Kicking off fall sports: Team BCPS student athletes make return to practice fields

Sparrows Point girls soccer pictured practicing Aug. 9.

The four-time defending state champion Sparrows Point High girls soccer team is preparing for the 2017 fall high school athletics season.

SPARROWS POINT – By now, Emily Vetri knows the drill.

She is entering Grade 12 at Sparrows Point High. This is her fourth year on the soccer team.

So she knows: After practice, we stretch. As a Grade 12 student, it’s her job to lead those exercises.

In between instructions from Emily, teammates chatted, wondering how team traditions might change and what fun the next year would have in store.

The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 5. But high school athletic teams are getting ready for the fall season. The first day of practice for football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, cross country, golf, and badminton teams was Aug. 9. High school marching bands are also preparing for the fall season.

From across the county:

Sparrows Point High girls soccer players photographed preparing for the upcoming season.

Sparrows Point High girls soccer is preparing for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

At Sparrows Point, the first fall practices on the school’s turf field belonged to the boys and girls soccer programs. So began the Sparrows Point girls soccer team’s quest for a fifth consecutive Class 1A state championship.

If the Pointers pull it off, they would be the first girls soccer program in Maryland to win five state championships in a row.

Players are optimistic. Sparrows Point returns nearly everyone from last year’s state championship squad.

“Only losing two [players from last year] … that’s really good,” Grade 12 midfielder Skyler Owens said.

The Pointers have gone 50-2 during the last three seasons. Julie Lynch, entering Grade 11, was one of 32 players nationwide selected to train in France with Olympique Lyonnais through the generation Adidas international program. She plans to play soccer at West Virginia University, ranked No. 1 in the country in preseason polls.

So, yes, soccer is a big deal at Sparrows Point. The boys soccer team had a huge turnout for tryouts as well. Both first-day practices featured teams running through laid-back scrimmages. Many players are involved in club soccer, which would explain the skillful goals from long distance and the on-the-mark passes from day one.

But when the dribbling drills, scrimmages, and team jogs ended, and the girls had time to chat, it became clear that this is more than a soccer team.

It is a family.

Lots of smiles. Lots of laughs. Lots of support. If one player is having trouble, others jump in and try to help.

And they didn’t need to wait until August to meet up.

“A lot of us play summer league together, so most of us have been in touch over the summer,” Emily said.

Lori Sexton is returning for a second stint as head coach this year after Joe Lambert moved over to coach the boys team. She coached the Pointers from 2001-2003 and returned as an assistant three years ago.

As a teacher, she enjoys getting to know some of the students before the school year starts. There’s a camaraderie that comes with coaching and teaching at the same school.

Beyond coaches, Sparrows Point has plenty of fans.

“It’s awesome,” Emily said. “We have a lot of support from everyone in the community. Everyone supports us. Everyone wants us to do well.”

Best wishes to all students involved in extracurricular activities this year. We look forward to sharing your success stories.

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