Wilde Lake senior goalkeeper Sarah Hobart has watched a number of county soccer games. Today, after two years of waiting, she'll finally play in one.
"It's been so long. I'm excited," said Hobart, a highly competitive and spirited athlete who has battle injuries the past two seasons. "I had such high expectations for myself, and now I finally get to show what I can do. Hopefully, Wilde Lake will be a force to be reckoned with this season."
Hobart tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee playing summer basketball and missed her sophomore season. She played in a few non-league games early last season before she cracked her pelvis in a club game exactly a year ago today.
But that's history. The Wildecats (3-1-1) play at Hammond (3-2) in the league opener for both teams, and Hobart is more than ready.
"It's always big playing in the county because the county is so strong," said Hobart, who has allowed three goals this season. "I've never done it before. It will be nice."
And no one expects Hobart to play well more than herself.
"Putting a certain amount of pressure on myself makes it fun," Hobart said. "It gets your adrenaline pumping and makes you play better." Wilde Lake coach Marcy Leonard said Hobart has "played very well this season. She has three shutouts." And just as important, Leonard said, has been Hobart's leadership.
"She's a leader on the field, not just to the defense, but the whole team," Leonard said. "She leads by example. And they listen to her and respect her for not only what she brings to the team as a player, but what she brings to the team as a person."
An Olympic Development Program player for four seasons, Hobart has a goal to play at a Division I school. And because of her determination, she is very close to making that happen.
Hobart spent the weekend on an official recruiting trip to Davidson College, where Oakland Mills' graduate Ginny Dye had a very successful career before graduating this year.
"I loved it," said Hobart, who has a 3.87 grade-point average. "It's really strong academically and the team is really good."
Hobart also is considering Richmond, Loyola and Wake Forest.
It seems like long ago when Hobart played for the junior varsity her freshman season. Now, finally she is healthy.
Well, almost healthy.
She has a sore throat.
"I can see an ACL getting in the way, but not a sore throat," Hobart said. "I'll be ready."
Long Reach's Alison West, who has not played this soccer season because of an injured left ankle, will find out the extent of the injury tomorrow when she sees the results of a magnetic resonance imaging she had last week.
West, who has been running and juggling, is hopeful she can play Thursday at Mount Hebron. West recently took a recruiting trip to the University of Florida, and also visit William & Mary and Kentucky.
Mount Hebron's Julie Napolitano, who sat out last week nursing an injured right ankle, is expected to play today at Howard.
No. 1 ranked Centennial plays host to No. 3 ranked River Hill at 5:15 p.m. today in what could be a preview of the county championship. Should the Eagles and Hawks win their respective divisions, which they are favored to do, they would meet for the second time Nov. 1.