Chesapeake's Colajezzi proves to be a cut above


A shocking thing happened to Holly Colajezzi on her way to a high school soccer career at Chesapeake.

She got cut from the squad.

Cut, even though she had played soccer in rec leagues since she was 5. In her misery, she turned to freshman classmate Margo Drgos. She, too, had been cut.

"Oh, well, I'll be a statistician for the team," Colajezzi said.

"No way," Drgos said. "Let's try field hockey."

Two years later, as a junior, Colajezzi was named the All-Anne Arundel County first-team goalie.

As Chesapeake went 10-2-2 and finished No. 14 in the Baltimore Sun poll, Colajezzi allowed only two goals, including one in a season-ending 1-0 loss to eventual state Class 4A champion Severna Park in the regional final. She made 70 saves.

"Margo forced me into field hockey," Colajezzi said. "It was the best thing I've done in my life."

If Colajezzi is the defensive anchor on this year's team that is 7-2 and ranked No. 3, fellow senior Emily Plenge is the offensive spark.

Colajezzi has permitted four goals and made 30 saves. Plenge, who also made first-team All-County last year after leading the Cougars with 11 goals, already has 11 this season. She has scored at least one in every game but one (Old Mill), and had four against South River.

"Emily is quick," coach Jerry Raab said. "Even if she's dribbling, she can run faster than the defender who's chasing her."

Plenge's introduction to field hockey was in middle school during gym, although actually it was floor hockey because the class was indoors. Despite a string of injuries -- six broken bones in her hands, she says -- she has never missed a game.

"I get whacked by a ball or someone's stick. It comes with the territory," Plenge said. "This bad thumb I have right now, I'd saw it off rather than not play. I've done a lot of riding, horse shows and things, and I've hurt my hands, feet and nose. I never wimp out."

Until Colajezzi gave up three goals to No. 1 and unbeaten Severna Park last week, she had allowed only one all season. That was to Arundel in the opener and she disputed it because "the shot was from outside the circle and really, really high, making it dangerous." Her protest fell on deaf ears.

"Holly is tenacious, determined, never quitting on a ball," Raab said.

The fact that Colajezzi wound up in a hockey uniform after being cut from the soccer squad is not unusual, at Chesapeake or anywhere else in the county.

"The freshman soccer cuts are usually good athletes, so I take them," Raab said. "I try never to cut a freshman, and give them all a year. If they work out, become good field hockey players, I make out."

Despite her glossy credentials, Colajezzi shares the job with junior Courtney Miller, who allowed three goals last year as the backup.

"Courtney has to step into Holly's place next year," Raab said. "The defense is strong with Courtney, too. Holly pulled a thigh muscle in practice one day and missed the Howard game the next. Courtney played the whole game, allowed only one goal, and we won."

In her 18 seasons as coach, Raab has never beaten Severna Park. But she is on record as saying Chesapeake is more talented than the Falcons, despite last week's loss.

Plenge, for one, is intent on proving it.

"Jerry says this is our year," Plenge said. "My goal is to take this team farther than it's ever been."

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