Player of the Year: Kelsey Twist, Roland Park
With a unique blend of exceptional all-around skills, physical presence and unflappable confidence, Twist emerged as the best of the best this season.
The Sun's Female Athlete of the Year and the Baltimore City/County Player of the Year provided whatever the No. 4 Reds needed - on attack, on defense or in transition. Her game and her confidence elevated the level of play of her younger teammates, leading them to a 17-2 season and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final.
Her lacrosse resume is packed - twice first-team All-Metro, twice first-team Greater Baltimore regional All-America and a member of the world champion 1999 U.S. Under-19 team. Next year, she will take that experience to Stanford.
"She's definitely a player-coach out there on the field," said Reds coach Tara Kramer. "She was very strong for us leadership-wise, because of her confidence. She's developed into a very strong presence on the field. She's going to be all over the place and do a lot of things."
Twist contributed 30 goals and 20 assists. At center, she led the Reds in ground balls (101) and in draw controls (41).
A strong one-on-one defender, her height (5 feet 10) and her quick stick often enabled her to get the ball back by checking it away or pressuring an opponent into a turnover."
Coach of the Year: Mary Bartel, Notre Dame Prep
Bartel celebrated her 20th year at NDP by orchestrating one of the most stunning turnaround seasons in local girls lacrosse history. By midseason, her Blazers were fading fast at 2-7. Their fifth loss came in a crushing 20-7 blow against No. 1 Mount Hebron.
After that, Bartel said, she "had a long chat with the kids and told them they had a decision to make. They could believe everything they saw on the field that day or they could believe what we've been telling them - that they were capable of far, far better." The Blazers decided to believe what they were told.
They lost two more games, 9-6 to Roland Park and 12-11 to Bryn Mawr, but that didn't discourage them. They polished off the season with eight straight wins.
In the IAAM A Conference tournament, the Blazers upset unbeaten and then-No. 2 Maryvale in the semifinal before topping then-No. 3 Roland Park, 10-8, for their second title in three years.
"It's a real tribute to the athletes that they are, that they kept going," Bartel said. "As a coach, that's exactly what you want to happen - they're better at the end of the season than they are at the beginning and everything comes together."
Lindsey Biles, Severn
The leading scorer in Anne Arundel County, Biles has led the No. 9 Admirals (14-5-1) in points for the last three years. Headed for Princeton in the fall, Biles compiled 116 points this spring- a county-best 87 of them on goals. Her quick feet and stick often enabled her to blast to goal before her defender had the chance to react.
Biles, a second-team All-Metro pick last season, excelled in more than just scoring. As a midfield attack player, she proved a key transition catalyst whether off the draw, a turnover or one of the more than 100 ground balls she won. She was an honorable mention Chesapeake regional All-American.
Cary Chasney, Notre Dame Prep
The senior attack wing sparked the No. 2 Blazers (10-7) to the IAAM A Conference championship with 12 goals in four tournament games. Her exceptional athletic ability along with good speed and field vision made her a transition catalyst as well as a constant scoring threat out of the midfield.
A second-team All-Metro pick a year ago, Chasney completed the season with 39 goals and 23 assists. She scored five goals in the tournament semifinal upset of previously-unbeaten Maryvale and had two goals and three assists in the title-game victory over Roland Park.
Chasney, who is headed to Virginia, was named a Greater Baltimore regional All-American.
Katie Chrest, Maryvale
An explosive center with superb attack skills, Chrest was the key component as the Lions skyrocketed to the top of the IAAM A Conference and stayed there most of the season. The junior transfer from Mercy promptly helped the No. 3 Lions win their first 15 games. The dream season didn't end until the tournament semifinal.
Chrest, who was named a first-team Greater Baltimore regional All-American, was all over the field, making big plays on attack, defense and in transition. She led the Lions with 61 goals and 15 assists.
However, her hustle, field sense and decision-making ability made her leadership as valuable as any of her other assets.
Kristy Dirks, Annapolis
A three-time All-Metro first-teamer, Dirks did a little bit of everything in the midfield for the No. 7 Panthers, 16-2 and Anne Arundel County champs. A dynamo on attack, the senior also drew tough defensive assignments, often marking the opposition's best player. Her stick skills and speed along with a willingness to do all the little things made her effective anywhere on the field.
Still, Dirks remained most dangerous around the crease, where she could turn almost any pass into a good shot. She finished second on her team with 71 points, 46 goals and 25 assists.
Dirks, a first-team Chesapeake regional All-American, will play next year at Duke.
Liz Frande, Mount Hebron
The top line defender on the No. 1 team, Frande led a unit that allowed opponents to score in double figures only twice while giving up an average of just 4.56 goals per game.
Her leadership in the back helped the Vikings (17-1-1) win their fifth straight state title and their 11th straight Howard County championship.
The junior played an aggressive, physical style of defense, and had many successful games stopping the opponent's top scorer. Her footwork and balance made her nearly impossible to beat one-on-one.
Frande was named an honorable mention Greater Baltimore regional All-American.
Allison Higgins, Roland Park
Higgins emerged as a money player for the IAAM A Conference runner-up Reds. Her biggest goal of the season may have been the one she scored in sudden-death to edge Bryn Mawr in the tournament semifinal. The North Carolina-bound senior piled up 10 points during tournament week and scored twice in the title-game loss to Notre Dame Prep. She scored at least one point in all but one game and led the Reds with 44 goals while also contributing 13 assists.
She also proved valuable on transition, generating offense out of the midfield and creating opportunities for her teammates.
Higgins was named to the Greater Baltimore regional All-America first team.
Megan Huether, Maryvale
The area's top goalie excelled both in and out of the crease. Between the pipes, Huether posted a .681 save percentage while allowing just 4.3 goals per game. She finished the season with 147 saves, including 14 in the IAAM A Conference tournament semifinal loss to Notre Dame Prep.
Huether's greatest strength, however, may lie in her aggressive play outside the crease. Like an extra field player, she often came out to challenge for interceptions and ground balls. She had a knack for directing the defensive slides, knowing that she could cover a loose player.
The junior earned first-team Greater Baltimore regional All-America honors.
Katie Laschinger, Notre Dame Prep
The senior attack wing remained a stabilizing force from the Blazers' rocky start through their remarkable late-season run to the IAAM A Conference crown. Laschinger's most obvious asset was her blazing speed, which often jump-started the Blazers' transition. She could finish on transition, but her stick skills and keen eye for the cutters made her just as effective at drawing the defense and dumping the ball to an open teammate.
She contributed 38 goals and 30 assists but proved much more than just a scorer. Laschinger's defensive skills were the equal of her attack skills.
Bound for Duke this fall, she was named a first-team Greater Baltimore regional All-American.
Melissa McCarthy, Mount Hebron
A second-team All-Metro selection a year ago, McCarthy struggled with walking pneumonia early in the season but battled back to finish strong. The left-handed junior midfielder scored a team-high four goals in the No. 1 Vikings' 19-6 victory over South River for the Class 3A-2A state championship.
She was third on the team in goals with 54 and added 18 assists. Still, her offensive contribution was just one facet of this multitalented player.
McCarthy, a first-team Greater Baltimore regional All-American, excelled at all the little things that don't show up in a box score. Her aggressiveness and tireless play led to 67 ground balls.
Kelly Noon, Bryn Mawr
The veteran player on a young line defense that allowed just five goals per game, Noon played much taller than her 5-foot-2 stature. Her stick skills, quickness and timing allowed her to contain almost anybody one-on-one, but her ability to read the opposition also made her a smart team defender. Noon finished with 14 blocked shots, 14 clean take-aways and 54 ground balls.
Still, her leadership may have been her greatest contribution as the No. 5 Mawrtians (16-3-2) reached the IAAM A Conference tournament semifinal.
Noon, who will play at Harvard next year, was named an honorable mention Greater Baltimore regional All-American.
Sarah Oliphant, Annapolis
Pure offensive fireworks, Oliphant makes her second appearance on the All-Metro first team. The Georgetown-bound senior led a balanced, powerhouse Panthers attack in every offensive category - points (110), goals (57) and assists (53). A rangy athlete, she was most potent attacking from behind the net. Lethal off the crease roll, Oliphant was also effective off the drive.
Despite her shooting skills, the senior remained an unselfish player, using her vision and passing skills to hit open cutters.
One of her best performances came in the 11-7 Anne Arundel County title victory over Severna Park in which she contributed four goals and four assists.
Sarah Sanborn, Bryn Mawr
On a team that graduated 12 seniors, Sanborn emerged as the critical midfield cog. A multi-talented, flexible player, the senior filled in a lot of holes on both ends of the field.
The honorable mention Greater Baltimore regional All-American proved particularly astute at reading her team and adjusting to provide whatever was missing on that day. She was always willing to do whatever it took to help the team.
Sanborn contributed to every facet of the field game and was particularly effective on the draws, winning 44. She also could score (37 goals, 22 assists), win the ball back (28 clean take-aways) or control ground balls (72).
Next year, Sanborn will play at Dartmouth.
Stephanie Scurachio, Mount Hebron
The Howard County Player of the Year had always been known for her explosive scoring ability, but this year she became a more well-rounded player. Strong and fast. Scurachio learned to apply those assets on the defensive end. In addition to leading the Vikings in goals with 67, she led them in take-aways with 32. The junior midfielder also contributed 29 assists and 61 ground balls.
A first-team Greater Baltimore regional All-American, Scurachio was the player the Vikings counted on in the crunch. Despite a lot of attention from opposing defenses, she could score when her team needed a goal most. She had five goals in a 9-9 tie with Bryn Mawr.
She also scored three goals in a 10-9 loss to St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, including two in the final 43 seconds.
Lindsey Stover, Severna Park
Anne Arundel County's top line defender, Stover brought skill, experience and a no-fear style to the No. 6-ranked Falcons (17-3) as they captured the state Class 4A-3A championship. The senior proved an exceptional marker, using her aggressiveness to hound opponents as well as to win loose balls.
Until this season, Stover had been restricted to defense but once allowed to cross the restraining line, she emerged as a threat on attack as well. A natural left-hander, she contributed 30 goals and dished out four assists.
Named an honorable mention Chesapeake regional All-American, Stover will play next year at North Carolina.
Becky Trumbo, Liberty
The Carroll County Player of the Year led the No. 8 Lions (14-3) in nearly every offensive category. Trumbo finished with 100 points - 68 goals and 32 assists. A second-team All-Metro pick last season and an honorable mention Greater Baltimore regional All-American this spring, the junior attacker scored five or more goals on several occasions for the Carroll County champs. She tallied eight points, including five goals, against No. 1 Mount Hebron in a 17-10 regional final loss.
An aggressive, determined player, Trumbo also came up with key midfield possessions especially off the draw. She controlled 70 draws - one third of the Lions' season total.
Acacia Walker, Annapolis
The senior midfielder embodied the definition of a two-way player. A three-time All-Metro first-team pick and a first-team Chesapeake regional All-American, Walker was the Panthers' top defender and their third-leading scorer.
Her enthusiasm, speed and excellent stick skills enabled her to dominate in the midfield, often coming up with the big play. She was as likely to come up with a critical interception as a critical goal.
A strong shooter, Walker scored 40 goals, but she also excelled as a feeder, dishing out 30 assists.
A member of the world champion 1999 U.S. Under-19 team, Walker will move on to seven-time defending national champion Maryland.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun