Ann McKenzie, in her second year as St. Paul’s sole head coach after two years as co-coach, led a team that had won just four games a year ago to an 11-2 record, the No. 14 area ranking and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship.
Despite the presence of just three seniors — Natalie Bray, Grace Boyce and Hailey Jennings — the Gators allowed just 14 goals all season, shutting out Maryvale in the final to claim their first title in 15 years.
"I knew that we had some talent. … I really encouraged them to step it up," McKenzie said. "We were a team, and we were going to work together to do this."
A 1983 graduate of St. Paul's, where she was a standout midfielder, McKenzie went on to play two years at Maryland before coaching for more than 25 years at various levels.
Next on her agenda will be taking a group of 18 St. Paul's players to Scotland in March for a trip combining field hockey with culture and education. It's a trip she first made as a sophomore in 1981, and she can’t wait to bring her players the same experience.