Centennial Coach Gail Purcell earned her 200th career victory at the Ellicott City school yesterday, as the Eagles defeated Friends School of Baltimore, 2-1.

Bethany Bruce scored the game-winning goal with just over four minutes remaining. Friends had taken a 1-0 lead early before Laura Angle scored to tie the game.

"The win means a lot to us because any time you beat a private school it says a lot about your program," Purcell said.

Centennial is 1-2 on the season, after losing a pair of tough decisions to Chesapeake and Hammond, both by one goal.

Purcell had worked for two years at the Maryvale private school in Baltimore before moving to Centennial. She is in her 23rd year at Centennial, where she has won seven Howard County championships and one state title.

Barons Manage a Split

Third-ranked Bethesda-Chevy Chase showed strong balance in last weekend's tournament at Roland Park in Baltimore. The Barons played solid defense and produced timely offense in two games: a loss to second-ranked Severna Park and a victory over fourth-ranked St. Stephen's/St. Agnes.

B-CC Coach Amy Wood was disappointed that the Barons couldn't beat Severna Park despite controlling play throughout the contest against the Maryland 4A champion and outshooting the Falcons by a wide margin. However, B-CC, the Maryland 2A champion, got goals from Mary Havell and Laura Hur to blank St. Stephen's/St. Agnes.

Havell also scored in the Severna Park loss and, according to Wood, often comes through in the big games. Wood said the Barons need players like Havell to step up to compensate for a young starting lineup, which includes six juniors, one sophomore and four seniors. The Barons are without 11 seniors and six starters from last season's state title team.

Sixth-ranked Walter Johnson, the Maryland 3A runner-up last season, also has shown balance in its first two games--wins over Sherwood and Wootton. Senior Stephanie Aleskow has a goal and an assist in each game to lead Walter Johnson in scoring. Anna Saunders, also a senior, has a goal and an assist, and center back Lauren Furst repeatedly has sparked the transition game. On the horizon for Walter Johnson is an Oct. 5 contest at B-CC, which will be a good test for both teams.

Whitman split its first two games, losing to the Barons, 2-0, before routing Einstein, 6-0. Kate Gannon and Missy Robbins have scored two goals apiece for Whitman, who made the 4A region finals last year before falling to Magruder.

Fauquier Moving On Up

This season, Fauquier High will play most of the same teams it has had on its schedule for the past five years. However, those games will have added meaning.

Fauquier's sports teams have moved to the AAA classification from AA, after the Virginia High School League's most recent population assessments found Fauquier to be approximately 15 students above the threshold for an AA school, according to Fauquier Athletic Director Allen Creasy.

The move is a major change for the field hockey team. However, it is not Fauquier's first foray into AAA: It held that status before being moved down a level to AA in 1994.

The VHSL does not sponsor a championship tournament at the AA level. The Falcons, under coach Linda Lee, had been a regular contender in the AAA Northwest Region, and in 1993, her team was undefeated and advanced to the state tournament.

When Fauquier moved down to AA in 1994, Lee kept the same schedule, which included AAA opponents such as Brooke Point and Albermarle. When the Falcons repeated their undefeated season, Lee petitioned the VHSL to play in the AAA tournament, but was turned down.

"It was ridiculous," Lee said. "Nothing had changed except for our classification."

To make up for it, Lee organized a state AA invitational, which Fauquier hosted for the next five years. The Falcons won the tournament in 1997 and 1998.

Now, all Fauquier's sports teams have moved to the AAA Commonwealth District, which has three of the top teams in the Northwest Region--the Falcons, North Stafford and Stafford.

"We'll have an opportunity to compete for a district championship, a regional championship, all-district teams, all-region teams," Lee said.