For some young athletes, a chance to play JV sports is the opportunity of a lifetime. To wear a uniform emblazoned with the school name, to be a part of a team, to play in front of family and classmates, and to forge bonds that last long after graduation.
For others, JV sports are just a temporary layover on the journey to much bigger athletic endeavors down the road. But regardless of whether JV sports represents a pinnacle or a launching point, the efforts of these young athletes should be recognized and applauded.
To that end, we asked the coaches and athletics and activities managers at all the local schools to tell us about their spring season, and this is what we heard back.
Atholton finished 3-8 overall, being led most of the season by team MVP Sami Belsky. Belsky showcased consistency on attack that really went a long way. "She had the ability to always come away with the ball and take it to goal, either resulting in a goal or forcing the goalie to make a big save," coach Taylor Stetka said.
Other star players were starting goalie Yasi Brewer, who kept the team in games with her big saves, and defenders Alanna Schrecengost and Dani Gelb. Those two played almost every minute of every game and were great at causing turnovers.
Among the season highlights was an extremely close game against Centennial. No matter what the circumstances, Stetka knew she was going to get a strong effort from her team.
"The girls (always) showed up and did their best … they always hustled and did as I asked," she said. "It was a fun season."
Centennial put together a .500 record (5-5) in county play and had some strong games along the way. Among the highlights was a 12-9 victory over Atholton and a close 13-10 loss to River Hill. Both games showcased the team's determination and will to win, particularly the victory over the Raiders. "Our girls played very unselfishly and won as a team," coach Brittany Coughlan said.
Freshman attack Samantha Courtemanche led the Eagles in draw controls (36) and scoring (32 goals, 50 points). "She was a huge offensive presence for our team and stepped up in crucial situations," Coughlan said.
Freshman midfielder Reece Western was also a key, adept at causing turnovers and collecting loose balls. "She was key to our transitions and offensive success," Coughlan said.
For the second straight year, Glenelg finished 9-2 in county play and 10-2 overall. A balance of freshmen and sophomores helped lead the way to a finish near the top of the county. "Overall, I felt this year was a success even though we lost our last two games of the year to Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron," coach Chris Beil said. "I am very proud of our girls."
The loss to Mt. Hebron was an extremely close contest, with the Gladiators coming back from being down 8-2 to lose by just one goal, 9-8. The team's victory over Howard was also a highlight, with a goal in the closing seconds of regulation forcing overtime and setting up the eventual victory. Defender Rachel Johnson was especially strong in that game against the Lions.
Sami Smit led Glenelg in scoring with 24 goals, while Kayla Tatum chipped in with 17. Anna McAuliffe did a really good job on the draw, getting the ball in the right spots so that teammates Monica Chassion and Sam Pearce could secure possession.
Freshman Maisy Haney led the team in assists with 14 and anchored the attack alongside Mia Astran. The defense was led by Amanda Caporletti, Stephanie Forester, Emma Houck and Johnson. Goalie Sara Brock was also strong, posting two shutouts.
Marriotts Ridge put together a 9-0 record in county play this spring, while finishing 9-1 overall. There were great games scattered throughout, but Coach Stephanie Fox says headlining the list was a dominating effort against River Hill midway through the season. "All their hard work had paid off, they came out strong, their midfield transitions were amazing and they just all synced up," Fox said.
The team's only loss came against non-county foe McDonogh, 10-5. But even in defeat, Fox says it was an impressive effort. "The score of this game doesn't portray how close it truly was," she said. "The team fought hard until the very end … it was a tough loss, but a great match-up for them."
Sophomore Katie Wardle led the Mustangs with 21 goals and 14 assists. Fellow sophomore Sarah Lee was right behind her with 20 goals and 13 assists. The Marriotts Ridge defense really benefitted from the arrival of freshmen Kelly Colegrove and Leah Zadjura, who had great footwork and instincts that made a big difference.
Mt. Hebron completed another successful season, going 9-1 in county play and 10-1 overall. The team started with eight straight wins, including a couple close victories over Glenelg and Howard, to set the tone for the season.
"I felt that the girls were real students of the game and were eager to learn," coach Jeannette Ireland said. "They worked hard and showed real improvement in their skills as well as understanding of the game. They played solid team defense and did a nice job on their offensive execution."