1998 Howard County field hockey previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Atholton Raiders

1997 record: 6-5-3 overall, 3-3-3 county

Coach: Carol Ann Stevens

Classification: 2A

Top players: Shannon Sullivan, Sr., G; Courtney Lancos, Sr., D; Karen Brownlie, Jr., M; Chau Nguyen, Sr., D.

Outlook: Despite losing seven starters, Stevens is optimistic. "We have a really solid defensive lineup, and a lot of good, young talent," Stevens said. Seniors Maureen O'Hagan and Cathy Bross will help the attack, but for the most part the Raiders offense is young, Stevens said. "The offense is where our youth is and where I'm going to spend the next two weeks focusing on." Sophomores Audrey Park (midfield) and Jenny Grishman (forward) are expected to contribute. Sullivan, Lancos and Nguyen are returning starters, and Brownlie is up from the JV.

Centennial Eagles

1997 record: 9-5-1 overall, 6-2-1 county

Coach: Gail Purcell

Classification: 2A

Top players: Melissa Dugan, Sr., M/D;.Meghan McDonald, Sr., D; Liz Kurpe, Sr., M; Jessica Manzone, Sr., F; Donna Boccuzzi, Jr., G.

Outlook: "We have quite a bit of depth this year, which is something we haven't had in the past," said Purcell, who has 19 players on the varsity. Purcell said that even with the high number of players, playing time shouldn't be a problem. "We're going to be OK," Purcell said. "I have confidence in all of them. I know that I can put them in at any time we they'll be fine." The Eagles, who finished tied for second with River Hill last year in the county, has five returning starters -- Dugan, McDonald, Kurpe, Manzone and Boccuzzi. Dugan and McDonald will serve as captains. "The leadership from the seniors is phenomenal," Purcell said. "Any one of those kids could have been captain. It's just a very good group." Purcell said the team's strength will be its attack. "It's the first year that I've had eight girls trying to score goals," said Purcell. Manzone (three goals, four assists) is the leading returning scorer. Purcell said the team's "youth" is its weakness right now, but "I don't anticipate that will hamper us very long. I think this group will grow together very quickly."

Glenelg Gladiators

1997 record: 6-8-0 overall; 5-4 county

Coach: Ginger Kincaid

Classification: 1A

Top players: Krystin Brown, Sr., F; Beth Bettien, Sr., D; Lauren Buchanan, Sr., D; Danielle Howell.

Outlook: Brown, Bettien, Buchanan and Howell are returning starters and give the Gladiators a solid base to build on. "I think we have a little more depth over last year," said Kincaid. "It might take us a little while to get started, but look for us to be pretty strong at the end." Three sophomores that have shown a lot of promise and are starting are midfielder Kristina Schwartz and forwards Kelly O'Connor and Elizabeth Narrow. Jessica Swadow, up from the junior varsity, will start in goal. One concern that Kincaid has is the team's transition game. "We need experience to develop it," Kincaid said.

Glenelg Country Dragons

1997 record: 1-13-3 overall, 1-3-2 league

Coach: Barbara Brummett

League: AIS

Top players: Rachel Baron, Sr., M; Kathyren Owens, Sr., D; Molly Walker, Soph., M; Megan Reuwer, Jr., M; Liz Clark, Sr., F; Christine Cockran, Soph., F.

Outlook: "I'm really positive," Brummett said. "Last year we were so young and inexperienced. With nine returning starters I think we'll have a nice season." Brummett looks for Clark and Cockran to lead an improved offense, and Reuwer and Owens to head a solid defense. Sophomore Teresa Church is one of the new players and is competing for the starting goalie position. Brummett is hoping that last year's tough season will benefit the team now. "A year of playing together will really help this team," Brummett said.

Hammond Golden Bears

1997 record: 10-6 overall, 6-3 county

Coach: Gay Petrlik

Classification: 1A

Top players: Jessica Garvey, Sr., M; Stephanie Yezek, Sr., D; Mandy Schroeder, Sr., A; Christina Braganza, Sr., D.

Outlook: Petrlik is optimistic and with good reason. She's got nine starters returning. "It's looking better than it's looked for a long time. I'm very hopeful," said Petrlik, whose team will play on a new Bermuda grass field that is the finest in the county. Lauren Clark, a senior defenseman, and Garvey, who played in Europe over the summer, will serve as captains. Rachel Harris and Braganza will help lead the defense in front of goalie Erin Chrapaty. Four juniors that are expected to contribute are forwards Amy Hafets, Lauren Snyder and Andrea Feldstein and midfielder Courtney Vaughn. The Golden Bears also are glad to have Adrienne Fenemore, a senior exchange student from New Zealand. "She good. She has some skills," Petrlik said. With so many returning starters and half of the 18-player squad seniors, Petrlik lists experience as the team's top strength. Team members also played together over the summer.

Howard Lions

1997 record: 1-11-1 overall, 0-8-1 county

Coach: Lisa Brecher

Classification: 2A

Top players: Melissa Taylor, Jr., G; Kim Palmer, Jr., M; Anne Lee, Sr., F; Sophie Dress, Soph., D; Lauren Cahill, Sr., M; Sarah Lough, Jr., D; Shannon Tracy, Soph., D.

Outlook: With only four seniors on the 15-player team, the Lions are young. But that hasn't kept first-year head coach Brecher from being optimistic. "I'm very excited. It's the best team I've seen in four years," said Brecher, who was a volunteer coach three years ago and the JV coach the last two seasons. "They have skill, speed and a real passion for the game. I think they're ready to have a strong season." Eight players are up from the JV, which had a very successful season last year. "They play well as a group, and are very confident of each other," Brecher said. As of now, Brecher is coaching both the varsity and JV teams.

Long Reach Lightning

1997 record: 7-8-2 overall; 2-6-1

Coach: Kelly Snyder

Classification: 2A

Top players: Jay Lance, Jr., G; Kristen Lorch, Sr., F; Jessica Burkhardt, Jr., F; Bridgette Burkhardt, Jr., M; Theresa Heston, Jr. D.

Outlook: In its first season two years ago, the Lightning went winless. Last year it won seven games, including a 2-1 decision over perennial power Centennial. "Last year was a big improvement. Now we have to go a step further," said Snyder, whose team returns nine starters. "We're definitely shooting for a winning record in the county," said Snyder, whose team lost, 1-0, last year in the South Region final. Synder is changing the team's formation this season to emphasize offense. "It's either really going to work to our advantage," Snyder said, "or put us in a bad way." Long Reach's defense is solid, led by All-County goalie Lance. "We rely on her a lot," Snyder said of Lance, who has started for Team Maryland the last two years. "Now we have to have a combination of both [defense and offense]. We need strong defense and a shooting offense. That's what we're hoping for." Long Reach is without its top two scorers from last year. An Nguyen (six goals) graduated and Dawn Reichle (four goals) tore her anterior cruciate ligament last winter and is out for the season. Lorch (two goals, five assists) is the top returning scorer. Snyder is also hoping for offensive contributions from freshman Shelby Ornoff and sophomore Brandi Franks.

Mount Hebron Vikings

1997 record: 14-2-1 overall, 8-0-1 county

Coach: Jeannette Ireland

Classification: 2A

Top players: Katie Jeschke, Jr., F; Tammi Slater, Sr., D; Leigh Langmead, Jr., F; Polly Purcell, Jr., F; Liz Eberhart, Jr., M; Katelyn Hoffman, Jr., G.

Outlook: Seven starters return from last year's team that won the county championship and was a Class 2A state finalist. Is this team as good? "It's too early to tell," Ireland said, "but the potential is definitely there. Right now there are a lot of unknowns." Most of those question marks center around the midfield position, where Eberhart is the only returning starter. "We look like a young team," Ireland said. "We're working on being in the right position at the right time, and to anticipate so we're not running the field all the time." Another key, Ireland said, is for her midfielders to make sure they can recover in time to help the defense. Jeschke was first-team All-County last year, scoring six goals and adding four assists. Purcell (five goals, six assists), Eberhart, Slater and Hoffman were all second-team All-County selections. Jeschke, Purcell, Eberhart and Hoffman all played in Europe over the summer. Slater and senior defender Becky Phillips, a returning starter, will serve as captains for the Vikings, who have five seniors and 10 juniors on the team. The two-time county champions won nine one-goal games last season, six of them by 1-0.

Oakland Mills Scorpions

1997 record: 3-11-1 overall, 2-6-1 league

Coach: Chris Marsiglia

Classification: 1A

Top players: Dawn Christensen, Sr., F; Jamie Sauer, Sr., G; Dena Glisan, Sr., F.

Outlook: Marsiglia is upbeat about her team. "It's definitely a more competitive team than last year," Marsiglia said. She added that the squad is easy to work with, and that it is "more cohesive, more intense and more balanced" than last year's group. Christensen, Sauer and Glisan are all returning starters. Christensen, who led the team last year in scoring (four goals, three assists) and Glisan (three goals) will serve as captains. Sauer, an alternate goalie on Team Maryland, had an 85 percent save mark last season. Marsiglia said the Scorpions will "play a different system" this season. "We're focusing on attack this year," she said. "We're hoping to score more goals." Marsiglia also is counting on solid contributions from seniors Meghan Riley (defense) and Tania Chapasko (offense). With 14 varsity players -- leaving only three substitutes -- Marsiglia said that her players must be in shape.

River Hill Hawks

1997 record: 9-4-2 overall, 6-2-1 county

Coach: Martha Henderson

Classification: 2A

Top players: Kristi Kruger, Jr., F; Heather Doyle, Sr., M; Lindsey Startt, Jr., F; Dana Rupprecht, Sr., D.

Outlook: The Hawks' midfield includes some of their most talented players, but because they are inexperienced playing together, there might be a few bumps in the road early. "It's just a matter of them playing together," said Henderson. "Once they get familiar with each other I think we'll be right up there in the top three again." Playing in its second season last year, River Hill improved by five wins and tied Centennial for second place in the county. Kruger, who was second in the county last year in goals with nine, will head the offense. Rupprecht and Jessica Weeks lead a strong defensive unit. Doyle, who scored two goals and had four assists as a forward last season, is a midfielder this year. She played defense two years ago as a sophomore. "She has a lot of skills," Henderson said of Dole. "You can utilize her all over the field." Three juniors up from the JV who will contribute are goalie Carly Jones and midfielders Lindsay Zumbrun and Kelly Magruder. Junior midfielder Amanda Bile also will get significant playing time. Kruger and Rupprecht will serve as captains.

Wilde Lake Wildecats

1997 record: 3-10-1 overall, 2-6-1 county

Coach: Laurie Donnelly

Classification: 3A

Top players: Kathleen Jackson, Soph., F; Julie Bergin, Jr., F; Stephanie Ford, Sr., M.

Outlook: First-year coach Donnelly, who served the last two years as JV coach, was pleased with her team's scrimmage last week against Bryn Mawr. "I think they learned that if they want to be a good team they can do it," Donnelly said. "But they have to work all the time." Besides Jackson, Bergin and Ford, all returning starters, Donnelly expects contributions from four juniors up from the JV -- goalie Emily Sawyer, midfielder Liz Ketner, midfielder Shayna Brause and defenseman Catherine Tsien. Sawyer and Annie Troutman will split goaltending duties. "They're both very close in ability," Donnelly said. Donnelly, who was a field hockey and lacrosse referee, said she was "really stressing a team attitude" this season and "working real hard on conditioning." She added that the midfield and defense have improved, but the Wildecats lack a strong attack. "We're working on that," Donnelly said.

Top 15

1. Severna Park

2. Westminster

3. St. Paul's

4. Roland Park

5. Francis Scott Key

6. Bryn Mawr

7. Garrison Forest

8. Bel Air

9. North Carroll

10. Notre Dame Prep

11. Mount Hebron

12. Severn

13. Towson

14. Hereford

15. Chesapeake-AA

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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