QA’s, KI, Eas­ton look­ing strong again

North’s 2A teams hop­ing to re­main healthy, end South’s dom­i­nance in Bay­side

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

No sport in the his­tory of Bay­side Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship play has been as lop­sided as girls’ soc­cer.

In the 19 years since the Bay­side be­gan play­ing a girls’ soc­cer ti­tle game, only once has a North team been vic­to­ri­ous, that com­ing in 2009 when Queen Anne’s County High de­feated Park­side in a shootout.

Win­ner of nine of the last 11 Bay­side ti­tles, Park­side fig­ures to again be strong this year along with fel­low South­ern heavy­weights Stephen De­catur and James M. Ben­nett.

Lin­ing up with hopes of putting a dent in that South­ern dom­i­nance, will be the North’s four Class 2A schools — Queen Anne’s, Eas­ton, Kent Is­land and North Car­o­line. No 1A team from the North has ever reached the con­fer­ence fi­nal, and not since Snow Hill won back-to­back crowns in 1998 and ‘99 has a South 1A qual­i­fied for the ti­tle game.

“Park­side’s go­ing to be real strong,” said Queen Anne’s head coach Mike Kern, whose team lost 4-0 to the Rams in last year’s Bay­side fi­nal, then suf­fered a 2-1 over­time loss to Park­side in the 2A East play­offs. “And De­catur’s al­ways go­ing to be strong. Ben­nett’s go­ing to be tough, too.”

The usual sus­pects also look strong in the North.

De­spite grad­u­at­ing mid­field­ers Emily D’Or­sa­neo and Charley Rek­stis, for­ward Merry Hig­gin­botham, and stop­per Allyson Frank, the North Bay­side player of the year and a sec­ond-team all­state se­lec­tion last sea­son, Queen Anne’s re­turns a tal­ented, ex­pe­ri­enced cast. The key will be keep­ing ev­ery­one healthy.

“If we can stay to­gether as a group and play to­gether as a team, I think we should be pretty com­pet­i­tive,” Kern said.

Keep­ing the group to­gether was a prob­lem last sea­son as Queen Anne’s lost al­most half a dozen play­ers to in­jury, yet still man­aged to win its 13th divi­sion ti­tle in 19 years. The Lions fig­ure to be a se­ri­ous threat for a third con­sec­u­tive North crown this sea­son and look sound ev­ery­where on the field.

Se­nior goal­keeper Emma Hill, an honor­able-men­tion, all-state choice a year ago, is back, but could also see time away from the net. When Hill, who is headed for Salisbury Univer­sity, is not mak­ing saves, se­nior BB Mon­toya will step be­tween the posts.

Se­nior sweeper Abby Folker, a first-team North Bay­side pick last year, heads a de­fense that last sea­son sur­ren­dered a divi­sion-low 13 goals. She’ll be joined by sev­eral fa­mil­iar faces, in­clud­ing sopho­more stop­per Tayrn Pa­trick and se­nior backs Emily Poad, Madi­son As­cione and Me­gan Luke­hart.

“They all had plenty of time back there,” Kern said of his de­fense.

Se­nior Ju­lia Reed re­turns to the mid­field, where she’ll be teamed with sopho­mores Shan­non Dono­van and Kiwi Wad­dell, ju­nior Kait­lyn Stiegerwald, and fresh­man Abby Blan­chard.

A four-year var­sity player, Sa­vanna Cor­co­ran is back on the front line, along with fresh­man Shyann Sey­mour.

“We have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence back,” said the Lions’ 16-year head coach. “The prob­lem is we’ve only had one play day (two scrim­mages were can­celed). So it’s kind of tough be­cause we re­ally haven’t had that abil­ity to see how we are against other peo­ple.”

Kern and com­pany will get that chance to see what they can do against other peo­ple to­day when they host Snow Hill at 5:30 p.m. in their sea­son opener.

Here’s a look at this year’s lo­cal teams:

Kent County Head Coach: Rachel Keiser

Who’s Where: Goal­keeper: Paulina Panas (So.); Alexis Lan­gen­felder (Fr.); Backs: Mag­gie Jones (Sr.); Zoe Panas (Sr.); Lau­ren Ed­wards (Jr.); Shan­non Ha­ley (Sr.); Sarah Cataldo (Sr.); Car­ley Pete (Jr.); Al­li­son Black (So.); Mid­field: El­iz­a­beth Wal­ters (Jr.); Taylor Wal­ters (So.); Au­drey Helfen­bein (Sr.); Lo­gan Pin­der (Fr.); Grace Boege (So.); For­wards: Kait­lyn Jones (Sr.); Jaime Heavlow (So.); Teira John­son (Jr.); Mar­ili Ruiz (So.).

Out­look: Keiser goes from as­sis­tant to head coach and in­her­its a team that al­lowed the fewest goals (15) next to Queen Anne’s in the North last year. Of course a big part of that de­fense, keeper Alyssa Ken­dall, grad­u­ated, but Keiser likes what she’s seen from front to back.

“They’ve worked re­ally hard to bal­ance out and work to­gether,” Keiser said of all three of her units. “They know

after los­ing Alyssa that they all need to step it up a notch and help where needed.”

Kent Is­land Head Coach: L ynda Ke­p­ley

Who’s Where: Goal­keeper: Madi Banks (So.); Backs: Cas­sidy Creighton (So.); Natalie Schilling (Sr.); Mor­gan Gunn (So.); Mid­field: Bri­anna Mil­lett (Sr.); Jade Ewing (Sr.); Grace Schilling (Jr.); For­wards: Ally Heath (So.); Brooke Groves (Sr.).

Out­look: Only one team scored more goals than the 8-6 Buc­ca­neers (54 goals) a year ago, and that was Queen Anne’s (54). Ke­p­ley has a solid nu­cleus re­turn­ing, in­clud­ing Creighton, Mil­lett, Grace Schilling and Groves, all of who were se­lected to the North coaches’ 2A first team last sea­son.

“They have great at­ti­tudes. They have a great work ethic,” Ke­p­ley said. “They’re re­ally bond­ing to­gether as a team. They’re work­ing hard in or­der to be the best they can be, and I think they’re go­ing to be a good team.”

Gun­ston Head Coach: Jon Mellinger

Who’s Where: Goal­keeper: Ryleigh Paskoski (Jr.); Backs: Alice Agee (Sr.); Momoka Watan­abe (Jr.); Emma Hot­tel (Jr.); Marisa Pis­apia (So.); Mid­field: Maddy Romberger (Sr.); An­neliese Clair (So.); Lily Phipps (So.); Cedar Fos­ter (Fr.); For­wards: Me­gan Prochaska (So.); Natalie Prochaska (Sr.).

Out­look: Mellinger, who helped coach a boys’ team in Maine to a New Eng­land cham­pi­onship, takes over as head coach for Frank Ogens.

The Herons have only three re­turn­ing se­niors, who Mellinger thinks will be the core of the team.

“Those three se­niors we’re go­ing to lean on pretty heav­ily in terms of lead­er­ship,” Mellinger said. “All three of them are starters. Alice, Maddy and Natalie are great play­ers, and what’s nice about that is, you go down the cen­ter of the field and you are go­ing to hit a se­nior.”

In ad­di­tion to play­ing in the Eastern Shore In­de­pen­dent Ath­letic Con­fer­ence again, Gun­ston will also be a part of the North­ern Mary­land Soc­cer League this sea­son, which in­cludes Jemicy, West Not­ting­ham, FCA and Cristo Rey.

“We had a unique op­por­tu­nity to join with those teams,

as well to just kind of di­ver­sify our port­fo­lio,” Mellinger said of the new league. “The girls are go­ing to play a lot of games but it’s go­ing to be a great ex­pe­ri­ence.” Saints Peter and Paul Head Coach: Jess Kile Who’s Where: Goal­keeper: So­phie Marciniak (So.); Backs: Jill Koski (Jr.); Jen­nifer Dou­glas (Sr.); Karis Ward (Fr.); Me­gan Hickey (Sr.); Mid­field: Cat Chris­tian (So.); Car­o­line Shilling (Fr.); Kaely Row­land (So.); Sam Kyle (Sr.); For­wards: Sarah Rust (Jr.); Car­o­line Mur­phy (Jr.).

Out­look: The Sabres’ streak of five con­sec­u­tive ESIAC cham­pi­onships was ended by Worces­ter Prep last sea­son. Kile re­turns the bulk of that squad, which fig­ures to make a strong push to re­gain what it lost last year.

“Right now they are look­ing phe­nom­e­nal. I couldn’t be hap­pier,” Kile said. “It’s pretty even the whole way through. Even the peo­ple com­ing off the bench, they just kind of mesh re­ally well to­gether. It all just kind of flows.”

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Sa­vanna Cor­co­ran and Queen Anne’s County will bid for their 14th North Bay­side ti­tle in 20 years this fall.

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