Player of the Year: Sarah Tracey, Hereford
The Baltimore County Player of theYear had a knack for escaping justabout any predicament with possessionof the ball.
Her unmatched stick skills enabledthe No. 5 Bulls' center midfielder tomaintain control even when she drew acrowd -- which was most of the time.
Tracey rarely made the move defendersanticipated. The senior would twistor turn to the opposite side or pull backward,whatever it took to get away.
"Sarah can have one girl on her or fivegirls on her and she can get out of it,"Hereford coach Tammy Mundie said. "Iremember one play in the county[championship] game -- there were sixgirls that were tackling her at the sametime and she beat every one."
A second-team All-Metro player lastseason, Tracey set the pace for the BaltimoreCounty champions and ignitedtheir transition.
Along with her finesse game, Traceyalso had a powerful drive, which madeher a vital part of the Bulls' offensivepenalty corners. She scored several ofher six goals on corner plays and alsohad 12 assists.
A Futures veteran, Tracey played forTeam Maryland at the U.S. FieldHockey Association's Hockey FestivalThanksgiving weekend in Indio, Calif.Although she plans to play field hockeyin college, she remains undecided aboutwhere.
Coach of the Year: Erin Soulen, South Carroll
The Cavaliers' sixth-yearcoach found many ways to motivateher teamthis season,sparking perhapsthe area'smost impressiveturnaround. Aftergoing 6-5-2 ayear ago, theNo. 3 Cavaliersfinished 15-0-1and c l a i m e dtheir first state title since 1991.
Soulen played on that 1991team and she never missed anopportunity to remind her playersthat she had a state titlejacket. She even wore it on thebus to the state semifinals.
As much as the jacket inspiredthe Cavaliers, so did thesuccess they enjoyed as theybuilt to their big finish, a 2-1 upsetof then-No. 1 Fallston in thestate Class 3A final.
Soulen stressed a team approachto the game and theplayers bought into it, makingeveryone a key to the title drive.
"I want to get the most I canout of each individual on myteam," said Soulen. "When youget everything you can out ofthem, it raises their level of play,boosts their confidence andbuilds their self-esteem. Thatmotivates them and makesthem work hard, so they have noregrets."
There certainly were no regretsto a season in which theCavaliers also won their firstCentral Maryland Conferencechampionship and defeatedCarroll County rival Westminsterfor the first time in 22 years.
Katie Atkins, Roland Park
The junior midfielder enjoyeda breakthrough season, orchestratingmuch ofthe Reds' gamefrom her centerlink position.Her ability tocontrol the transitiongame wasa key factor asthe No. 6 Redsemerged from amidseasonslump to tie St. Paul's, 0-0, for ashare of the Interscholastic AthleticAssociation A Conferencechampionship.
Speedy and aggressive withgood stick skills, Atkins excelledat zigzagging out of traffic anddistributing the ball to herteammates on the forward line.Usually her efforts led to a shotseveral passes down the line,but Atkins also contributed apair of goals.
Mandy Bathras, Chesapeake-Anne Arundel
A second-team All-Metro picklast season, Bathras earnedAnne ArundelCounty Player ofthe Year honorsas a defensivemindedcentermidfielder.
Comfortablewith droppingback on the defensive endbringing the ballout and making the key decisionson transition, the seniorstood out as a distributor, almostalways sending her pinpointpasses right to a teammate'sstick.
A Futures veteran who playedfor Team Maryland at theHockey Festival and plans toplay in college, Bathras showedversatility on corners -- defendingthe stroke line at oneend and taking the shots at theother. Four of her seven goalscame on corners.
Claire Edelen, St. Paul's
With a blend of blazing speedand intricate stickwork, the seniorset the pacefor perhaps thefastest forwardline in the area.With whatGators coachAnnie Smallwoodcalled a"magic stick,"Edelen excelledat carrying theball for long distances and makingthe initial pass into the circle.
In addition to her setup ability,Edelen also could finish,ending up second in scoring forthe two-time IAAM A Conferenceco-champs, who outscoredthe opposition 14-2 during thetournament.
The Team Marylander andFutures veteran also contributedeight assists for the No. 2Gators.
Lisa Engel, North Carroll
The Carroll County Player ofthe Year carried her team attimes with her ability to createscoring opportunities and finish.She led the Carroll Countychamps with 14 goals and fiveassists.
Her exceptional speed of tengave her an edge over the oppositionand sheused it to set upgoals, includingthe game-winnerin a 1-0 victoryover state Class4A finalist Westminster.Engel's terrificstick skills complementedherspeed, enabling her to stand outat the challenging left wing position.
The senior, who plans to playhockey in college, scored theteam's lone goal in its 2-1 loss inthe region final to Class 3A statechamp South Carroll.
Liz Fries, South Carroll
A precocious midfielder, Friesbegan playing field hockey as afourth-grader inMassachusetts.That experiencewas evident asthe No. 3 Cavaliers'drive to thestate Class 3A titleand an unbeatenseasonspun around thesophomore'sconsiderable talents.
Fries, a Futures veteran whoplays for the Washington Wolvesclub team, led Carroll County inscoring with 13 goals and eightassists. She never missed a penaltystroke and nailed the mostcritical one in the 2-1 regional finalvictory over North Carroll.
As strong a finisher as shewas, Fries proved even morevaluable for her transition skills.She set up much of the offensewith her work off the ball.
Emily Goldman, Mount Hebron
A second-team All-Metro defenderlast season, Goldmanmoved up to themidfield andquickly grew intoa more assertiverole as a transitioncatalyst,earning HowardCounty Player ofthe Year honors.The Futuresveteran workedhard to boost her fitness level,which combined with her stickskills and game sense to makeher a vital two-way player. Criticalon offensive and defensivecorners, Goldman contributedseven goals and two assists asthe No. 12 Vikings went unbeatenin Howard County.
Goldman, who played for theCapitol Pegasus club team atthe Hockey Festival, has verballycommitted to play fieldhockey at Lafayette.
Lauren Maranto, Severna Park
On one of the youngest Falconsteams ever, Maranto stabilizeda stingy defenseat centerback. The juniorquarterbacked aunit that posted11 shutouts andallowed just fivegoals, enablingthe Falcons tobreeze throughAnne Arundelcompetition to their 24th countytitle.
Maranto proved difficult toget past and once she had theball, she could jump-start theFalcons' attack in many ways.Her pinpoint short passes, accuratedrives and smooth dodgescombined with her ability toread the field made her a keytransition cog.
The Futures veteran joinedher Falcons teammates on theSpark team that went to theHockey Festival.
Hayley Mershon, Towson
A second-team All-Metro picklast season, the senior back anchoreda defensethat notched 13shutouts and allowedjust twogoals during theregular seasonand seven goalstotal.
Mershon controlledthe transitiongame withher stick skills and ability to anticipatethe opposition's nextmove. The Team Marylander,who plans to play in college,proved terrif ic at blockingpasses and using her powerfulhits to keep the No. 1 and stateClass 2A runner-up Generals attacking.
Those hits also made Mershona threat to score, especiallyon corners where she convertedsix of her seven goals. She alsocontributed five assists.
Jenna Rogers, Severn
In her first season as a starter,Rogers emerged as a poised andpatient stopperfor the No. 8 Admirals,who allowedjust fivegoals during theregular season.
Rogers, a Futuresveteran,was tough tobeat, holding herground at centerback and luring attack playersinto her trap. Then, she'd useher long reach and quick stick tospring and take the ball. Herkeen field sense and strong oneon-one skills helped her convertthose turnovers into instant offense.
With Rogers as the anchor,the Admirals posted 12 shutoutsand gave up 10 goals total in thetough IAAM A Conference.
Jocelyn Paul, Towson
The setup artist for the stateClass 2A runner-up, Paul cameup big in the biggestgames.
Leading theNo. 1 Generalswith 12 goals andseven assists,the senior rightwing scored bothgoals in the 2-0regional championshipwin overHereford, a penalty stroke in theshootout state semifinal winover Centennial and an assist inthe 2-1 state title game loss toBethesda-Chevy Chase.
At 5 feet 10", the Team Marylanderhad an exceptionally longreach that, combined with herspeed and deft stick, enabledher to dodge multiple defendersand move the ball smoothlydown the side setting up hercrosses into the circle.
Lauren Sheets, Garrison Forest
The vocal leader of the No. 7Grizzlies' defense, the junior alwaysseemed tobe thinking acouple stepsahead o f thecompetition. Acomplete player,comfortable defendingthe goalline or challengingan opponentfor the ball,Sheets led a unit that helpedthe Grizzlies go 13 games withouta loss.
Garrison coach Traci Daviscalled her center back the "pointguard of the defense," because ofher ability to organize the defenseand change the pace of thegame with her ball-control skills.
A gold medalist at the 2002Junior Olympics, Sheets has fiveyears of Futures experience andplays for the Capitol Pegasusclub team.
Caitlin Swift, Archbishop Spalding
Excelling at the toughest positionon the forward line, Swiftbrought speedand finesse tothe left wing.But that wasjust for starters.
In addition toher abilty to createscoring opportunitiesforherself and herteammates, thejunior could finish. She endedthe season among the leadingscorers in the IAAM A Conferencewith 16 goals and eight assists.
What made the Futures veteranso dangerous was that shecould score in so many ways --whether maneuvering the balldown the wing on the break,weaving through traffic in thecircle or setting up on the post.
Abby Treworgy, South Carroll
To say the Cavaliers' seniorgoalie excelled under pressuremight be an understatement.
Twice in theCavaliers' lastthree games, shesaved their driveto the state titleand their unbeatenrecord. Inthe regional finalagainst NorthCarroll, Treworgy made a divingsave against a penalty strokewith 1:46 left. In the 2-1 overtimetitle victory against Fallston,Treworgy saved three shots inthe second overtime.
The Futures veteran whoplans to play in college finishedwith an 86.6 save percentageand nine shutouts. She allowedjust six goals and saved all fourpenalty strokes she faced --three in the playoffs.
Margaret Yellott, Bryn Mawr
Everything the No. 9 Mawrtiansdid this season revolvedaround their veterancenter midfielder.On a rebuildingteam, the seniorstepped rightinto that pivotalposition withoutmissing a beat.
Yellott madean easy transitionfrom playing on the forwardline as a junior. Having alsoplayed back during her Mawrtianscareer, the Futures veteranshowed off a versatility that enabledher to dominate the middle.
She contributed whatever theMawrtians needed -- a bigblock, a transition spark or agoal. Yellott finished with sixgoals and four assists.
Kim Ziegler, Fallston
The Cougars' left inner had aknack for scoring crucial goals.Among the junior'sgame-winnerswere anovertime goalagainst RolandPark and one inthe state semifinalvictory overRichard Montgomery.She alsoconverted herpenalty stroke in the regional finalshootout win over SevernaPark.
Ziegler finished with eightgoals and seven assists, as theNo. 4 Cougars won their 15thHarford County title. Her fortewas setting up her teammates,sending a lot of shots off goalies'pads that ended up in the cage ashot or two later.
A second-team All-Metro picklast season who has Futures experience,Ziegler plays for theElkton Strikers club team.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun