They say it takes a special breed to be a goalkeeper in any sport.
Severna Park senior soccer goalie Shannon Chaney is special in many ways.
Her teammates tell her every day they wish they could figure out a way to clone her.
"They want one of me in the goal and one of me at striker," said Chaney. "That makes me feel real important. I'm having a lot of fun playing for this team."
Imagine Chaney, all 5-foot-11 of her, flying down the field on a fast break at one end of the field, and also being at the other end to smother almost every shot with her athletic ability and size.
On weekdays, high school soccer fans get to see the goalkeeper side of Chaney (42 shutouts and 23 goals allowed in 58 games).
On weekends, anybody who watches the Under-19 Rangers club team play can see Chaney operate as a striker (five goals in seven games for the 7-0 Rangers).
Severna Park coach Joyce Stefancik had visions of Chaney at striker this season for her fifth-ranked team (8-0-1).
Stefancik wasn't wild about moving Chaney out of goal but decided her need for more offense outweighed the disadvantages of not having Chaney in the net.
"But my backup goalie didn't come out for the team," said Stefancik. "We would certainly have had more offense with Shannon at striker. She is an excellent field player and very intimidating as a striker. We have scoring by committee right now. We don't have a go-to-kid. Can you imagine if you were a goalie and you had this kid [Chaney] coming at you?"
Stefancik can only speculate what might have happened against powerful Bishop O'Connell (Va.) last week if Chaney had been on offense. The teams played to a scoreless tie, the only smudge on Severna Park's record.
"Shannon is the kind of offensive talent and natural athlete who could score in a big game like that," said Stefancik. "But I also realize that she is the kind of goalkeeper who can stop the winning and tying goals in every game. She is fearless in the goal, has the innate ability to know exactly when to come out and when to stay in the goal and how to cut the angles down. You can't teach that. She also has the height to stop the high ones."
Chaney began playing at the age of 6 in Edmond, Okla., a hotbed of girls soccer where she became accomplished enough to perform in major tournaments.
Chaney, always one of the tallest girls on her youth teams, started out playing sweeper for two years before being moved to goalkeeper when she was 8.
Two years later, she moved to Severna Park and plays soccer year round in addition to being a goalkeeper on the Falcons' lacrosse team.
"I'm a little psycho out there on the field," said Chaney. "I run around like every ball is going to be mine even if it's not. I have so much energy and I love playing in the goal. I thrive on pressure. I love it when I make a big save and all my teammates are yelling for me and saying I saved the game for them."
All of which explains the biggest thrill for Chaney in her high school career.
"It was my freshman year and we were playing Old Mill in the 4A regional final," she said. "The game ended in a 2-2 tie and it came down to a shootout and Old Mill would have won if Michelle Salmon [now playing on the Maryland women's soccer team] scored on me. She came up to take the shot and was all cocky and everything like she was going to drive the ball down my throat. She kicked the ball and it went upper 90 but I deflected it over the goal posts. We then won the game on a Stephanie Roberts shot."