McDonogh was the better field hockey team yesterday in its game at Centennial. And that was just the point.
"Everyone's main focus was to play as a team and not as individuals," said McDonogh's Kim Yeargin after the 3-0 victory. "Today was a really good showing of how we can play together."
Katie Higdon scored twice and Phyllis Byrd once as sixth-ranked McDonogh (2-0) took control early and never allowed Centennial (0-1) to get untracked. McDonogh's defense -- led by Kirsten Doub, Vanvisa Attaset and Becca Johnson -- held 13th-ranked Centennial to five shots.
"The defense is the backbone of our team," McDonogh coach Cathy Schorreck said. "It's incredibly strong."
Schorreck substituted often in the second half and moved players around to see different combinations. Still, they played well together.
"They worked well as a unit," Centennial senior midfielder Mary Christine said. "It was like they had a bond. They always knew where a teammate was going to be."
Said Higdon, a senior who lives in Centennial's school district: "This was a true team effort. Everyone gave it their all. We had a lot of fun supporting each other."
Higdon gave McDonogh a 1-0 lead with 10: 36 left in the first half.
"I shot it and the goalie [Donna Boccuzzi] saved it," Higdon said. "It came back and there was a lot of commotion in the center. We were all fighting for it and I got my stick on it and hit it across the line."
Two minutes later, Byrd scored to gave McDonogh a 2-0 halftime lead. Higdon, who had two assists in McDonogh's 4-0 win over another Howard County team, Mount Hebron, last week, scored five minutes into the second half for the final margin.
Yeargin and all-metro player Sara Herman, a 1996 junior Olympian who lives in the Wilde Lake school district, had strong games. But they had plenty of company.
"I'm really proud of all of them," said Schorreck, whose team displayed superior stick skills and passing throughout. "They played like a real team."
Added Herman: "We have a lot of potential. If we use it in the right direction, we can go far."
McDonogh is one of the top team's in the AIS A division. But Schorreck realizes there is a long season ahead.
"We're getting better, but we have a ways to go," said Schorreck, whose team had 11 penalty corners to five for Centennial. "If they keep working hard and play with heart and hustle, they'll get better and better."
Centennial coach Gail Purcell said her team "played very well the first 10 minutes, but then it kind of fell apart after that. As they got more organized, we seemed to be more disorganized."
Christine said the loss wasn't disappointing. "We saw some weaknesses and hopefully we can learn from them, the way they pass and run to the ball," Christine said. "We know we could have played better."
Pub Date: 9/10/97