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Starting 6-0, St. Mary's girls shrug off loss of key players

Having graduated the metro area's top player, an All-Metro midfielder and the program's all-time leading goal scorer, it's easy to think the St. Mary's girls soccer team would have needed time to adjust this season.

Think again.

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The No. 4 Saints (6-0) have gone about business as usual - winning - with some experienced players stepping to the front and some new ones learning fast.

"I think it's built on the previous years," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin, "We've got kids who have been around for a long time and learned how to win, and the younger kids have been competitive."

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Tobin's Saints have won the past three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference crowns.

Four-year seniors Jennifer Dunbar and Erin Spaniol have taken charge of a Saints defense that last year featured All-Metro Player of the Year Ashly Kennedy, who is now playing at Maryland.

With eight goals, senior Jamie Latta has picked up the scoring slack left by Mary Key. And while no one player has kept the midfield intact like All-Metro standout Sarah Sample did last season, a collective, hard-working effort has solidified the middle.

While Tobin and the Saints are excited about their start, they know things are only going to get tougher.

It starts today when they open their IAAM schedule against No. 7 John Carroll and continues through a demanding, two-week-plus stretch that includes games against No. 2 McDonogh, No. 1 Notre Dame Prep and Washington-area powers Bishop O'Connell and Good Counsel.

"I'm obviously very, very pleased with what we've done so far, but I don't want to get too excited just yet," Tobin said. "It goes back to the old saying, 'If you can't play with the big dogs, stay on the porch.' We'll see what happens."

Big one for Broadneck

Defending Class 4A state champion Broadneck passed its first significant test of the field hockey season in Monday's 2-1 win over Arundel, relying on a familiar connection in overtime.

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The No. 13 Bruins worked a perfect fast break for the game-winner: Amy Skrickus to Rachel Bruce to Maria Depont, who scored her second of the game.

"We had a lot of offensive pressure, but couldn't get any in the cage," said Broadnck coach Melissa Quigley. "Arundel is always one of our tougher challenges, so I'm glad it's past us. We're going one game at a time."

After taking on Meade this afternoon, the Bruins will visit No. 5 Archbishop Spalding on Friday. It will mark the first time the teams have met.

Spicing the mix

In girls soccer, the rescheduled Falcon Tournament at Severna Park - set for Saturday - has some added appeal following an interesting result last week.

Westminster, which could hook up with the host and No. 6 Falcons in the tournament final, opened its season with a 2-2 draw against defending 2A state champion Century, which returned every player.

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In the tournament's first-round games, both set for 4 p.m., Westminster will take on Wilde Lake and Severna Park will play Liberty. The consolation game will begin at 6 p.m., with the title game set for 8.


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