'Just another game' for soccer family


Atholton coach Nancy Shea compared today's girls soccer game between the Raiders and Oakland Mills to Monopoly.

"No matter who you're playing, you try to beat your opponent," she said.

Even if it is your kin.

In today's game, which starts at 3:30 p.m. at Atholton, Shea will coach against her daughter, Megan, who is a junior midfielder for Oakland Mills. As far as the rooting interest of Shea's husband, he naturally leans toward the Scorpions.

Don Shea is the boys varsity coach for Oakland Mills, but also helps out first-year coach Susan Rosner with the girls team, which is 0-2-1.

"It's just another game," Nancy Shea said. "I don't know how it will be afterward. I guess that depends on how the game goes."

The Atholton coach said that there's been little discussion about the game in the Shea household leading up to today. And she declined to speculate what the dinner-table conversation will be like tonight.

But she did say the situation is hardly unique for her family. She has coached against her husband at the club level.

Oakland Mills is where Nancy Shea achieved one of her biggest victories. In 1992, she won a state title at the helm of the Scorpions. That was also the last time she coached at the varsity level before she accepted the job this year at Atholton.

That made her the target of some good-natured ribbing last week when she went to see a game between visiting South Carroll and Oakland Mills.

"People were asking if I was there scouting. I said, 'No, I'm here to see my daughter play,' " said Shea, who coached Atholton's JV last year. "That is one of the few games I'll get to see."

Shea is not counting today's matchup as one of those games, either. Her focus will be on the Raiders (1-2-1).

"Sometimes, [Megan] will say things like, 'Oh, you only care about Atholton,' " Shea said. "But for the most part, she keeps things in perspective pretty well. I keep telling her that this is my job. I teach at the school. This is how I make my money. It's nothing personal."

A 9/11 tribute

Centennial girls soccer coach Mike Senisi gave his team a unique homework assignment in preparation for the Eagles' game last week with Fallston, which occurred on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America.

He had each player go on the Internet and research one of the victims in the attack. He then asked them to write that person's name somewhere on their body.

"I wanted them to find someone who could best represent them, not just for today, but for the whole season," said Senisi, whose team plays an important county game today against No. 15 Glenelg. "There's more to life than just soccer. We're lucky to just be here playing."

Senior midfielder Beth Foley said the assignment focused the players on the game and made them realize the significance of playing on Sept. 11, which the school commemorated by hanging flags around the stadium. Foley scored two goals to help No. 5 Centennial beat Fallston, 5-1.

"Everybody was playing for somebody else," Foley said.

A big lift

The Centennial volleyball team is a little short on size but has gotten one of its younger players to improve in a big way.

Middle hitter Oye Imoisili, a 5-foot-10 junior, is in just her second year of organized volleyball. But as a first-year varsity starter, she has made great strides for the Eagles (2-1).

On Thursday she spearheaded the Eagles' crucial three-set win over Mount Hebron with 10 kills and just one error. She also wreaked havoc at the net with her blocking ability.

"Physically, she's gifted. ... But she's learning the volleyball game, and she's learning one of the most difficult positions just to step on the court," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "Every time out, she gets better. Her athletic ability allows her to make up for some mistakes, but she definitely picks up things quickly."

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