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Westlake Manages Nerve-Racking Tie on Johnson's Goal

November 29, 2000|CHRIS SHAFFER

It was a situation that made both teams nervous.

Westlake Coach Frank Marino was coaching his first varsity game, trying to uphold the powerhouse that former coach Aerick Brown built the last two seasons. To top it off, he was playing highly regarded Harvard-Westlake without his top forward, Jenna Ainsworth, and standout midfielder Katie McCurdy.

Both were healthy but sat out so they could play in a game with their club team Saturday against the Mexican national team.

Things weren't any better for Coach Ned Smith of Harvard-Westlake, who was without Keith West, his co-coach and trainer for the last eight years. West left to coach a club team.

Smith was also missing his top two defenders, Kim LaVere and Lindsay Kimura.

Despite it all, both teams played well, building attacks from the defense and stringing together passes en route to a 1-1 tie in an opener Tuesday in North Hollywood.

"I think the girls really miss Keith," Smith said. "I wasn't nervous. The only question in my mind was how the girls were going to react mentally. We've seen them with their heads down in preseason practices a few times."

Said Marino, whose two-time defending Marmonte League champions tied the Wolverines for the second consecutive season: "Given the conditions, I was nervous coming in. I felt like we could play with them. Obviously the effort was great. I'm really happy with the result."

With three of the Wolverines' starters benched for disciplinary reason for the first 20 minutes, the Warriors controlled play early.

Impressive play by midfielder Lauren Baer of Westlake nearly caught the Wolverines off-guard as she dribbled around defenders, creating good scoring opportunities, but goalkeeper Dana Reyes came up with three saves to keep the game scoreless.

The Wolverines scored first in the 57th minute when Jamie Artsis centered the ball to forward Tracy Lansing, who one-touched it to Jill Oakes for a blast into the back of the net.

The Warriors tied the score three minutes later when the rebound of Sara Silver-Hill's shot that hit the post was touched in by Nichole Johnson.

"I think people think Harvard-Westlake is on the two-year plan," Smith said.

"People don't think we are going to be good this year. I don't think so. [Against Westlake] we proved we can play with the best teams."

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