Francis Scott Key Eagles
1998 record: 6-9
Coach: Bonnie Grauch
Top players: Jen Robertson, Sr., G; Jessica Barley, Sr., MF; Emily Cyford, Sr., FB; Natalie Nicholson, Jr., wing.
Outlook: Grauch, who takes over the varsity after seven years as JV coach, said the team has a lot of potential. Nine seniors return, including standout goalie Robertson. The defense, led by Cyford, appears to be the strong suit, though Grauch continues to look for a scorer -- possibly Nicholson. Better offensive production may be the key if the Eagles expect to move into the upper echelon of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. After coaching many of her current players over the last couple of seasons, she said stepping up the varsity presents somewhat different challenges. "I don't have to teach them soccer," said Grauch. "I just have to teach them how to be a team." The Eagles open at home against Smithsburg Sept. 7.
1998 record: 9-7-1
Coach: Victor Aulestia
Top players: Michelle Allen, Sr., F; Kelly Fiorani, So., F; Crystal Rivas, Jr., D-MF; Jessica Roguski, Sr., MF; Becky Podobnik, Jr., F-MF.
Outlook: The Lions have a new coach, long-time club coach Aulestia, as well as a new philosophy. Gone are the days of staying back in a defensive posture. Instead, this team will take more chances in an aggressive attacking mode. The roster is filled with top players from last spring's Class 3A state finalist lacrosse team, including Allen (15 goals, 10 assists), a first team All-County soccer player last year and the county's 1997 Player of the Year. Also returning are first-team selections Fiorani (four, three as a freshman) and Rivas, the team's top defender. Five starters return to a 21-player roster, up from last year's 17. Still, Aulestia calls this season a "developmental year." The Lions open at home against Fallston Sept. 7.
North Carroll Panthers
1998 record: 11-6-1
Coach: Jim McDonald
Top players: Katie Riley, So., A; Lacey Hentz, Jr., A; Jamie Tunney, So., A; Jen Lee, Jr., D; Amy Bromwell, Jr., D; Beth Reeb, Sr., G.
Outlook: The Panthers return eight starters from a team that tied South Carroll for the county title and advanced to the Class 3A state title game before losing to Leonardtown, 2-1. Replacing the three starters, however, may be the biggest challenge. Helping soften the blow somewhat will be the return of third-leading scorer Riley. Hoping to bolster the offense, McDonald will attempt to switch both Lacey Hentz and Tunney from defense to offense. Reeb is a third-year starter in goal. The Panthers open their season Sept. 3 against Notre Dame Prep.
South Carroll Cavaliers
1998 record: 9-5-1
Coach: Jim Horn
Top players: Leah Onda, Jr., D; Katie Hancock, Sr., D; Sandy Lagana, Sr., MF; Kim Bowers, Sr., MF; Chrissy Murphy, Sr., striker.
Outlook: The Cavaliers return 12, including their top three scorers and the heart of their defense. Junior Jen Conaway will attempt to fill large shoes in goal and will back up a stingy defensive unit -- Hancock, Onda, senior Kellan Webb and junior Kim Lowry. Hancock, Onda and Webb were first team All-County picks a year ago. Scoring is a concern, but the experience of top-scorer Murphy -- honorable mention All-County last season -- and fellow senior attackers Diana Bolard and Kylie Skinner, as well as senior midfielders Bowers, Lagana, Katie Gardner and Michele Hollars, should prove effective. The Cavaliers open their season at Glenelg on Sept. 7.
1998 record: 6-10
Coach: Bryan Shumaker
Top players: Mandy Komar, Sr., MF; Tricia Teal, Sr., A-MF; Rachel Lindsay, Sr., A; Amanda Hartman, Sr., MF; Heidi Hurtt, Sr., MF; Amy Ridgely, Sr., G; Becky Ridgeway, Sr., sweeper.
Outlook: After losing five games last year either in the last five minutes or overtime, the Owls hope to pull out the close ones this season. Ten seniors return, including eight who started at various times last year. The key among them is Komar, a first-team All-County, All-Conference and All-State choice last season and a likely Player of the Year candidate this time around. Komar had 14 goals and double-digit assists a year ago, and recently was one of only 64 players to try out for the Under-17 national team. Joining her will be Lindsay, another first team All-County pick, who scored nine goals, and Teal, a former defender who Shumaker will try on offense. Goalie Ridgely, an honorable mention All-County selection, drew high praise in limited action last season despite her 5-4 frame. The Owls showed potential last fall, beating perennial power McDonogh, 3-2, and losing in overtime to Severna Park. The team opens tomorrow at Hereford.
Pub Date: 9/02/99