Prep soccer notes - St James girls turning season upside down

October 11, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

What in the world's going on with the St. James girls?

Just two weeks ago, the Saints were 1-5-2. Now, they're 6-5-2, having outscored their last five opponents, 24-3.

"It takes our girls a little longer to get ready because we only practice five days and then we start playing," said St. James coach Jim Nemzek. "And it takes me a little longer to figure out where we need to work on things. Each practice we get a little bit better."

That was especially evident on Wednesday when the Saints came back from a 2-0 deficit in the final 12 minutes to shock No. 10 Hedgesville, 3-2.

"Our girls really hang in there and play tough for 80 minutes," said Nemzek. "They don't get down very often."

Not even when they only won one of their first eight games.

"We played a lot of good teams," said Nemzek. "We knew we were playing well enough to win. We just weren't scoring enough goals."


That hasn't been a problem lately for St. James, which has gotten goals from nine different players - led by senior midfielder Katie Graham and sophomore striker Emily McCormack with five each.

"We get scoring from everywhere," said Nemzek. "The girls are very unselfish."

Defensively, senior keeper Kristen DiGirolamo has only allowed six goals in 10 games played.

"Our keeping's been real steady and our defense has been real steady," said Nemzek. "We've just settled down and things have started to come. Things build, and right now we have a lot of confidence and determination. The momentum's going our way."

The Saints are now set for likely their stiffest competition of the season when they travel to No. 2 Martinsburg for their next game on Wednesday.

"We got Martinsburg next," said Nemzek. "We just want to get in the top 10 (Herald-Mail poll) and keep climbing. We have no league to play for. We just want to be the top private school in the area."

Knights vs. Flames Round 2

Winning the Mason-Dixon Christian Conference is nothing new to the Grace Academy boys. They've won the conference's post-season tourney the last three years.

But the Knights (11-2-1, 10-0-1) have never had an unbeaten regular season in the conference. If they want to do so this year - and get the tourney's top seed - they'll have to get by rival Shalom (12-2-2, 8-0-2) today at home.

The teams' first matchup this year resulted in an 0-0 tie.

"So far, it's the biggest game of the season," said Grace coach John Basore. "Shalom's a big obstacle. It's usually a war. We're looking forward to it. We just have to take care of business and put the ball in goal."

Around the leaderboard

Leading the Grace boys offense this year with 14 goals and eight assists is senior Jared Barnhart, the younger brother of Josh Barnhart, last year's Herald-Mail Offensive Player of the Year. ... On last week's boys scoring leaderboard, St. John's at Prospect Hall's Stan Hess was in the middle of the pack with 19 points. Now, he's second with 40. The Vikings senior racked up seven goals and four assists in a 24-hour span this week in his team's wins over Wakefield (Va.) and Highland. ... While Jefferson's Laura McIlroy is one of the area's top goalies, she also just missed getting her name on the scoring board. The Cougars senior, who splits duties, has four goals and two assists this season. ...There are only two last names that appear twice on the boys leaderboard, and they seem to enjoy each other's company. James Buchanan's Matt Myers and Grace's Ryan Myers have each scored 26 points in 14 games, while Martinsburg's Aaron Miller and Hedgesville's Bryan Miller each have 21 points.

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