a setter; Gradishar and DeCapite, "the spark plugs who make the team go," said coach Herb Simon; and Babiak, an all-around leader.
Kaufman and Penrose, who has only been playing about six weeks, are 6 feet 3, and add power to the attack. Junior Greg Grabowski is a defensive specialist.
For the girls (6-2, 6-0 in the county), where coach Greg Cullison has all his starters back from a year ago, there are three players who can pound the ball, including Heather Pyzik and Laura Dembiec, with Charlotte Wills as the setter.
The Patriots were down 1-2 against Bel Air before coming back to win 15-6, 15-5. As Cullison said, "We know what to do; it's just that we have lapses. We self-destruct."