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  September 4, 2008 Issue                                       

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Local Sports

GFS off to impressive 3-0 start
by Justin Goldman

GFS’ Ibrahim Kamara heads the ball toward the goal with Jack Koehler running up-field. For more photos visit (Photo by Pack Jr.)

The GFS soccer team opened the 2008 season with an impressive 4-2 victory over Central last Tuesday afternoon. Coming into the season, the biggest question mark for the   Tigers was their backline. And though there were some defensive lapses, GFS found ways to get the critical stops when needed.

 The Tigers opened up the scoring early: Five minutes into the game, junior Jason Symonette carried the ball down the left side of the field and sent a nice cross to fellow junior Manolo Sanchez, who one-timed the ball past the Central goalkeeper.  It seemed like the Tigers were in complete control of the game early on as they dominated possession time.

 Two thirds of the way through the first half, the Tigers got a bit of luck after senior goalkeeper Zach Fernberger launched a free kick from the box. The kick went to the other 18-yard line, and a Lancer defender jumped and headed the ball backwards into the net for an own goal. The Tigers cruised through the rest of the first half with a 2-0 lead.

 Despite being down and thoroughly outplayed, Central fought back and made some key defensive adjustments. First, they put two men on both Sanchez and Symonette, completely limiting their touches. They then continued to pressure the inexperienced Tiger backline, the tactic paid divdends. In a mirror image of the first half, a Lancer player raced by the Tiger defense on the left wing and easily put the ball past the GFS keeper. Eight minutes later, a Tiger defender misplayed an easy ball, and a Central player was there to rocket it into the back of the net from 22 yards out.


Springside hockey filling the cage in early outings

Lions senior Steffi Fitzpatrick controls the ball in the air.

Under new head coach Tara Maguire, Springside School breezed through its first two field hockey scrimmages last week, outscoring Cheltenham High School, 7-0, and Friends Central, 6-0.

Turning up for their first official practice on Aug. 18, the Lions embarked on a regimen of six hours practice a day.

“They turned up ready to play and ready to run,” Maguire said. “They’ve got a lot of heart and they’re really willing to work and to take risks together as a team. I’m finding them very coachable.”

Maguire is a former U.S. Field Hockey team member and Penn State standout. With an MBA already on her resume, she’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at Chestnut Hill College.

Her last coaching stint was as a Penn State assistant in 2005, and she now operates her own business providing one-on-one field hockey training.

“I love working at the high school level because I think you can have a lot of impact on their lives right now,” she explained. “It makes a real difference when they ‘get it,’ when they understand it’s not just about field hockey, but about principle; showing up on time, following through on their commitments, showing respect for one another.”


Major turnout for Springside tennis

Springside junior Rachel Byer lines up a backhand

With a small enrollment and a relatively large number of varsity sports offerings, Springside School often finds itself coping with personnel shortages on various teams. Not so with the tennis program, which had 41 girls turn out to the first practice, including 20 freshmen.

With a no-cut policy in place at Springside (they’re seldom needed), the Lions will find themselves with a “third team” in upper school tennis that has no natural rival at other league schools.

While this type of turnout would be helpful if Springside were starting a football program, it only takes a few really talented players to make a successful varsity squad, and in the Girls Inter-Ac League those types of athletes have tended to gravitate towards schools like Episcopal and Germantown Academies.

This year, though, Springside does have a tournament-toughened player in junior number one Rachel Byer. After attending Springside for a long stretch, Byer switched to North Penn High School last year, but has now returned to the Lions. Over the summer, she was ranked 24th in the 18’s division in the Middle States section of the USTA.


CHC women’s soccer splits on opening weekend

Senior Stephanie Carlyle assisted on the winning goal for Chestnut Hill College last Sunday.

Women’s soccer squads converged on Chestnut Hill College from north and south last weekend as the Griffins got their season underway with back-to-back homestands.

On Saturday, CHC hosted the Concordia College Clippers, who sailed back to Bronxville, N.Y., with a 4-2 victory. The next afternoon, the Columbia Union Pioneers made the trek up from Takoma Park, Md., but they were soon headed back down the beaten path following an unsettling 3-0 loss to Chestnut Hill.

With Sunday’s victory, the CHC women accomplished a feat that had eluded them all last season, when they finished with a record of 0-18-1.

“Opening weekend is always a sort of lottery,” first-year CHC coach Seamus O’Connor said after the long-awaited win. “I think yesterday the girls were a bit nervous and apprehensive, and they had last season on their mind. We didn’t play our best and the girls were upset with themselves, and they were determined to represent the school better today.”