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Young St. James squad drops first game against Vikings

September 09, 1999

St. James vs. VikingsBy DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




ST. JAMES - As the St. James girls soccer team came out of its first-ever halftime break Wednesday, the Saints were greeted by a homemade sign to run through as they returned to the pitch.

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And after a rousing "1-2-3-Saints!" the team took off for a run through the banner, but didn't break it. A few chuckles and shoulder shrugs later, the Saints started the second half while the fans took the still-intact banner and rolled it up.

The banner, like the Saints, will be back for the next game, but both got their shots in as St. James dropped its inaugural game, 4-1, to St. John's at Prospect Hall.

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"They were real excited, but we're just super young," coach Chris Hughes said. "Our freshmen are basically our seniors."

Indeed, if this was the junior-senior prom, the Saints would need a lot of invitations. A seventh-grader, three eighth-graders and two freshmen start up front, but the team's defense is anchored by two seniors and two sophomores, a group that kept St. James in the game early against the taller and older Vikings.

"That's just experience," Hughes said. "After a little bit, the girls will realize that bigger is not always better."

But it proved to be enough Wednesday, as the Vikings got a pair of goals from Liz Brokaw and a tally from Kim Henry for a 3-0 lead. After a corner kick richocheted into the St. James net for a 4-0 lead in the 68th minute, the Saints finally put a run together.

Several passes off the kickoff put the ball on the left side, where Kelly Salvagno found Courtney Holzapfel. The eighth-grader lofted a 15-yard shot over the head of Heather Showers for the first goal in St. James history, and set off an impromptu dance back up the field by Holzapfel.

"It was real nice to break the ice and get that first goal, and a good goal at that," Hughes said. "We were talking about that before - that whoever scored first would be making a little history.

"Then we had our first scrimmage and we didn't score then, either. So I think this will loosen us up a little bit."

St. James has an ambitious first-year schedule that features two games against area top-10 squads Martinsburg and St. Maria Goretti and MVAL member South Hagerstown.

But for Hughes and the Saints, it's the right way to start things off.

"It's our first year, so people are going to look over us naturally," Hughes said. "I like that; it's nice to take teams by surprise. Now, we just have to go out and take advantage."

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