Player of the Year: Shannon Jackson, River Hill

The gifted striker certainly made the most of her senior season, leading the No. 1 Hawks to an 18-0 season and their second straight Class 3A state championship. Jackson was the Hawks' leading scorer the past two years, scoring 16 goals with 10 assists this fall, and brought so much more every time out. Skilled, determined and plenty fast, Jackson was the go-to player who constantly came through. She did an outstanding job finding the ball as a heavily-marked target, settling passes to her feet or running onto balls down the wing. Completing the package was the influence she had on the underclassmen as a team captain. "The younger players look up to her because she is a good example on and off the field," said River Hill coach Joan Kelso Smedley. "She has speed and excellent ball control, but her ability to score is probably her biggest asset." Jackson, also a standout pitcher for the Hawks softball team, finished her three-year varsity soccer career with 37 goals and 25 assists. The repeat first-team All-Metro selection has verbally committed to Towson on a soccer scholarship. Jackson has a 3.96 grade-point average, getting all A's aside from one B during her sophomore year.


Coach of the Year: Bill Zimmerman, Bel Air


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Just how far did the Bobcats come in a 16-3 season that saw them reach the Class 3A state championship game? They started and closed their season against two-time state champ River Hill, losing to the Hawks by a 3-1 count in the opener and then taking them deep into double overtime before surrendering, 1-0, in the final. The Bobcats had to replace four starters from last year -- including their goalkeeper and center midfielder -- and Zimmerman shuffled around some players to find the right chemistry. He eventually succeeded and the Bobcats, with six seniors, seven juniors and six sophomores, were still playing on the season's last day. "We usually have the speed and the skills, but in the very beginning we didn't quite have the chemistry," said Zimmerman, in his 15th season. "Once we hit the county schedule, the chemistry started." Bel Air, which is 23-0 in Harford County the past three years, went 7-0 this fall, allowing just one goal. The Bobcats were dominant in the North region playoffs, outscoring three opponents by a combined 11-0 margin. A 4-1 win against Northern-Calvert sent them to their first state championship, but a River Hill goal in the 97th minute ended the Bobcats' stellar season.
First Team
Melissa Anderson, St. Mary's

The senior co-captain was the heart behind the No. 3 Saints, who finished 18-2 to come away with Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference championship. She scored, assisted and did whatever else was necessary to ensure team success. Defenses always struggled to keep track of Anderson, who went hard to the goal to finish with 13 goals while also adding 12 assists. Her strong leadership played a vital role as she made a lasting impression with a roster filled with underclassmen. Anderson, who scored in the Saints' 2-0 win over McDonogh in the final, also made a strong commitment to defense, always sure to track back to win possession.

Ali Andrzejewski, McDonogh

A repeat first- teamer and this year's Baltimore City/County Player of the Year, the versatile junior shared time at midfield and up front, making an impression wherever she played as one of the area's most complete players. Whatever the No. 5 Eagles (18-5-2) needed, Andrzejewski could provide it. She has a good understanding of the game, and the talent and work rate to go with it. A step is all Andrzejewski would need to provide offense. A capable finisher from well outside the 18-yard mark, Andrzejewski led the team with 28 goals. With timely runs from the midfield, she disrupted defenses and then distributed accordingly, finishing with 11 assists.

Megan Buescher, River Hill

The throw-in comes in on a direct line, always aimed at the near or far post and it's often the start of a River Hill goal. The Hawks' 6-foot sophomore defender has the area's most dangerous throw -- eight of her 12 assists came that way -- but her strong defensive ability can't be overlooked. With speed, size and smarts, Buescher could win balls in the air and on the ground. With all her attributes, Buescher was always able to find a way to make an impact. She was particularly impressive in the playoff run of the No. 1-ranked Hawks (18-0), which ended with their second straight Class 3A state championship.

Colby Bugda, Bel Air

The sophomore striker became more assertive in her second season of varsity and it showed with an 18-goal, 16-assist effort that helped the No. 4 Bobcats (16-3) to a state runner-up finish in the Class 3A ranks. Capable of finishing from anywhere inside the penalty area, Bugda could create on her own or take advantage of passes from teammates, who made it a priority to find her this year. When opposing defenses converged, which happened more frequently as the season went on, she would often return the favor with good vision and a knack to find whoever was open.

Lauren Cunningham, Institute of Notre Dame

Playing in the area's toughest league (IAAM A Conference) and against some of the finest defenders, Cunningham put up staggering numbers this season with 25 goals and 11 assists. The senior striker had all the necessary tools found in a quality finisher, relying on her explosive speed and good touch to get past the double teams she grew accustomed to seeing. Any opening usually ended with a goal from Cunningham, who had a knack of finding the corners with regularity. In leading the Indians to an 11-6-1 season, she also had strong field awareness that got teammates involved, as evidenced by her 11 assists.

Erin Dubina, Severna Park

With a tireless work rate and the skills to match, Dubina dominated games in the middle of the field as well as the Falcons' offensive third. In three years of varsity ball, the junior midfielder has added layer after layer to become one of the area's most complete players. She finished with 14 goals and 11 assists, but her biggest contribution to the Falcons' Class 4A state championship season was her steadying influence. With foot skills that were often unmatched, Dubina was always able to beat one player before moving the ball along. In the Falcons' 3-1 win over Eleanor Roosevelt, she provided the exclamation point with the team's final goal.

Jamie Hupp, McDonogh

The key to Hupp's success as a marking back can be summed up in one word: deny. The senior standout, a three-time selection on the All- Baltimore City/County team, won 87 percent of the loose balls that came her way. Very fit and equally determined, the Eagles co-captain had more touches than anyone on the team. She made the most of each. Able to shield the ball very well, Hupp also was an accurate passer to get the Eagles moving smoothly in transition. Although 5-foot-3, she won 91 percent of the head balls she contested. Hupp's consistency was backed with emotional play that inspired teammates.

Ashly Kennedy, St. Mary's

There was no panic from Kennedy at her sweeper position, just smooth, organized play for the IAAM A Conference champ Saints. First to the ball and plenty poised when she arrived, Kennedy played the position more like a center midfielder, making all the right decisions with an excellent first touch. She was a key to the Saints' short passing game that emphasized possession. With Kennedy back there, teammates were comfortable pushing forward and they weren't afraid to drop the ball back so she could reorganize.

Mary Key, St. Mary's

There was Key, one of the smallest players on the field, crashing the far post to head home the game- winning goal in a 2-0 win against Notre Dame Prep that sent the Saints to the IAAM A Conference championship game. The Saints went on to capture the crown and Key, who scored timely goals throughout the season, was a big reason why. With the ball, she made good things happen. The sophomore striker scored and distributed, finishing her second season of varsity with a team-high 16 goals and 12 assists.

Jen Lee, North Carroll

A well-rounded game on defense earned Lee honors as the Carroll County Player of the Year as well as a jump to the All- Metro's first team after being selected to the second team last fall. Getting to the ball first with good speed and then passing with purpose was a Lee trait as she led the No. 14 Panthers to an 11-4-1 mark and the Carroll County crown. North Carroll posted six shutouts and allowed just 20 goals and Lee, a team captain, was a major reason why with poised and consistent play on defense. The three-time All-Carroll County pick, who returned from a season-ending knee injury last season, also was a threat on offense.

Julie Napolitano, Mount Hebron

The junior midfielder, a second- team All-Metro selection last fall, brought intensity, creativity and gifted skills that few players could match. Sidelined five games with an ankle sprain, she still produced eight goals and three assists for the No. 13 Vikings, who finished the season with a 12-4-1 mark. Most of the team's success directly revolved around the strong two- way play of Napolitano, who combined her quality talent with an edgy work rate that displayed her fierce competitiveness. She recently made the U.S. Under-19 National pool team and was one of 18 players invited to play in the team's first competition later this month in Orlando, Fla.

Stephanie Sybert, Maryvale

The four-year starter put together another strong season at striker to make the first team for a second straight season. Attracting two and sometimes three defenders, Sybert counted on her speed, good touch and uncanny field sense to lead the Lions to a 9-9 mark in the rigorous IAAM A Conference. A strong left foot also helped. Most of Sybert's offense came when the Lions needed it most and she had a variety of ways to provide it. Always at her best inside the penalty area, Sybert was a proven finisher and also knew when to distribute, matching her 10 goals with 10 assists. She has signed with Syracuse.

Kerry VanShura, John Carroll

Used as a secondary marking back last season, VanShura took the lead role this season and shined, blanketing the area's most dangerous strikers with endless energy and smart decisions. The junior, in her third varsity season, was fast and physical, becoming an unexpected leader of a defense that yielded only six goals in the No. 6 Patriots' 17-4 campaign. Playing in the demanding Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference brought one tough assignment after another, but VanShura was more than up to the task. Her tireless approach often wore out opposing strikers and she also played a major role bringing the ball forward.

Kerry York, Severna Park

A four-year standout in goal and Anne Arundel's Player of the Year, York took charge of an inexperienced defense to lead the Falcons (19-1) to the Class 4A state championship. With a freshman sweeper and two other newcomers, the Falcons looked to York for stability. A team captain set to play at Florida State University next year, she had outstanding lateral movement to make timely saves, booming punts that often got past midfield and an overwhelming desire to win that was influential on the rest of the team. York finished the season with 10 shutouts, saving 122 shots while allowing just 10 to get by for an astounding .920 save percentage.