Soccer notes - Nicholses are playing the feud

October 11, 2000

Soccer notes - Nicholses are playing the feud

In virtually any other situation, Lainey and Chuck Nichols would both be sporting the red, white and blue of Thomas Johnson this fall, living out that dream of a father and daughter succeeding at life and on the pitch.

Not when you live in Middletown, however.

"My assistant coaches have been talking to her forever about becoming a Patriot, but we never had a chance," Chuck said. "She grew up here. ... It's been a goal of hers to wear the orange and black for a long time."

Lainey earned that Middletown varsity uniform as a freshman. She's making sure she doesn't lose the opportunity.

"She's got a great personality and she's a hard worker," Middletown coach John Miller said. "Plus, she's just talented, too. But she's stepped into a talented group. That says something."

For both of the Nicholses, it says the right decision was made.


"They've done a great job and she loves playing for John," Chuck said. "And the girls over there have been wonderful. As a parent you wonder about her being accepted and ... the older girls - Stef (Burroughs), Kim (Waeber), Lacey (Gawler), Anna (Halse) - have all been wonderful."

"Chuck is a friend of mine; we grew up together, too," Miller said. "So it's a great compliment when he can say, 'I want to see her (in Middletown) if she's not with me.' But it's a lot of pressure, too. She could have been real successful with her father."

The first Nichols vs. Nichols success tests will be played out over the next six days. TJ and Middletown, the top two teams in The Herald-Mail poll, begin a two-game series with a regular-season matchup Thursday and complete it with the Frederick County championship on Tuesday. Both games are in Frederick.

"I haven't been nervous because of him," Lainey said. "I'm nervous because of the competition. Within the county this is a real important game for both teams. Especially for us. We haven't beat them in like eight years (a 1-0 Knights victory in 1993)."

While daughter is worried about beating the players she grew up watching, dad is more concerned about seeing his little girl.

"It'll be tough when the teams are announced. ... I'm going to be very disappointed if I don't get a hug," Chuck said. "But when the game starts, she'd rather break my leg than lose a 50-50 ball."

However, neither father nor daughter is the person anticipating this series the most.

"My grandma is the one," Lainey said. "She just got out of the hospital. The first thing she's telling the surgeon, 'Will I be ambulatory by October 12? I gotta see this game.'"

Join the crowd, grandma.

I don't want 'em ...

For the boys big schools teams outside Washington County, every season's hopes and dreams seem to be tempered by the same nemesis. For Thomas Johnson, it's Walter Johnson. For Chambersburg and Waynesboro, it's Cumberland Valley.

For the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, it's Morgantown, which dealt Hedgesville a 5-0 loss on Saturday.

"They've been like this forever," said Eagles coach Chris Ruest. "We're getting better, but ... anybody around there is going to have to play one heck of a game to beat them. And hope that they're playing bad."

Last season, Jefferson nearly pulled the trick, but the Mohigans got a late goal in the region championship on the way to a state title.

If Hedgesville - and Martinsburg, Jefferson and Musselman - have a chance at the title, the road will go through Morgantown again this season; it's ranked No. 1 in the state.

"If I could help it, I'd like to never see them again," Ruest said with a grin. "Yeah, they're nice guys and good people, but I get tired of losing."

This week's notebook compiled by staff writer Dan Spears.

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