Is there a conspiracy going on at Centennial? How else does one explain the strange turn of events that has befallen the girls soccer and field hockey teams?
A year ago, the soccer team went 18-0 en route to the 3A-4A state title. Now, it is 0-2.
The field hockey team finished 14-1 last year, losing in the 3A state semifinals. Now, it is 0-2.
What in the world is going on?
"I don't know. I can't figure it out right now," said Centennial field hockey coach Gail Purcell after her team's 1-0 loss Wednesday at C.M. Wright. "Their talent surpasses anything they have shown me the last two games. I still say this year's team is better than last year's group, but they can't get it together."
Purcell said she was "frustrated" after her team's 2-0 loss to Westminster last week. But her emotions changed a little after Wednesday's defeat.
"I'm very angry with them right now because they're capable of so much more, because they're not playing up to their potential," she said.
The No. 9 Eagles will try again for their first win today against Glenelg Country School.
Before the season started, soccer co-coach Dave Greenberg talked about how "fortunate" his team was last year. "If we needed a goal, we got it," he said.
So far this season, the Eagles have been on the short end of close games, losing, 1-0, to C.M. Wright and, 2-1, to Franklin. Centennial, C.M. Wright and Franklin are all in the top 10.
"We deserved to lose that game," Greenberg said of the loss to C.M. Wright. "We didn't work hard enough. We forgot what it takes to beat good teams."
Against Franklin, Greenberg said: "We played harder, we just got beat. There were many more positives in the Franklin game."
Greenberg and co-coach Kevin Flynn made some lineup changes after the loss to C.M. Wright, and Greenberg said they are "still in the process of learning where people should be playing to best help our team."
He added that with four freshmen getting extensive playing time, "our youth has been showing."
"I'm not that discouraged," said Greenberg, whose team will play host to Westminster today. "I think we'll still be a good team when it's all said and done."
Howard is still perfect
Howard's girls soccer team, which reached the regional semifinals last year, is off to a 4-0 start, the best since Dave Vezzi took over the program four years ago.
"When I looked at the schedule, I knew there was a chance that we could be 4-0 at the start," said Vezzi. "We don't have any superstars, but we have some good quality players."
One of them is Alyssa Gamaldo, who along with Karen Krupka and Meg Cronin, is a four-year starter.
"I'm excited, but I try to take one game at a time," said Gamaldo, who plays sweeper. "We're a good team. We have the potential to be one of the best."
"We really click together," said sophomore midfielder Sarah Campbell, who leads the team with six goals. "Everybody knows each other and we're good friends.
"This year, unlike last year, we have more of a passing game. We're playing under control and with confidence, especially in the midfield." "
Howard plays host to No. 4 C.M. Wright on Tuesday. "That will be a big game for us," said Vezzi.
Wildecats vs. Bears
While other field hockey teams don't begin playing county opponents until the first week in October, Wilde Lake (0-4) and Hammond (1-3) meet today.
Hammond coach Gay Petrlik said goalie Katie Reytar has done a good job. "We certainly have given her a workout," Petrlik said. "She's done well."
Wilde Lake coach Karen Doerrler said Alex Roe and Jen Frieman, both links, have played well.
Miller stands out
After watching Leslie Miller defend Fallston's outstanding forward Beth Blasi earlier this week, Oakland Mills soccer coach Steve Matters called his sophomore "one of the top marking backs in the state. She can mark anybody."