It's hard for me to remember a player who has had such an impact recently in women's soccer as Erica Suter. She was our Player of the Year in 2007 after she scored 52 goals and had 26 assists in her career and led River Hill to a third-straight state title as a senior.
Now a senior at Johns Hopkins, Erica is about to finish another incredible career. She holds five individual Blue Jay records including career points (138), career goals (54), career assists (30), single-season assists (14) and single-season points (50).
Erica, a team captain who has already been named to the all-regional academic team, was named the conference's offensive player of the week on Monday. Obviously, she's a big reason Hopkins is 19-0 and headed into the Division III NCAA playoffs this weekend.
The Blue Jays are ranked fourth nationally. Wow is about the only way I can describe her career and what she's done for Hopkins.
When then-sports editor Karen Brelsford interviewed her for the Player of the Year story in 2007, Karen noted that Erica was a "quiet" leader. Karen says that description still holds, explaining that Erica is most proud of her assist record at Hopkins. "It just feels better to set someone else up for a goal," Erica told her. "I think even (coach Leo Weil) will tell you I'm a very unselfish player."
When he was recruiting Erica out of high school, Weil says he "knew she'd be a good addition to our team. She's our leading scorer and she's gotten better every year.
"She's very highly motivated and hates to come out of the game," he added.
Weil has nominated Erica for the conference player of the year.
"It's a no-brainer," he said. That team will be released this week.
Erica was recruited by some Division I schools, including Maryland, but chose the Blue Jays. "I sometimes think what it would have been like to play for an ACC school, but in the end this was a better fit. Hopkins is a good balance of soccer and academics," said Erica, who is majoring in international studies.
Speaking of Leo Weil, he's been at the helm of Hopkins' women's soccer program since it began in 1992. A long-time Columbian and a coach in the Soccer Association of Columbia, Leo has led Hopkins to its seventh-straight Centennial Conference championship and Saturday's contest with Eastern Connecticut will be his 14-consecutive post-season appearance. Last year, the Jays made it to the elite eight in the playoffs.
A couple years back, he was named Coach of the Year in the conference.
I think there is still some good news to come out of this story as we wait for the Centennial Conference to name its player of the year. I don't want to jinx her, but I hope Erica will make headlines again.
Tollick serves tennis
Congratulations to Art Tollick for receiving a award for special service by the U.S. Tennis Association for his commitment to bringing Troy Park Tennis Facility to near reality.
I use the term near reality because the project has not yet been approved, but few can deny the effort that Art has put forth. He quit his job to concentrate on bringing a top-notch tennis facility to Howard County.
The going sometimes has been somewhat bumpy. Still, Art is convinced that Troy Park will be a reality.