Cobras' slow start a sign of growing pains, coach says

The Baltimore Sun

Having lost some key players from last season's Class 1A state semifinalist team, Harford Tech boys soccer coach Andy Bleichfeld isn't too upset at the Cobras' 3-4 start.

He is confident the team is just experiencing growing pains.

"We know we have a tougher schedule this year," said Bleichfeld, whose team went 14-4-1 last year and earned the school's first trip to the state semifinals. "We know it's going to be toughening us up for the regionals. It's really going to help us."

Although they lost their top scorer as well as anchors at midfield and defense, the Cobras do have experienced players in seniors Kyle Ramsel (goalie), sweeper Robert Breton, stopper Kenny Wilson, midfielders Jimmy Haskell and Steve Landrech and junior Thomas Bright, the team's top scorer through last week.

The Cobras have some good speed this season, but Bleichfeld said his team has to stop giving up so many early goals.

"We've got some big holes to fill, and they've taken care of who they should have so far," Bleichfeld said. "Hopefully, we'll get around [giving up] the early goals."

Bleichfeld said the Cobras want to take one more step this season in the playoffs. Harford Tech made the regional semifinals three years ago and the regional finals two years ago before winning the title last year.

"They really are motivated to get back [to the final four]," said Bleichfeld, who is in his 16th season. "Just being there, the experience was something special. It's sort of cool to be there, and the crowd that followed us there was nice. They want to get back there, and I want to get back there."

Opening night

John Carroll will host the first night football game in school history on Oct. 12 when the Patriots meet St. Paul's at Gerry Gray Memorial Field.

The kickoff is set for 7 and lights are being brought in for the event. The lights are not going to be permanent, and John Carroll officials are anxious to see what type of audience a night football game attracts.

"This game is even more exciting because people attending the contest will be part of John Carroll history as they watch the first football game of this kind take place on campus after dark," athletic director Larry Dukes said. "Playing under the lights makes the game much more exciting for everyone."

Tickets are scheduled to be available at the game, but they're also being sold in advance - and are already in high demand. Tickets can be purchased by calling 410-836-8505 or e-mailing JMVol Advance purchase is recommended by school officials.

Looking for positives

Even though the No. 11 C. Milton Wright field hockey team suffered a tough 2-1 overtime loss to No. 5 Fallston in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game last week, there were still plenty of smiles on the Mustangs team.

C. Milton Wright coach Bonnie Schnell was impressed by the play of goalie Kate Vitali (15 saves) and her defense. Vitali made a number of tough stops and made Fallston work for everything.

On defense, Liz Johnson, Amanda Malkowski and Kim Schnell did a good job of keeping the ball and the Cougars attack away from Vitali. They constantly cleared the ball out of the circle and, as the game went on, pushed the ball back into the Fallston end on a regular basis.

"Our defense was phenomenal," Schnell said. "We were evenly matched."

C. Milton Wright (5-2) took a 1-0 lead when Sara Naguib scored in the fifth minute, but Fallston tied it just before the half and won it 2:41 into the overtime. Krissy Fusco got the game-tying goal with 28 seconds left in the first half, and Rachel Cooke scored the game-winner, blasting a 10-yard shot past Vitali after Fallston's 14th penalty corner of the game.

Golf championship

North Harford finished second in last week's UCBAC District VII golf championship in Elkton. Elkton won with a team score of 318, while the Hawks took second (325). Liz Silbernagle from Fallston was the female medalist (81), while C. Milton Wright's Matt Fry was the male medalist (72).

Several Harford County golfers qualified for the state tournament, which takes place Oct. 24 in College Park. In addition to Silbernagle and Fry, Julia Sizemore (Bel Air), Michelle Smith (Bel Air), Brandon Powers (Bel Air), Jacob Bays (Aberdeen), Brandon Andrews (Fallston) and Jimmy Reppert (Joppatowne) also made states.

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