Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Girls' Soccer

Chang Helps O'Connell Regain Momentum
By B.J. Koubaroulis

Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, October 18, 2007; E05

Bishop O'Connell Coach Alberto Starace turned and surveyed the group of players behind him unlacing their cleats and changing out of their sweaty jerseys following yesterday's 2-0 home win over third-ranked Urbana.

After a few seconds, Starace abandoned his visual check and went with his voice.

"Brook?" he called out, frustrated.

In a crowd, it's easy to miss 5-foot-4 senior Brook Chang. But on the field the forward has distinguished herself as one of the fastest in the area.

Chang used her speed and footwork to slice through Urbana's defense, which entered yesterday's game having shut out its last five opponents and having not allowed a goal in 415 minutes.

No. 8 O'Connell (12-3-3, 10-1-2 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference), which posted a 1-1-1 record in its three previous games, earned its ninth shutout of the season and second win over Urbana (7-3, 4-0 Monocacy Valley Athletic League) since 2005.

"We were going through a bit of a dry spell," said Chang, who took six shots, three of them on goal. "This game has helped us to regain our momentum. We are looking to keep picking it up until we get to" the postseason.

In the 24th minute, Chang (18 goals, 10 assists) gathered her own shot, which deflected off Urbana's goalkeeper, and passed to junior midfielder Fara Shahryary, who connected on her sixth goal of the season from four yards to give the Knights the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.

"I think we were all down about not doing well in the past couple games, and now that we got a 2-0 win over a good team, we'll bounce back," Shahryary said.

Chang pushed a no-look pass off her heel to junior midfielder Danielle Corey (15 goals, eight assists), who shrugged off her defender and hurdled the diving goalkeeper to convert an open-goal shot for the 2-0 lead in the 77th minute.

O'Connell outshot Urbana, 11-3, and the Knights' physical approach sent two of Urbana's key players -- senior midfielder Katie Ruhe and senior defender Kelly Mohns -- off the field with injuries and frustrated Hawks leading scorer Julia Roberts (five goals, four assists). Urbana junior goalkeeper Caroline Browning had nine saves.

"They were deeper than we were and more technical," Urbana Coach Chuck Nichols said of the Knights. "We didn't make very many glaring mistakes, but when we did, they made us pay."

No. 8 O'Connell 2 No. 3 Urbana 0 Three's a Crowd: Senior midfielder Katie Ruhe and her sisters, identical twin sophomores Amie and Julie, have combined for five of Urbana's 15 goals this season. Lightning Does Strike Twice: Urbana's last two home games have been either canceled or delayed because of lightning. Urbana's matchup with Thomas Johnson was canceled, and the Hawks' game against Tuscarora was postponed. O'Connell lost, 1-0, to No. 5 Good Counsel last week in a game shortened by lightning.

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