The first couple years of high school are often ones of transition — a chance to learn new skills and meet new people. It's a time for change and a time for growth.
And for junior varsity athletes, it's the opportunity to lay the foundation for the future.
On fields and courts around the county, outside the varsity spotlight, these athletes competed in their respective sports and picked up life lessons that stretched well beyond wins and losses.
We contacted each school, through its athletic administration, and asked for information on the JV teams. Here's what we heard back:
The Howard County cross country championships were held Oct. 25 with the following results:
Boys team scores: 1. River Hill, 43 points; 2. Centennial, 99; 3. Oakland Mills, 104; 4. Reservoir, 122; 5. Wilde Lake, 131; 6. Atholton, 138; 7. Marriotts Ridge, 161; 8. Mt. Hebron, 163; 9. Glenelg, 172; 10. Howard, 292; 11. Hammond, 368; 12. Long Reach, 381.
Top individuals: 1. Griffin Riddler, C, 18:52; 2. Mark Moody, RH, 18:58; 3. Lee Moore, G, 19:05; 4. David Smart, WL, 19:08; 5. Shafer Burnett, MR, 19:12; 6. Daniel Geldof, RH, 19:13; 7. Zachary Hannan, RH, 19:19; 8. Jai Thakor, RH, 19:22; 9. Nikhil Manohar, WL, 19:25; 10. Michael McAuliffe, MR, 19:27.
11. Nicholas Shulder, OM, 19:30; 12. Jeremy Starr, G, 19:31; 13. Ryan McNeil, C, 19:31, 14. Greg Carmean, MH, 19:32, 15. Kevin O'Hara, OM, 19:34; 16. Paul Grabow, Re, 19:34; 17. Isaac Kirk-Davidoff, OM, 19:35; 18. Alex Hedgren, Re, 19:41; 19. Justin Spoon, A, 19:42; 20. Logan Hill, RH, 19:42.
21. James Allen, A, 19:44; 22. Dan Ludlow, C, 19:48; 23. Drew Risinger, MH, 19:52; 24. Kaede Johnson, RH, 19:56; 25. Colin Cornish, Re, 19:58; 26. Mark Lapointe, RH, 20:00; 27. William Woodcock, OM, 20:01; 28. Nick Hogg, A, 20:03; 29. Timothy Bernard, A, 20:03; 30. Kurt Weinheimer, Re, 20:05.
31. Mathew Vaughn, C, 20:07; 32. Stephen Watson, C, 20:07; 33. Brian Fieni, Re, 20:10; 34. Vince Chaverini, OM, 20:10; 35. Jared Golian, WL, 20:11; 36. Ryan Huyett, MH, 20:11; 37. Luke Mitchell, C, 20:11; 38. Vaibhav Ponnuri, WL, 20:12; 39. Aedan Hale, MR, 20:12; 40. Tim Fisher, RH, 20:13.
41. Eliot Fenton, RH, 20:13; 42. Danny Schofield, C, 20:14; 43. John Dannelly, RH, 20:14; 44. Scott Zimmerman, A, 20:15; 45. John Glazer, Re, 20:17; 46. Tristan King, Re, 20:17; 47. Max Gleichauf, MH, 20:17; 48. Sam Swirdovich, WL, 20:18; 49. Drew Washington, MH, 20:19; 50. Nathan Tatum, G, 20:19.
Girls teams: 1. Centennial, 40; 2. River Hill, 53; 3. Howard, 56; 4. Atholton, 98; 5. Glenelg. 149; 6. Reservoir, 161; 7. Wilde Lake, 213; 8. Marriotts Ridge, 214; 9. Mt. Hebron, 227; 10. Oakland Mills, 288.
Top individuals: 1. Elizabeth Oldhouser, RH, 23:45; 2. Colleen Larkin, C, 23:50; 3. Maggie Saki, A, 23:52; 4. Shreya Nalubola, C, 23:53; 5. Elizabeth Horstkamp, C, 23:55; 6. Julia Li, RH, 24:02; 7. Kelsey Cardace, Ho, 23:05; 8. Alice Settle, RH, 24:19; 9. Katie Smith, A, 24:22; 10. Molly Hart, Ho, 24:31.
11. Becky Newell, Ho, 24:37; 12. Rebecca Sachs, Ho, 24:47; 13. Tailor Smith, Re, 24:49; 14. Becky Goodridge, C, 24:49; 15. Victoria Costa, C, 24:51; 16. Megan Hart, Ho, 24:53; 17. Kirsten Kruus, RH, 24:58; 18. Laura Froh, Ho, 24:59; 19. Erin Swanhart, G, 25:02; 20. April Anlage, Re, 25:02.
21. Julia Ripple, RH, 25:04; 22. Sarah Bank, RH, 25:06; 23. Demi Fortson, G, 25:12; 24. Bailey Merrill, MR, 25:20; 25. Caitlin Stewart-Moore, RH, 25:23; 26. Kathryn Andersen, RH, 25:25; 27. Lauren Dalton, G, 25:25; 28. Erika Sadler, A, 25:25; 29. Ellie Graef, Ho, 25:26; 30. Megan Soffen, Ho, 25:28.
31. Elizabeth Towner, A, 25:29; 32. Kathryn Monthie, A, 25:30; 33. Sandia Akhtar, C, 25:31; 34. Holly Sandler, RH, 25:32; 35. Hannah Sheffrin, Re, 25:35; 36. Jordan Arian-Nejad, Re, 25:35; 37. Sarah Niezelski, MH, 25:39; 38. Nicole Young, RH, 25:41; 39. Kayla Johnson, A, 25:42; 40. Emily Richardson, RH, 25:44.
41. Kelsey Savje, Ho, 25:49; 42. Rachel Rabinowitz, WL, 25:51; 43. Christi Schnorf, WL, 25:52; 44. Karina Aquiahvath, MH, 25:52; 45. MengYaun Sun, C, 25:54; 46. Nayelli Autry, G, 25:57; 47. Paige Culver, G, 25:59; 48. Kimia Abtahi, RH, 26:02; 49. Marina Chang, WL, 26:04; 50. Morgan Craney, RH, 26:05.
The county does not hold a JV fall cheerleading championship, but the teams do compete in the District V JV cheerleading championship.
Results: 1. Chesapeake, 122.8; 2. Broadneck, 120.6; 3. Arundel, 119.2; 4. Oakland Mills, 109.4; 5. Northeast, 103.3; 6. Long Reach, 102; 7. Marriotts Ridge, 101.8; 8. River Hill, 96.8; 9. South River, 93; 10. Old Mill, 91.6; 11. Glen Burnie, 91.4; 12. Mt. Hebron, 88.9; 13. Severna Park, 87.5; 14. Glenelg, 85.8; 15. Howard, 78.6; 16. Centennial, 75.7; 17. Hammond, 72.6; 18. Atholton, 68.3; 19. North County, 53.1.
Atholton's strength was right down the middle of the field. Center midfielder Mollie Belson was the team's MVP, setting the pace on offense and always around the ball.
The team "thrived on her energy," said coach Chris Karlheim.
Karlheim kept team statistics — turnovers, steals, goals and assists and created a turnover to steals ratio. Belson had 48 turnovers, 183 steals, four goals and two assists for a turnover-steal ratio of 135. Her total steals and t/s ratio were team highs.
Gina D'Asto was Atholton's defensive mid and later its second center mid. While not the most vocal player from day one, by the end of the season, she commanded wherever she was. Her stats included 37 turnovers, 130 steals and one assist and she alternated taking free hits with Belson.
Team captain and sweeper Diane D'Costa was in charge of shaping Atholton's defense. "Our theory was to start building from the back and start the offense from hostile defensive pressure," Karlheim said.
D'Asto and D'Costa were accompanied by Kaitlyn Quinn, Monica Cabot, Dainelle Gelb and Carly Matz. They had a combined t/s ratio of +200.
On the offensive side, Haley Kantor (five goals, six assists) was Atholton's points leader. She was followed by Matz (four goals, two assists) and Sami Belsky (four goals). Other standouts were Janie Freedman, Marisa Belsky and Sarah Batascky.
Emily Clinch (35 saves) and Anya Gipsov (10 saves) split time in the goal until a freak accident wiped out Gipsov with a concussion. "With the authority of both goalkeepers and our defensive presence we were able to (give up) less shots," Karlheim said.
"We started strong by shutting out Glen Burnie, 12-0, and Hammond, 6-0. To see the joy on the faces of our players was the most memorable moment for us," the coach said. "They battled in every game, reassuring everyone in the county that Atholton field hockey was something to be both respected and feared."
The Raiders finished the season 5-5-2 and 4-5-2 in county play.
Glenelg Country School's season was shortened due to the fact that two of the schools in its half of the conference didn't field a JV field hockey team. That cost the Dragons (0-5-1 conference, 2-7-1 overall) four games on their schedule.
"It was a building year, but we had a young and eager team," said coach Nic Netzel.
There were 13 freshmen and five sophomores on the team. Freshmen Tessa More and Carmen Zheng led the squad in scoring but the main leadership came from sophomores Kelly Johnson (goalie), Gillie Lynch (D/M), Justine Woolman (M) and Abby Weinstein (M/A), all of whom were called up to varsity for the playoffs.
Despite a much smaller squad this year, Howard JV field hockey persevered and had an outstanding season, finishing the regular season 7-2-2. Taylor Motley and Cailey Tolson held together the midfield. The team was led in scoring by Hannah Faulkner, Taylor Motley and Jessie Heinrich. The defense, led by Sarah Wendt and goalie Alli Jakubek, had five shutouts.
Suki Sandhu (six goals) and Lillie Miller (five goals, three assists) were the leading scorers on the Long Reach team that went 2-7-2 in county play and 3-3-2 overall. Sandhu was the Lightning's most improved player; Miller was a team captain along with Nicole Cote and Blair Jackson.
Miller started at left midfield, "a challenging position Lillie made look easy," said coach Melissa Chen. "She's definitely a player to watch."
A first-year player, Cote brought a strong field sense and athletic ability to the field. She could play any position from attack to defense. "Nicole was easy to coach, which accelerated her talent and presence on the field," Chen said.
Right midfielder Patricia Anderson's drive to succeed always fired up her team. "During halftime or huddles, Patricia would analyze the game in order to seek improvement," Chen said.
Alina Milauskas helped balance the field. She put up three goals from her center midfield position.
In her first full season as goalie, Jackson was a great leader and role model. She made 88 saves on the year.
Cloe Dixon and Kimberly Pelton, both freshmen, showed their stick skills and their field hockey potential this fall.
"This season, we really came together as a team," said Chen. "The positive attitudes and the general group dynamic created a great atmosphere to play under. As a whole, the team has a lot of potential and room to grow."
Marriotts Ridge posted a 9-2-1 record. "We had a very talented, experienced freshman class," said coach Lauren Vint. "Our sophomore class was made up of almost as many first-year players as returning players, which is one characteristic that set this team apart from others in the past."
One notable accomplishment for the Mustangs was outscoring opponents, 40-13.
The team was led by freshman Madeline Courtney, who maintained her calm and composure in every situation. She saw playing time with the varsity during the post-season.
Sophomore captain Shannon Larsen was a vocal leader and sophomore captain Taylor Mann's maturity provided confidence for the defense.
Mt. Hebron (9-0-2 county, 9-1-2 overall) was led by its sophomore class, including captains Kelly Comiskey and Molly Bishop and center midfielder Shannon Kelliher.
Sara Rochester (15 goals, five assists), Lauren Schaaf (11 goals, three assists), Ally Unkenholz (eight goals, three assists) and Bishop (five goals, 10 assists) gave the Vikings plenty of firepower, while Sarah Seen was extremely stingy at the other end of the field.
The freshman goalie had 24 saves, 10 shutouts and only let in two goals all year.
"We had a very successful season in that we scored 46 goals with only two scored against us and 10 shutouts. We were undefeated in the county for the second year in a row, which is a huge testament to our great sophomore leadership and talent in our freshman class," said Mt. Hebron coach Leigh Langmead.
This fall was a season of new beginnings for the Reservoir team. New players. New coach. New traditions. Of the 15 members on the team, 10 were freshmen and only three of those freshmen had ever played before Aug. 13.
"Although we were a small and young team, there was outstanding leadership and patience in our sophomore captains Allison Costenbader and Olivia Petrusky," said coach Lindsay Beil. "Throughout the entire season the girls always expected their best and wanted to keep learning. They finished the season with a 4-8 county record, an improvement from their 1-11 finish in 2010."
Eight players players contributed to the 13 goals the team scored; six of the goals were assisted.
Petrusky (three goals, assist) and freshman Emily Blanchard (goal, two assists) led the offense.
Goalie Connie Chung and sweeper Amy Kim, both freshmen, led the way defensively and each made incredible saves throughout the season.
"This group of girls were incredibly welcoming to me and each other. They truly were a family on and off the field and that kind of comradery makes us extremely excited for the future of the Reservoir field hockey program," Beil said.
River Hill started its season on a sour note, with a loss to Mt. Hebron, but built from there.
"We lost our first county game of the season, which came after the week off because of rain. It was tough losing almost a week of practice at the beginning of the season because the fields were too wet to play," said River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum.
Led by captain Dani Schwab (12 goals), captain Molly Ousbourne (three goals), captain Rachel Banilower (four goals), Angie Arensmeier (17 goals), Emily Hamburger (11 goals), Jillian Kelley (midfield), Kendall Stull (defense) and Sierra Kelly (goalie), the Hawks won their next six games, tied Howard and then won the last three games of the season to finish 10-1-1.
The team's highlight was its 1-0 victory over Glenelg. "This is always a good game between the two teams," Rosenbaum said. Arensmeier had the goal with an assist from Hamburger.
River Hill changed its defensive formation this year and Stull and Isi Okojie were the leaders on defense. Midfielders Schwab, Ousbourne and Kelley were great links between the defense and offense.
"Our team was made up of a group of hard working girls who showed huge improvement throughout the season," Rosenbaum said.
Scoring 39 goals and allowing only 11 on the season, Centennial finished with a 7-1-2 record. The season was highlighted by a come-from-behind, 3-2, victory over Atholton and a 1-0 shutout of River Hill.
Freshman Patrick Baker was the Eagles' leading scorer with 10 goals, while sophomores Ian Abee and Anthony Chiu led a strong group in the midfield. Four experienced sophomores, including sweeper Troy Cary, anchored the defensive unit.
Mt. Hebron finished 5-3-4 overall and accomplished even more than the record showed according to coach Jared Ettinger. "The players did a fantastic job improving tactically and physically throughout the season," he said.
The highlights included a 2-0 win over Reservoir, along with 3-0 shutouts of Glenelg and Atholton. Ettinger was also pleased with the play of his team in a 0-0 tie against Fallston.
A lot of the team's success stemmed from its large core of sophomore leaders.
Ian Reid created havoc offensively all season, finishing with three goals as a physical guy up top. Jonathan Horrocks was also a key threat at striker, finishing with five goals in the final five games. Anand Pradeep and freshman Thomas Hedges (four goals) were two of the team's best players in the midfield, consistently setting up their teammates. And on defense, the combination of Nolan Hoolachan and Zach Andreas kept things organized and provided great stability.
Under new coach Reg Hahne, Reservoir put together an 8-1-2 campaign that included victories over rivals Centennial, 3-2, and Marriotts Ridge, 4-2. The team's only loss came against Mt. Hebron by a 2-0 margin.
In the win over Centennial, Dan Vasquez ended up getting the game winner with two minutes left when he took a free kick from around midfield and looped it over the Eagles goalie. After the goal, which broke a 2-2 tie, Vasquez was mobbed by his teammates for what ended up as one of the top highlights of the season.
Nick Jobst finished with a team-leading seven goals and two assists, followed by Pablo Trueba (3 goals, 2 assists), Cody Morris (3 goals), Vasquez (2 goals) and Rohan Kuruvilla (3 assists). As a team, Reservoir finished with 23 goals for and seven against.
With a high-scoring and balanced attack, which saw 17 different players score at least one goal this year, Atholton put together a 10-1-2 campaign. "This was our best overall record in my seven years coaching here and that is a testament to the talent and work ethic of this team," coach Mehr Dhillon said.
Sophomores Emily Howell, Becca Weinberg, Gabby Stegall and Virginia Cheng led the Raiders on defense in front of freshmen goalies Sage Mayhew and Katy Meissner. As a group, they had seven shutouts and allowed only nine goals against on the season.
It was a trio of sophomores that controlled the midfield as well. Chloe Berman (4 goals, 6 assists), Avni Johnson (1g, 5a) and Darcey Bodziony (1g, 6a) all had strong seasons. Then on offense, freshman Rebekah Markovitz (10g, 2a) finished as the team's leading scorer. She was flanked on attack by sophomores Jenny Haynes (6g, 3a), Julia Bryant (4g, 1a) and Olivia Healey (4g, 1a).
On the way to a 3-5-4 record this season, Centennial coach Katie Grimm pointed to an early tie against Reservoir as a key confidence builder. "The game set the bar for us for the rest of the season," Grimm said. "We knew from that point just how well we could play."
Freshman Carolyn Cole was the team's offensive star all year, scoring eight of the team's 16 goals. She played almost every minute of every game and her season was highlighted by a hat trick against Hammond. Sophomore captains Sarah Fritz (5 assists) and Alex Berry (4 goals and 3 assists) also chipped in with strong efforts in the scoring department.
Marriotts Ridge finished the season 10-2-1 overall, with the team's only losses coming against River Hill and Century. Along the way, the Mustangs picked up impressive victories over Glenelg, 2-1, and Howard, 1-0. Gabby Rouse scored both goals against Glenelg and Abby Blum had a game-saving clear off the goal line against Howard.
The team also wrapped up the season with a shutout victory, 4-0, over Centennial.
Offensively, the team's strikers, Maria Plano and Rouse, combined to score 24 of the team's 41 goals. Sophomore Naomi Feldman and freshman Julia Fedor worked together to control the middle of the field, organizing many of the team's offensive breaks. On defense, sophomore Willow Allen and freshman Mary Koutrelakas anchored a backline in front of sophomore goalie Kali Taylor. As a team, Marriotts Ridge gave up only five goals all season.
In what was an up-and-down season, Mt. Hebron pulled together to win two of its last three games and finish with an overall record of 4-6-2.
Among the highlights was a 2-2 tie against Reservoir, where the Vikings battled back from a two-goal deficit in the latter portion of the second half.
The team's captains were forward/midfielders Ashlyn Tavai and Peyton Otis, along with midfield/backs Morgan Beale and Sarah Maltz.
Defensively, sophomore goalie Cheyenne Semmont led the way with support coming from Jess Schroeder, Katie Rabush, Rachel Poole and Anna Siedlecki. Back-up goalies Anna Pallozi and Maddie Weinberger also contributed. In the midfield, standouts included Molly Nichols, Isabelle Cox, Megan Konig and Olivia Williams.
Sophomore midfielder Zay Lassiter was the leading goal scorer, followed by Otis, Meghan Doherty and Chachi Kelehan. Other contributors up front were Kathleen Carmean, Jenn Skinner, Harper Drake and Karoline Melan.
"Each game someone new would have to step up and play a different role," coach Bob Gibbons said. "Through it all, the girls tried to stay focused on the tasks at hand and remained positive and supportive of each other."
River Hill finished as the county's top team this fall, going 10-0-1 in league play and only losing an out-of-county game against Spalding.
The defense was tremendous all year for the Hawks, allowing only one goal against Howard during the 11-game county schedule. Goalie Sara Nowaskey and defenders Samantha Mayhew, Margo Hrah, Shannon Filippone and Meagan Poindexter were all key pieces of that group in the back.
Taylor Peterson finished as the team's leading scorer with seven goals, while midfielders Julianna Ball, Meagan Ryan and Lauren Hessler also had strong offensive seasons as well.
There were close games along the way, though, despite River Hill outscoring county opponents 39-1. The Hawks defeated both Reservoir and Marriotts Ridge in games decided by a 1-0 margin.
Although Wilde Lake finished the season 3-9-2 overall, first-year coach Kristyn Neubauer said it was a memorable season. "I had so many new players that it truly was like starting off brand new," she said. "All of the girls brought something unique to the game."
Sophomore goalie Lauren Hutchison worked hard in the offseason and served as a team captain this year. She finished with more than 125 saves and also was instrumental in the team's clearing game. In front of her, freshman defender Elizabeth Amare used her positioning, footwork and ability to transition the ball up field to become an immediate impact player.
Freshman midfielder Anna Haase is a "natural-born leader," according to her coach, and she served as a key player on both sides of the ball. As a strong communicator, she was one of the team's most valuable players.
The Hammond football team completed a 4-5 season.
The Golden Bears were led by sophomores RB/LB Isaac Murray (475 rushing yards, 6 rushing TDs, 8 total TDs, 27 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, fumble recovery, interception), WR/CB Jordan Mason (25 receptions, 418 yards, 4 receiving TDs, 6 total TDs, 27 tackles, 6 interceptions, forced fumble, fumble recovery), QB Phil Frazier (70/129, 803 yards, 8 TDs), LB Sean McHugh (59 tackles, 7 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, block, safety), DT Ben Owens (55 tackles, sack, forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, interception), SS Brian Gsell (62 tackles, 2 interceptions, block), WR/CB Tyler Shams (26 receptions, 365 yards, 3 TDs, 34 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, block) and LB Cody Stolar (48 tackles, sack).
"The growth of this team has been impressive. We started with a tough schedule and lost our first three games to good opponents. To see the players endure that stretch and then come out and post a 4-2 record in the final six games was a testament to their resilience," coach Erik Burnett said.
Over the final six games the offense averaged 20 points per game and the defense averaged four takeaways per game. Two of Hammond's losses were by one score or less.
"The team was tough and really battled hard late in some games," Burnett said. "I think that dealing with that type of adversity and continuing to work hard and improve is indicative of players with very strong character."
Howard finished 7-1-1 while scoring 27.8 points per game and allowing only 10.5, with two shut outs.
Sophomore captains QB/LB Neil Caruso (team leader in passing yards and TDs), OL/DE Mac Lee (top lineman, hardest worker on team), FB/TE/LB Eric Martinez (tough tackler, solid athlete, emotional leader) and WR/DB/K/P John Travisano (team leader in receptions and TD receptions) were chosen for their work ethic, attitude and performance on and off the field.
Other players that played a key role in the team's success included sophomore RB/DB Terrell Charles (team leader in rushing yards and TDs), whose athleticism and breakaway speed make him a player to watch.
The team's top freshmen included: RB/DB Najee Savage (second on the team in rushing yards and TDs, athletic and hard runner, improved each and every week), TE/DE Adam Friedman (made some huge catches and was stout on defense all season), WR/FS Isaiah Stokes (led the team in interceptions, was a huge addition to the defense down the stretch) and FB/DL Craig Brauer (tough runner, opened up big holes for running backs all season and was often in opposing backfields making plays from his defensive tackle position).
Sophomore FB/LB Mike Stylc and freshman MLB Shane Kieta sured up the middle of the defense and were both near the top of the team's list of leading tacklers.
Second year coach Jimmy Creighton particularly remembers a 7-0 win over Glenelg, another of the top teams in the league.
Howard scored the only TD of the game on a first quarter fumble recovery in the end zone by freshman DT Saif Bryant. After that the Howard offense controlled the clock and kept the ball away from Glenelg by converting on numerous third and fourth down situations. Isaiah Stokes had an interception to hold Glenelg from scoring a potential touchdown inside the five yard line, and later intercepted another pass, sealing the game.
"Our defense played great ... this was a great win for our JV team and for the Howard football program," said Creighton, who was assisted by Mark Caruso, Jon Pieper and Tyler Wade.
The Howard sophomores finished their time on the JV with a 15-3-1 record over the past two years and have a lot of potential to do good things for the Howard football program.
Mt. Hebron had an admirable season, finishing with a 4-5 record, while only playing two home games.
Freshman Austin Day was a standout at linebacker, finishing the year with 86 tackles, six sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Sophomore WR Chris Anderson made 11 catches for 124 yards, rushed for 122 yards and returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown.
Sophomore RB Brandon Anthony rushed for 663 yards and seven touchdowns, and also returned a kickoff 83 yards on the opening kickoff against Howard.
Sophomore Urek Bradshaw rushed for 258 yards and four touchdowns, and on defense had one interception and 48 tackles.
Sophomore QB Michael Lettieri had 225 passing yards, 135 rushing yards and one rushing TD. He also started a 46-yard flea flicker pass to Chris Anderson.
Sophomore NG Ryung Lee made 65 tackles with nine sacks, blocked a punt and recovered two fumbles.
Sophomore David Niezelski anchored the offensive line.
Sophomore G/DT Rahman Omar made eight sacks, recovered two fumbles and made 58 tackles.
Sophomore TE Paul Lutchenkov had 12 catches for 178 yards and two TDs.
The Vikings started the season 1-4 but finished with wins in three of their last four games, including a win over Marriotts Ridge in monsoon-like conditions.
"The ... team vastly improved throughout the season. I attribute our success to the mid season addition of Defensive Coordinator Mike Tittsworth and having 42 great student athletes who worked extremely hard to improve each week. These young men showed a great amount of resolve and leadership throughout the season. The coaches are very proud of their team," Mt. Hebron coach Michael McCarthy said.
River Hill had another great JV football season, finishing 9-0 with three shut outs. The Hawks scored 289 points while allowing only 65.
The Hawks were led on offense by sophomores Drew Pritchard at quarterback, Samson Carnock, Billy Small and Zach Rivera on the offensive line, Chaz Gladden at running back, and Robert Thyberg at wideout.
The Hawks defense was led by an outstanding group of linebackers, including Sam Kolodrubetz, Klonji Moore, Cyrus Vaughn and Cory Daniel. The defensive line was led by Anthony Corrao and Joe Gillespie, while Chris Dugan and Brandon Norwood were the team's top defensive backs.
Special teams standouts were Alex Potocko, Chris Moseman, D.J. Melhi, Mitch Howland and Tyler Sauer.
We "had a great class of freshmen who contributed in many wins. The freshmen are going to be the leaders and the building blocks for another great season in 2012," coach Jay Hull said.
Atholton was 6-8 this fall while returning only one player from an outstanding 2010 squad.
"The team finished up a lot stronger than they started out because the team learned the sport and came together as a unit," coach Rick Ewart said.
Grace Park and Jenny Mandl showed versatility, playing several positions throughout the season to accommodate the team's development. Jackson Shrickel led the team in aces and serving percentage, while newcomers Briana Taborn and Olivia Na made huge strides during the season. Cassisdy Graham and Madison Lim led the defense.
Although Atholton's season ended in a tough loss to Howard, the Raiders "proved how much they had adapted during the course of the year to become better all around players," Ewart said.
Centennial had plenty of highlights this season, finishing 9-4 in league play and 9-5 overall.
"Our setters, (freshmen) Caroline Tussing and Dani Wilson, did a great job managing over 160 assists between them," coach Robert Moy said.
Heidi Liu and Monika Buczak led the Eagles attack with 36 kills each, and also led the team at the net with 12 and 8 blocks, respectively. Cara Walsh (29 kills) and Bridgette Mady (24) also stood out on offense.
Several other Centennial players had outstanding individual performances: Katie Havilk had four kills in five attempts against Glenelg; Beth Lyman had three kills in five attempts against Mt. Hebron; Taylor Finn had four service aces against Wilde Lake; Emily Moore served well against Long Reach with two aces; Tiyana Bumbray served 100 percent with an ace and two kills against Glenelg; Brandi Kraisser had 14 kills in three matches at the Hurricane Tournament, matching her total for the rest of the season; and Sara Suhrcke had a serve/receive average of 2.33 in the Hurricane Tournament.
Howard completed an excellent season, amassing an 11-2 league record and winning one additional non-league match.
Freshman Hanna Webster had a great year at setter, taking control on the court.
"She is so volleyball smart and knows what to do with the ball each time," coach Emma Dawe said.
From the service line, Webster often set the tone for a game, once rattling off eight straight points.
Sophomore outside hitters Katherine Sudbrook and Allison Holland were a force to be reckoned with for Howard.
"They are extremely versatile and play the game with so much intensity; they never take a point off," Dawe said. "They are both leaders and know how to pick up the team when they are down."
Freshman Jahaira Ipanaque emerged this fall as an outstanding defensive player.
"Jahaira is quick and gets to every ball. She really kept our back row together this year," Dawe said.
Dawe added that sweeping Centennial in two sets was a season highlight for the Lions.
"The girls went into that game expecting to win and that's what they did. They worked for every point and kept up their intensity all game," she said. "This was an amazing team. We had so much versatility out of each player. They worked together in every way a team wishes they could. They went into every game expecting to win and kept pushing until they did. They had fun together and that's what made the season fun and exciting."
Mt. Hebron (7-6 county, 8-6 overall) found itself right in the thick of things this season, being evenly matched with most of its opposition. Most matches were closely contested and many went to three sets. Especially memorable was the final match against a strong Oakland Mills team, with both sides rallying to exchange leads, and Mt Hebron eventually winning 26-24, 24-26, 15-12.
Freshmen Camryn Case (six aces), Joselyn Markas (three aces) and Cheryl Dombrowski (three aces); and sophomores Mary Arsenault (20 aces), Elyse Smith (13 aces) and Tori Ketner (28 aces) all served at 90 percent or higher, making serving a team strength for the Vikings.
The Vikings' offense was led by a pair of dominant middle hitters: Rachel Neal (17 aces, 46 kills and 14 point blocks) and Reagan Huber (15 aces and 23 kills). Outside hitters Aaliyah Montague-Bass and Kathryn Diaz combined for another 24 kills. Defensively, Mt. Hebron was anchored by the trio of Lidia Di Pilato (12 digs), Amanda Hough (31 digs) and libero Saisreekavya Rhallibandi (48 digs). Elyse Smith and Tori Ketner were talented enough to be effective at multiple positions on the court, combining for 30 kills, 31 digs and 100 assists.
"It was a very fun season and what a great pleasure to work with these wonderful girls," said Mt. Hebron coach Susan E. Wiggs.
Oakland Mills was 4-9 this season, and 5-9 overall, including wins over strong Atholton and Howard teams.
Middle hitter Anna Conover, a sophomore captain, was strong at the net and was also excellent from the service line. In 134 attempts, she missed only three serves, for a 98 percent success rate.
Fellow sophomore captain Rachel Scott, an outside hitter, was one of the team's most well rounded players. A hitter with a knack for finding holes in opposing defenses, she also was one of the top blockers on the team with six point blocks.
Sophomore middle hitter Paulina Taniewski was the Scorpions strongest hitter, finishing with a team-high 45 kills and earning a promotion to varsity before the end of the regular season. Conover and Scott also got the call-up to varsity for Oakland Mills' playoff run.
Freshman setter Hannah Larsen led the team in aces, and had over 115 assists with only seven setting errors the entire season.
"This was an exciting season for us. The very first match we played was a home match against Marriotts Ridge, and our team showed a lot of fight. The entire gym was in a frenzy because the score kept tying up. We didn't take the win (we lost 17-19 in the third game), but I knew then that we were going to have a lot of fun this fall. And we did. My team played hard, enjoyed the sport, and turned a few heads with their playing. We had five wins this season, but even many of the matches we lost were fantastic games (five out of the nine we didn't win we lost by only two or three points). Most matches we played were nail biters, and that kept us wanting to play at our best. I had a great group of girls, and I was proud of how they played both in skill and attitude," coach Julie Heiliger said.
Reservoir's success on JV this season bodes well for the success of the varsity in future years, as the Gators finished the league season 12-2. Reservoir also easily swept Northern in the championship match of the Huntingtown JV Tournament, 21-13, 21-3, after watching Northern knock off Centennial in a hardfought semifinal battle. The Gators defeated Huntingtown and Patuxent to finish first in pool play of the tournament.
"After a slow start in the beginning of the day, the girls were really able to focus, both mentally and physically," coach Vadim Rubin said. "We were waiting anxiously to play an aggressive Northern JV volleyball team. We came into the game prepared for anything and the girls stormed the court with spirits high and the energy to match."
Hannah Pinion led Reservoir's high-powered offense with 3.3 kills a game and strong serving, causing disruption to many teams' offenses. Kendall Tayman led the defense and serve receive, averaging three digs per game, and was able to quickly run down balls. Paige Foley was the leader on the team as the setter and was able to create countless fantastic assists for her offense to work with.
River Hill finished its winning season with an overall record of 10-3.
"It was a great season of developing and maturing as volleyball players and teammates and each player achieved some successes and contributed to the winning season," coach Leire Moulier said. "I am very proud of my team this year. They worked really hard this season to be a competitive JV team, and they succeeded in growing as individual players but also building a solid team."
The Hawks' high powered offense was led by setter and captain Gabriella Paci, who finished with 195 assists. Fellow captain Hailey Brown led the team with 52 kills, while Keana Richards (50 kills) and Kerry Zhao (39 kills) weren't far behind. Richards led the team with 32 blocks, while Zhao (25), Paci (17), and Jennifer Kim (15) paced the team in service aces. Brown (90 digs), libero Hayley Lala (66 digs) and Zhao (47 digs) were the backbone of the Hawks' defense. Starter Tayor Laumann was also key to River Hill's success this fall.
After starting the season with a two-set loss to county powerhouse Mt. Hebron, River Hill rebounded to eventually defeat rival Reservoir in a third set tiebreaker, 22-25, 25-20, 15-10, to improve to 6-1.
That win was followed by a loss to Howard, but the Hawks once again rallied, defeating Marriotts Ridge in another hardfought three-set match, 25-18, 22-25, 16-14.
In their second to last match, River Hill avenged its season opening loss to Mt. Hebron.
"It was a true honor to have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented athletes I have ever worked with, and overall I am so proud of my girls for what they accomplished as a team this season," Moulier said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun