Words: Giana Han
The Allied Soccer game on Oct. 1 against Hammond was filled with lots of excitement.
Through the course of the game, there were 14 goals scored by the two teams combined. Lauren Davila, Michael Havlik, and Michael Clark all had multiple goals for Centennial, while Leah Jenkins and Matt Glass scored several times for Hammond. Dominic Rybal and Karen Vanisko also had goals for Centennial.
The goalies had good games as well making numerous saves. Centennial’s starting goalie Clark and Mike McCarthy both had several great saves. Colin Hersh, one of Hammond’s goalies, played excellent as well, with two amazing saves.
The Eagles and the Golden Bears were cheered on by the Centennial cheerleading squad, which split up and cheered from both sidelines.
More important than the statistics, both teams had fun. “I always tell them the score doesn’t matter,” says Centennial’s senior caption, Vanisko. “What matters is that we had fun and we showed sportsmanship.”
Centennial Allied soccer coach Lynn Frost agreed with Vanisko. “We work on each kid’s weaknesses, and we try to teach team concepts,” said Frost. The team, which was created as a result of the Fitness and Athletic Equity law, works to involve children with disabilities in sports, as well as those who do not participate at the junior varsity or varsity level.
Clark, a current junior, said, “I just like being on a team.” Clark has been playing on the Allied Soccer team since his sophomore year.
Howard County schools also offer bowling for students to join in the winter, and an indoor softball team to play on in the spring.
Chris Ashcraft, another Centennial coach, has been involved with the program for several years. “I got introduced to Allied sports a couple years ago through bowling at Glenelg. I helped out there while I was in college. I came here and was asked to help out, and said yes,” said Ashcraft. “I work specifically with an individual kid here and there. I try to bring their attention to the task at hand.”
The Centennial Eagles work together during their two-month season, which includes eight games and practices five times a week.
“I get to connect to the kids in a different way, making jokes and having fun,” said Ashcraft. “It’s entertaining at all times between comments, actions, and, in general, personalities. It’s a continual circle of laughter.”