High school coaches covet players who are versatile. But Marriotts Ridge coach Robin Grey says she got more than just a player who can plug a gap when Morgan Crable first pulled on a Mustangs soccer jersey four seasons ago.
"Morgan is unselfish and incredibly skilled, but her versatility is what makes her a blue-chip player and sets her apart from the rest of the pack," Grey said. "Her style of play is one of a perfect blend of power, finesse and smart play. Her presence on the field is undeniable."
More important, perhaps, she "plays at an elite level" no matter where she is on the field, Grey said. "This cannot be said of all players."
Crable, who usually starts at midfield but has played everywhere except in the net in her varsity career, can now add another achievement to her resume. She is the Howard County Times/Columbia Flier Player of the Year.
She was "a powerhouse and my triple threat," Grey said. Up top, "Morgan is our playmaker — an explosive, offensive power who has no problem exploiting the backfield and taking keepers one-on-one. When she is in the midfield, she is essential to our transition game. A natural defender, she is probably most comfortable in the back. Her ability to read an opponent is uncanny."
Crable registered at least one point in nine of the Mustangs' 14 games. She put in the game-winning goal in three games and twice assisted on game-winners, including the deciding goal in the Class 2A regional quarterfinal. "Reflecting back, Morgan probably had a hand in almost every goal we had this season," Grey said.
Crable started her soccer career as a striker. "Then one day somebody was missing" and her club team coach needed an outside defender, Crable said. That was in 2010, and defense soon became her position of choice on her club team. "I haven't moved since."
But Marriotts Ridge, saddled with injuries, had other voids to fill. In a two-game span, for example, Grey lost seven starters. "We were missing people. I moved everywhere. I enjoy playing anywhere on the field," Crable said. "I guess I had a good sense of where to play to make our team effective."
Grey said that particularly this year, Crable "gave confidence" to her teammates. "They feed off her. They ask for advice. She's a leader."
Crable said that "being able to play so many positions and still have people look up to me when I was on the field" is a highlight of her career.
Crable plays for the U-17 Freestate team that finished third in the national tournament two years ago, and she had many college suitors but the first one she visited won out. "I visited so many places but I kept coming back to Loyola." She says she'll feel comfortable there. Crable played for Greyhounds coach Katherine Vittori as an 8-year-old.
"Loyola could not have gotten a better gift," Grey said. "She's the most humble kid I've met. She plays so hard, but is the first to come off the field and be humble and gracious. It's refreshing. In a coach's career few come across like she does. Very few make an impact like she has made."
Marriotts Ridge entered the new season with high expectations, and even with all the injuries, the Mustangs advanced to the regional semifinal game against Long Reach. If not for the injuries, "we could have gone so much farther, but I wouldn't change anything. Everything was a learning experience," Crable said. "We had a young team but we stepped up and proved something to people who didn't think we would go as far as we did. We all grew as people."
Named to the all-county first team are:
Kristen Fawole, Long Reach. A four-year starter, Fawole used her lightning-fast speed to score a school-record 45 career goals, including 17 this fall. She also had 11 assists as a senior to lead Long Reach to its best season. "She used her speed to tenaciously press defenders," coach Erik Sandersen said. "She was always a threat to break away from the defense … to create a scoring opportunity."
Fawole set the tone with two unassisted goals in the county opener against Glenelg and got a breakaway goal to put Long Reach up, 1-0, in the regional semifinals against Marriotts Ridge. That last high school goal "gave the team a burst of confidence" and propelled it into the state semifinals for the first time in the school's history.
Alex Hamer, River Hill. Hamer, a repeat first-team pick, finished with 10 goals and 14 assists. "Once again she led the team in assists," coach Brian Song said. "She has knack for finding people in the right place. Alex is very unselfish and a great teammate." More often than not, Sheridan Street was on the receiving end of a Hamer setup.
Hamer has 26 assists in two years. Her long runs down the sideline were always a threat. "She has outstanding speed and she is a workhorse," Song added.
Katrina Macadoff, Atholton. With 11 goals and nine assists, Macadoff was almost always involved in the Raiders' offense. "We really relied on her as our offensive threat, both by scoring goals and with assists," said Stephanie Stoutenborough. "She is quick and powerful when she goes to goal. But she also can draw the defender in and lay the ball off to a teammate. Katrina is the type of player that makes things happen; she doesn't just sit up top and cherry pick."
Macadoff, whose leadership was apparent on the field, has 31 career goals and 19 assists.
Sheridan Street, River Hill. Street led the county's public school players with 53 points (22 goals, nine assists). Those numbers include a hat trick against Mount de Sales, six game-winning goals, and five two-goal games. Street, who has committed to Syracuse, had a goal and/or assist in 16 of 19 games for the unbeaten Class 3A state champs.
Street, a Player of the Year nominee and a repeat first-team player, has "tremendous speed with the ball on her feet, can go through double teams, has very precise and accurate passing, and is very determined and driven for success," Song said. Street "will do anything for the team's success."
"She had a great junior year, but I expect even bigger things from her," said Song about his prolific scorer, who has 46 goals and 17 assists in three years.
Katie Arensmeier, River Hill. A playmaker, Arensmeier controlled the middle for the Hawks and was always looking to send the ball up top. She set up six winning goals and, with eight goals and 12 assists, she had a goal and/or assist in 12 games.
"She can play multiple positions, is good with both feet, and plays on the right or left side. She's one of those players that is all about team," Song said. Arensmeier's leadership was reflected in the fact that she was the only captain for the Hawks. She had 21 goals and 22 assists in her career.
Maddie Boccio, Atholton. "Maddie is one of the smoothest players that I have ever seen play the game," Stephanie Stoutenborough said. "She makes what she does with the ball look so easy. Once we got possession of the ball, our goal was to get it to Maddie so she could lead our attack.
"She plays with such finesse, sees the field so well and plays at such a fast pace, she makes it really hard to defend her," added the coach.
Boccio and Crable, teammates on a club team, will again be teammates at Loyola next season.
Maria Pascale, Wilde Lake. Pascale "controls the game in the midfield, setting up other players and creating great opportunities for our forwards," Davia Procida said. "She is a tenacious player with an unbelievable ability to galvanize the team. She cared as much about her teammates as she did about winning, and, boy, did she want to win. Her soccer ability and her overall attitude and leadership kept us in every game this year and was a huge part of our success." In a nail-biter against Marriotts Ridge, Pascale scored twice, including the game-winner, for a come-from-behind win.
"I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to coach such an amazing player and young lady," added Procida.
Jen Voyton, River Hill. Voyton scored twice in the Hawks' season-opener against Urbana to set the tone for her season. "She had an outstanding season," Song said. "She played out of position last year at fullback, but this year she played center mid. She controlled midfield play and played both ways extremely well. She has a knack for finding a player for a pass or getting her shots off."
Voyton had 11 goals and eight assists. "I look for a greater season from her next year," Song added.
Callahan Allen, River Hill. Allen may be best remembered this season for scoring in overtime to give River Hill an unprecedented eighth state title. But her consistent defense, paired with her offensive skills, made her a standout all year. She had four goals and six assists, including the winning assist against Atholton in a league matchup and "then she shut down their best players in the playoff game," Song said.
"She is very reliable," he added. "She takes on and defends against the best players from the other team." River Hill gave up just six goals in 19 games.
Blair Bonner, Reservoir. "Blair is a tough young woman," coach Josh Sullivan said. "She really sets a tone for us in the back and has a tough presence when she is marking you or winning 50-50 balls."
"She has a rocket for a leg and can put (the ball) in the box from about 50 yards out. Any foul gives us an automatic scoring opportunity when you have someone like Blair. She is incredible in the air and is our target for most of our corners. Next year I really hope I can get her pushed forward a bit more. I definitely want her getting more offensive opportunities out of the back."
Carolyn Eichhorn, Centennial. After missing all but a few minutes of her sophomore year because of an injury, Eichhorn became a defensive standout and the kicking specialist for the Eagles. Her most memorable — and game-winning — free kick came in the second overtime against Atholton. A captain, she also took almost every corner kick and goal kick for Centennial. Three of her six goals came on penalty kicks.
Defensively, "she has strong skills with the ball and takes great angles defensively to hold quicker players off the ball," coach Steve Baxter said. "Her work ethic in practice and competitive attitude are second to none. It became very clear early on that she was captain material."
Jenna Bergquist, Marriotts Ridge. The netminder "came into the season with confidence and owned the 18," coach Robin Grey said. The vocal leader in the Mustangs' new flat-back defense, Bergquist had four shutouts and "commanded the box this year. If I look at the growth she's made in two years, it's unbelievable."
Bergquist was confident on fast breaks, strong on set plays, has a keeper's reflexes and used her height to protect the upper 90s. "She's a junior. That's the best news. I feel she's really coming into her own," Grey said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun