Annapolis Panthers 1994 record: 6-6-1. Coach: Jennifer Russell (third year).
Top players: Amy Brew, Sr., F; Suzanne Graf, Jr., F; Brittanie Oakley, Jr., M; Kate McMahon, Sr., D; Jennifer Behler, Sr., D; Susan Wymkoop, Soph., D; Meghan Cornwall, Sr., F.
Outlook: Five overtime losses marred a promising season for the Panthers last year. Russell has told her players not to put her through that kind of misery again, especially since the team did not win any OT games but did salvage an overtime tie with Meade. "It was enough to drive me crazy," said Russell. Two top players (forward Lisa Jewell and defender Sharon Carswell) from last year's squad have graduated but Russell believes her offense will be stronger this season with Brew and Graf leading the way. "Amy is an incredible athlete," said Russell. "She gave up soccer after the 10th grade to play field hockey and she is very aggressive." The biggest concern, Russell said, is how quickly junior Tricia Waite develops in the goal. Of course, playing in the same division with Severna Park could give anybody a headache. The Falcons trounced Annapolis, 5-1, last season. "That was the only real loss we had," said Russell who sees a bright future for Annapolis due to an improved feeder system from area youth leagues.
Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers 1994 record: 8-4-1. Coach: Mary Pat Bozel (sixth year).
Top players: Stephanie Paxson, Sr., F; Jennifer Thomas, Sr., F; Amy Sledgeski, Sr., M; Laura Libertore, Sr., D; Amanda Gibboney, Jr., D; Shannon Cashour, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Cavaliers already have made an early-season statement by beating Chesapeake, 1-0, last Friday, getting revenge for one of their four losses last season. Bozel sees no reason her team won't improve on last season's 8-4-1 record because "we have a lot of depth, experience and an ability to score goals." Playing a tough independent schedule that includes the top Arundel schools and top AIS A Conference teams, Spalding has improved its program to the point where Bozel is looking into joining the AIS A Conference. "In the past, we didn't have the depth we have now and the real good teams would run us in the ground," said Bozel. The Cavaliers appear to be especially strong on defense with Cashour and Gibboney leading the way. Gibboney is starting her third year at sweeper. They also have sophomore Malia Swieconick, a Junior Olympic player, battling Patricia Kircher for the starting goalkeeper position. The two players combined for seven saves in the 1-0 opening-game win over Chesapeake.
Arundel Wildcats 1994 record: 11-3-1. Coach: Clint Gosnell (sixth year).
Top players: Lisa Howard, Sr., M; Jeni Miller, Sr., M; Kati Miller, Sr., M; Meghan Miller, Jr., D; Meghan Crouse, Sr., D; Kim Gonski, Sr., D; Laura Buchman, Jr., D; Carla Navarro, Sr., F; Jean Benoit, Sr., F; Meghan Tidwell, Soph., G.
Outlook: In five years, Gosnell has taken Arundel from an 0-9-3 team to 11-3-1 and he is hoping for even bigger things this season. There is proven talent almost everywhere on the field for the Wildcats and they have been helped even more by the addition of junior defender Amy LeBrun, a transfer from Northern Calvert County. Navarro and Benoit are exceptionally quick at wing and forward Jeni Miller is expected to use her speed and fierce competitiveness to lead the scoring. Jeni and Kati Miller are twins and Meghan is their sister, giving the Wildcats a threesome that seems to thrive on intense sibling competition. "They argue among themselves about almost everything off the field and they've been known to disagree on the field but they sure can play," said Gosnell. Now that the Arundel field hockey program has been rebuilt, the big question facing the team is when will it beat Severna Park for the first time? The Wildcats are in the same division with Severna Park and will have to finish ahead of the Falcons to get a chance to play for the county title. They finished third last season behind Severna Park and Chesapeake.
Broadneck Bruins 1994 record: 6-5-1. Coach: Phoebe Kelly (13th year).
Top players: Lisa Foertsch, Sr., F; Katie Lengyl, Sr., F; Meredith Benda, Sr., D; Mary McGinnis, Sr., D; Colleen Harding, Sr., F; Katie Bauer, Jr., F.
Outlook: Kelly refused to make any predictions, saying only, "We'll let our actions speak for our talents." There is reason for Kelly to be a little coy because she has 10 seniors returning and four juniors who know their way around the field. When a team has that much experience, it is easy to think big. But Severna Park is still Severna Park, and Arundel, Annapolis and Chesapeake keep improving every year. The four talented juniors -- Bauer, Melissa Bragg, Sarah Zaleski and Ashley Schroeder -- are forwards. In addition to experience, the Bruins have speed and aggressiveness to challenge the top teams in the county. And they do have one big emotional edge in their favor-- they are the only public school in the county to beat Severna Park in the last nine years (1-0 in 1989).
Chesapeake Cougars 1994 record: 11-3. Coach: Jerry Raab (20th year).
Top players: Kristen Bonk, Sr., M/A; Courtney Miller, Sr., G; Sara Keil, Sr., A; Cris McGuire, Sr., A; Erin Piechowiak, Sr., M; Kim Walters, Sr., D; Ryane Bellarin, Jr., D; Christie Gayhardt, Jr., D.
Outlook: Frustrated in their attempts to beat Severna Park for the first time in the 20-year history of Chesapeake, Raab was asked what separates the Cougars from the Falcons? "One goal," she said. That was the difference in the regular season (2-1) last year when the top two teams in the county met. But it was even closer in the 4A East Region championship game when nobody scored in regulation and two overtimes. Severna Park was forced to a third set of strokes before Becky Shank's stroke won the duel, 1-0, for the Falcons. Now 12 seniors are gone from the Chesapeake team that nearly did the seemingly impossible last fall. However, the dream of victory over the Falcons continues with the return of six seniors who enter their fourth season. "It's hard to make a step past them [Severna Park]," said Raab. "But fortunately we're not in the same division with them in the county and we have a chance to meet them for the championship if we win the North." Scoring goals is a concern for Chesapeake with Bonk and Keil needing to come through on offense.
Meade Mustangs 1994 record: 6-5-1. Coach: Kelly Holden (fifth year).
Top players: Chrissy Edwards, Sr., M; Jenn Smelson, Jr., G; Melissa Davis, Sr., D; Sheana Anderson, Sr., F; Christina Bowers, Soph., F; Kristen Kelly, Sr., M.
Outlook: Not even Holden is expecting a lot of good things to happen for the Mustangs. The team is young with only three experienced seniors back. One freshman, forward Jessica Long, and one sophomore, forward Lindsay Scoggins, will start. Gone is top defender Kim Tolbert who is playing at the College of Notre Dame. Tolbert could dominate any game against any team, said Holden. No one is around with the talent of a Tolbert, and Holden already is looking forward to two years down the road when she hopes the program will bear fruit from some stability on the junior varsity squad, which has 18 new players. The 18 players are far more than in past years when Meade was fortunate to field a JV team of 11. Many of those 18 newcomers are products of an intramural program at MacArthur Middle School that should start feeding Holden some talent on a regular basis.
North County Knights 1994 record: 0-12. Coach: Brian Bowles (first year).
Top players: Paige Strehlen, Sr., M; Lauren Nowell, Jr., F; Kristy Barnes, Jr., F; Sarah Zaruba, Soph., F; Kim Blahut, Jr., D; Julie Kniess, Soph., D.
Outlook: There isn't a whole lot of good news coming out of the North County field hockey program these days. The former coach, Julie Schubert, has been forced to the sidelines with a broken leg that is healing slowly. Only one senior (Strehlen) returns to the lineup from an 0-12 team. And Bowles already is calling it a transition year. But there is help on the horizon from the girls lacrosse team, and the track team has produced a speedy Zaruba who was on a state championship relay team last spring. Eight members of the girls lacrosse team decided to come out for field hockey, bringing the total to 25 trying out for the team. Bowles believes other lacrosse players will continue to come out for field hockey in the next several years, giving him hope for respectability a couple of years down the road. "Right now, aggression will take us where it can until we get the numbers and talent in the program," he said.
Old Mill Patriots 1994 record: 4-4-3. Coach: Jo Funk (sixth year).
Top players: Amy Scott, Sr., G; Emily Fetzler, Sr., M; Sarah Moran, Sr., M; Katie Robuck, Sr., F; Kerri Tindall, Sr., M; Jenne Taylor, Jr., M; Jen Boyer, Jr., M.
Outlook: A strange thing happened to Funk this season. She threw a field hockey party, actually varsity tryouts, for 21 freshmen and only four of them showed up. That does not bode well for the future, especially because Funk had worked hard at middle schools in the area to encourage youngsters to come out for the team. She also sent Old Mill varsity players into the middle schools to talk to the girls. "I don't know what happened," said Funk. "Maybe the girls are terrified about playing field hockey. But we'll keep working at it." For now, the Patriots will have to get by with 10 juniors, two sophomores and the five seniors. Scott is one of the seniors and was forced into the goal when projected first-team goalie, junior Rebecca Hall, came down with a stomach virus and could not play in a scrimmage against Spalding. Scott had hoped to be a field player but agreed to replace Hall and it proved to be a major lift for Old Mill. "Amy pumped us up the way she played," said Funk. "I needed someone who could react to the ball and she came through after making a commitment to play in the goal." Tindall is expected to miss most of the season with a lung problem but should be back for the playoffs.
@St. Mary's Saints 1994 record: 9-4-4. Coach: Patti Lavell (second year).
Top players: Katie Busik, Sr., F; Natalie Brookman, Jr., F; Shannon Willett, Sr., G; Shannon Riek, Sr., F; Dana Rigot, Sr., D; ++ Ashley Rusk, Jr., F.
Outlook: When a team loses only two starters from a 9-4-4 squad and most of its players have played together for three years, it isn't going out on a limb too much to shoot for 12 wins. That is exactly what Lavell has in mind for her independent team, which plays more games (17) than anybody in the county except Severn (also 17). "These girls are pretty good," said Lavell. "We play one of the best schedules around and hopefully we'll get in the AIS A Conference next season." Brookman scored 11 goals as a sophomore and her quickness is typical of the overall quickness St. Mary's has on offense. Most of the Saints' players compete in the Severna Park summer league and they gain the skills necessary to compete with the best field hockey schools in the area. The Saints will play perennial No. 1 power Severna Park, Severn in a big homecoming game, Spalding, McDonogh, Seton Keough and John Carroll.
Severn Admirals 1994 record: 14-3. Coach: Irene Sotiropoulis (first year).
Top players: Beth Freedlander, Jr., F; Meghan Bauer, Sr., F; Amy Galebach, Jr., D; Liz Edsall, Sr., D; Jess Burke, Sr., F/M; Kelly Mahan, Sr., F.Outlook: No one could ever accuse this squad of dodging the best teams in the area. Severn plays in the top league in the area (AIS A Conference) and still dares to open its season against powerful Severna Park. The Admirals were beaten, 3-2, by the Falcons in their season opener last Thursday but Sotiropoulis says her team is ready to take on the likes of Roland Park, Garrison Forest and McDonogh in the AIS A Conference. "I have no concerns about our team," said Sotiropoulis. "I've been pleased with the way we've played in scrimmages and if we continue to pull together we'll be as good as we were last year." Burke was the leading scorer last year and is expected to score a lot again. Mahan drew praise from Sotiropoulis for her aggressive play.
Severna Park Falcons 1994 record: 16-0. Coach: Lil Shelton (21st year).
Top players: Becky Shank, Sr., D; Melissa Reynolds, Sr., D; Sarah Horn, Sr., F; Jill Cook, Sr., F; Athena Mahoney, Sr., F; Amy Noble, Jr., F; Laura Snider, Jr., G; Krista Bowerman, Soph., D; Ani Mason, Sr., M.
Outlook: Shank is a typical Severna Park field hockey player. She already has played on three straight state 4A championship teams and still has one year left. Last year, it was Shank who
sent the Falcons to the state tournament for the 10th straight time when she scored the deciding stroke in a third set of strokes against Chesapeake in the 4A East Region finals. Shanks is one of 12 seniors on a team that will be disappointed if it does not make it four straight state titles. When those 12 seniors leave, there will be more than enough talent to take their place, thanks to a JV team that has not lost a game in 17 years.
@Southern Bulldogs 1994 record: 1-10-1. Coach: Carolyn Knowles (eighth year).
Top players: Missy Bond, Sr., F; Kristy King, Sr., F/M; Jessie Dixon, Sr., G; Jillian Williams, Jr., F; Laura Hudgins, Jr., F; Ruth Rupp, Jr., MF; Lisa Silor, Jr., D.
Outlook: Field hockey is still relatively new to this part of the county and no one knows that better than Knowles who is trying to make the Bulldogs respectable. There are no summer field hockey programs in the area, forcing the girls to drive one hour to Severna Park if they want to get expert instruction from Falcons' coach Lil Shelton. This is just the 10th year for field hockey at Southern and Knowles has been on the scene all but the first two. She finally got enough players out for the team last year to put together the school's first junior varsity field hockey squad. That proved to be a major boost to the program, as a record 36 girls showed up this year to try out. With more players to pick from and the team coming off a win and a tie in their final two games last season, there is some enthusiasm around the program. "At least half the team has been new every year in the past," said Knowles. "But this year we have more experience than usual. It's not anything like Severna Park, which has 60 or more girls show up for tryouts and you have to go to camp to make the team, but it's a start."
South River Seahawks 1994 record: 1-11. Coach: Camille McMains (first year).
Top players: Lauren Waleryszak, Jr., F; Jessica Rice, Sr., D; Meg Woody, Sr., D.
Outlook: Waleryszak is an exception to the rule at South River. She is a skilled player who takes the game very seriously and is good enough to get involved in futures camp. The Seahawks, whose only victory last year came over Southern, obviously need more players like Waleryszak and they need some stability in the coaching ranks. The school has never had the same head coach two years in a row. McMains sees some hope for the future. Forty-six players tried out for field hockey, which is great compared to past years when there were barely enough players to field a team. Some of the increase in interest can be attributed to Davidsonville starting a field hockey recreation program. "Maybe they heard they would have a good time. Maybe we finally have a group of youngsters who appreciate field hockey," McMains said. Thirty of the 46 were freshmen and aren't ready to help the varsity yet.