Printed in the August 30 edition of The Enterprise Newspaper
By TED BLACK firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Mary's Ryken High School senior defender Anna Shevchuk prepares to deliver a corner kick into the box in last week's scrimmage against North Point. SMR opens its season today at Maryvale Prep in Baltimore and returns home next Tuesday to face St. Mary's of Annapolis.
Following a pair of scrimmages against Southern Maryland Athletic Conference squads who will be seeking Class 4A South Region and state titles this fall, the St. Mary's Ryken High School girls soccer team is optimistic about their fall campaign that gets underway today at Maryvale Prep in Baltimore County.
St. Mary's Ryken eighth-year coach Tim Major admitted that he was hit hard by graduation last spring, but his current group of Knights — led by a compact group of four seniors — improved considerably over its final two scrimmages versus Leonardtown and North Point.
"We had a big graduating class," Major said. "We graduated 10 seniors and this year we only have four seniors. But we played well in both scrimmages [last] week. We obviously play a very tough schedule in the WCAC and we'll probably be somewhere toward the middle this year. But this group of girls has been working hard and playing well together thus far."
The Knights' list of seniors includes goalie Lauren Davey and defenders Lily Goebel, Anna Shevchuk and Beth Staufenberger. Goebel, who sports a cumulative 4.4 GPA and plans to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy next fall, is not concerned with the lack of fellow seniors on the squad impacting the Knights' potential success.
"Just in the two days between our game at Leonardtown and our game [Thursday] against North Point, I think we improved a lot," said Goebel, who also seemed eager to face WCAC foe Holy Cross of Montgomery County this fall. "The main thing is we have to be better at communicating on the field. We have to get better at passing. We're in a tough league, but I think we can be in the top four this season."
Davey, who sports a 3.0 GPA and plans to attend Mount Aloysius in Pennsylvania next fall to pursue a criminal justice degree, also expects the current youthful group of Knights to have plenty of success this fall. Davey, who seemed eager to face WCAC foe Bishop McNamara of Prince George's County this fall, likes what she has seen from her teammates in practices and last week's two scrimmages.
"I enjoy playing in the WCAC," Davey said. "I think that competition is a lot better than SMAC. We only have four seniors, but we have a lot of good juniors and sophomores on this team. I think we can compete with a lot of the top teams in the WCAC. Just over the two days between our game at Leonardtown and our win against North Point, we got a lot better."
St. Mary's Ryken has seven juniors on the roster, defenders Cassie Aud and Trisha Bowes, midfielders Abby Burke, Kyleigh Cox and Lily Thomas and forwards Gabbi Leach and Mary Thomas. The Knights only have three sophomores, midfielders Bella Beck and Maddie Schadegg and forward Rhiannon Tamburri. Major also kept four freshmen on the squad, defender Jasmine Caniban, forwards Carsyn Jones and Megan Skane and midfielder Brin Moore.
St. Mary's Ryken will travel to Maryvale Prep for its season opener today, then will play its next five games at home with St. Mary's of Annapolis arriving on Sept. 5 followed by Northern two days later, Annapolis (Sept. 12), Rockbridge Academy of Anne Arundel County (Sept. 15) and Great Mills (Sept. 18).