2002 All-Metro Girls Soccer Team
Ashly Kennedy, St. Mary's, girls soccer player of the year (Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / December 9, 2002)
Kennedy's poised first touch, ability to get by an opponent and knack for finding a teammate checking back or open out wide was regularly found from her central defender position.
Then came the intangibles: keeping together an injury-riddled back line; running extra sprints on her own following an upsetting regular-season loss to John Carroll; and more times than not, doing whatever necessary to help bring home a Saints' win.
The four-year standout, selected to the NSCAA/Adidas All-American team, had one goal going into the Saints' Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship game against Notre Dame Prep. She left with two. On that occasion, scoring a goal was needed to assure victory. It came in double overtime and made it three straight IAAM crowns for the Saints.
Vintage Kennedy, who will take her soccer talent to the University of Maryland next fall. "Her skills and work ethic and tenacity allow her to play at such a high level. And she hates to lose," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin.
Coach of the Year: Vanessa Ozimek, Century
The 24-year-old upstate New York native set an impressive and immediate high standard in leading the first-year varsity program to the Class 2A state title. With a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores and void of seniors, Ozimek had the talented group playing to its strengths and working as one.
The result was a stellar 15-1 season that was capped by a 2-0 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the state final.
Ozimek, who first realized her desire to coach during her playing days at Penfield High School near Rochester, N.Y., had her players involved and enthused. With every player well aware of her particular role, the team cohesively blended together and worked the potent build-from-the-back attack that worked the wings first before moving on to the middle.
"My main focus was to get the girls to see the field together, so we spent a lot of time talking about what we saw in the game the night before or at practice," Ozimek said. "It took time having them work together and mesh. By about the fifth or sixth game we found something that really worked and then we found the consistency by the end of the season."
Zoey Bouchelle, Notre Dame Prep
Most of the No. 6 Blazers' offense either started or ended with stellar play from Bouchelle, who finished with 20 goals and eight assists at center midfield and grew into a strong team leader in her junior season. Opposing game plans were geared toward stopping Bouchelle, but the Baltimore City/County Player of the Year thrived on the challenge and was always able to respond favorably in leading the Blazers to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final. Her second-half goal in the championship game against No. 1 St. Mary's tied the game and energized her teammates, but the Saints would go on to claim a 2-1 win in double overtime.
Megan Buescher, River Hill
The standout central defender will long be remembered for her throw-ins that resulted in so many goals over her stellar four-year career. But the 6-foot Buescher brought so much more for the No. 5 Hawks, starting with plain and simple reliability in the back. The three-time All-Metro first-team selection, who will play at North Carolina State next fall, headed off potential problems before they reached the Hawks' penalty area with timely anticipation, strong play in the air and an overwhelming presence. The co-Howard County Player of the Year was equally valuable on set plays at the other end, finishing with six goals and 16 assists.
Kelly Kasper, Century
The gifted junior midfielder was always at the right place at the right time, joining the first-year varsity program and then leading the Knights to an improbable Class 2A state championship. From winning possession at midfield to distributing and scoring to providing a calming influence for a young roster, Kasper was always able to find a way to make an impact in the Knights' 15-1 season. The Carroll County Player of the Year, who came to Century from South Carroll, finished the season with nine goals and nine assists. Fittingly, it was Kasper - the starting point for the Knights all season - who ensured the happy ending with a late second-half insurance goal in the team's 2-0 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the state final.
Mary Key, St. Mary's
The four-year standout striker brought precision and efficiency to the penalty area, finishing the season with 15 goals and nine assists as a key component to the No. 1 Saints' third straight IAAM A Conference crown.
Key needed little time or space to finish off scoring chances, equally adept with both feet and in the air. The repeat All-Metro selection finished her career with 61 goals and 35 assists to place second all-time in scoring at St. Mary's. Also a standout in lacrosse, Key plans to play that sport at Johns Hopkins next year.
Lindsey Koerber, North Harford
The Hawks lost seven starters, including their entire defense, from last season, but were still able to stay in every game this fall. The biggest reason why? Koerber's work in goal. Smart, instinctive and always in the way, the four-year standout went 10-2-2 in her final season, blanking 10 opponents to add to her program-best 33 career shutouts. She allowed just seven goals for the season - only one coming in Harford County play - while coming away with 147 saves. Her strong leadership and gifted foot skills quickly helped bring together an otherwise inexperienced defensive corps. Koerber, a veteran of the Olympic Development Program in Delaware as a guest player, plans to play at Wilmington College in New Castle, Del.
Kara Lewis, River Hill
In a breakthrough junior season, Lewis went from a steady contributor as a sophomore to a primary source for goals this fall. Relentless inside the penalty area and needing little time or space, the Hawks' hard-working striker always made the most of her chances to finish the season with a Howard County-leading 16 goals and nine assists. Lewis accepted and thrived on the challenge of beating a defender one-on-one and then knew exactly where the corners were to finish the job. Lewis also was an asset with her versatility. When called on, she dropped back to midfield to provide energy and give opponents a different look.
Brittany McKew, Perry Hall
Controlling the middle of the field was a top priority for the No. 4 Gators. Enter McKew. The junior midfielder, a second-team All-Metro selection last season, was able to leave her impression on every game in a number of positive ways to lead the Baltimore County champs to a second straight Class 4A state runner-up finish. McKew scored four goals, dished out nine assists and, perhaps most importantly, helped the Gators set their pace by getting to the ball first at midfield and then being productive with it. Strong in the air and always at the right place on the field, McKew was a huge asset defensively when the team was up a goal.
Ashley Myers, John Carroll
As dangerous as they come with the ball, the Patriots sophomore striker shrugged off an early-season ankle injury to finish with 12 goals and two assists despite being heavily marked. Myers never needed much time or space to make things happen in the Patriots' offensive third. Fast, strong and highly skilled, she was an effective target with her back to the goal and then could turn on any defender to create scoring chances that were often finished with a cannon shot. To complete the package, the two-year starter had good vision and field sense to help hold the ball and set up teammates.
Sarah Sample, St. Mary's
With a good first touch and uncanny field sense, the senior midfielder was the ideal connector in the No. 1 Saints' finely executed short passing game. The repeat All-Metro selection scored nine goals and added five assists, proving to be a calming influence for a team that was hit hard by injuries. Sample, who will play soccer at George Washington next fall, brought intensity, incredible skills and a high work rate in the middle of the field. She saved some of her best for last in the Saints' 2-1 double-overtime win over Notre Dame Prep in the IAAM A Conference championship, controlling much of the first half when she scored the game's first goal.
Shannon Seipp, John Carroll
In the Patriots' scorebook, coach Gary Lynch would always put an asterisk next to the players he believed were the best offensively and defensively following each game. Seipp, who accepted a scholarship to play at James Madison next fall, was recognized in all but one of the team's 21 games and on two occasions, she was recognized for both offense and defense.
The four-year standout defender started her career on the All-Metro first team as a freshman.
She ended it the same way as one of the most complete players in the area. Seipp always passed with purpose to work the ball out of the back, was strong in the air and contributed offensively with eight goals and two assists.
Brooke Shinaberry, Severna Park
The No. 3 Falcons, who began the season with six new starters at midfield and in back and ended it as the Class 3A state champs, understand well the value of a confident and technically sound goalkeeper. That was Shinaberry, who provided the early stability and then some late heroics to help complete the Falcons' improbable run. Shinaberry allowed just seven goals all season and finished with 68 saves. None were bigger than the nine she came up with to help the Falcons knock off three-time defending state champion River Hill, 2-1, in the East region championship. Shinaberry plans to play lacrosse at Vanderbilt next year.
Hayley Siegel, Centennial
One of the most dynamic playmakers in the area, the sophomore midfielder mixed an endless work rate with her natural soccer talents to always stay a step in front of the rest. Getting to the ball first was a given for Siegel and then making something positive happen came next. The co-Howard County Player of the Year, who finished with 11 goals and four assists, used her gifted ball skills to get opposing defenses out of sorts and then went on to pass or finish accordingly.
Christie Sikorski, Mount de Sales
A constant presence in the back, the senior sweeper was adept at reading the game and always kept an otherwise young defensive group organized. Set to play at UMBC next year, Sikorski was able to anticipate quickly to disrupt opposing offenses and then made smart decisions when the ball was won. She had polished skills to work the ball out of the back and also knew when to knock it long. Counted on to take most of the Sailors' free kicks, Sikorski also contributed at the offensive end with three goals and four assists.
Brandi Sutphin, South River
Bringing a combination of finesse, athleticism and a smart view of the field, Sutphin was able to dominate the midfield and also have her way in the offensive third. Taking her game to a higher level, the gifted senior scored 14 goals and added 19 assists to lead the No. 2 Seahawks to the Anne Arundel County championship and an appearance in the Class 3A state semifinals. Sutphin, who will play at West Virginia next year, could score in a variety of ways from 25 yards and in. When opposing defenses paid too close attention, she was quick to find an open teammate.
Brittany Tegeler, McDonogh
All the assets you look for in a quality striker can be found in Tegeler, starting with a fine understanding of the game, exceptional skills and an overwhelming desire to make the difference. There was no sophomore slump from Tegeler, who followed up a 20-goal freshman campaign with 17 goals and eight assists. A constant threat in the Eagles' offensive third, Tegeler could accurately let a heavy shot go from 30 yards as well as beat a defender or two in close before neatly finding a corner. When too much of the defensive attention came her way, Tegeler, an under-16 national pool player, was able to get her teammates involved.
Name School Class Position
Colby Bugda Bel Air Senior Forward
Lori Carpenter Perry Hall Senior Forward
Lynlea Cronin Wilde Lake Senior Forward
Beth Koloup Notre Dame Prep Soph. Forward
Emily Sullivan Spalding Junior Forward
Katie White Severna Park Junior Forward
Kayce Blandford Notre Dame Prep Junior Midfield
Meagan Holmes Dulaney Soph. Midfield
Melissa Hornfeck Arundel Junior Midfield
Brittany Rothenbach Bel Air Senior Midfield
Heather Tomko North Carroll Senior Midfield
Jamie Zimmerman John Carroll Soph. Midfield
Shelley McDuff River Hill Junior Defense
Amy Morrison South River Junior Defense
Megan Riedy McDonogh Senior Defense
Jacque Sutphin South River Senior Goalie
Note: Teams selected by Glenn P. Graham after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.