Player of the Year: Lauren Maranto, Severna Park
After suffering heartbreaking back-to-back shootout losses in the regional final during her sophomore and junior years, Maranto accepted the challenge to lead the Falcons to the Class 3A state championship as a senior.
Maranto came through with a goal and two assists in a dominating 3-1 state title victory over Bethesda-Chevy Chase to lead the Falcons to an 18-1 season, the Anne Arundel County title, the program's 14th state title and the final No. 1 ranking.
The Anne Arundel County Player of the Year and a repeat All-Metro first-team defender, Maranto anchored a defense that allowed seven goals and notched 12 shutouts. She also contributed five goals and seven assists.
"I don't think I've ever seen anybody so dedicated to this team," said Falcons coach Lil Shelton.
"From the time that last game was over against Fallston last year, she dedicated herself to improving her game and helping the team get back. She was just so focused. I don't think she ever thought they weren't going to win."
Maranto brought the perfect blend of power and finesse. In addition to her physical strength, speed and stick skills, Maranto showed uncanny field sense and timing. She could anticipate an opponent's move, waiting for her stick to be off the ball and then take it away, move to space, scan the field and pass to an open teammate.
She could blast a long drive but never without purpose. She could hit a teammate's stick from long range, but she could also work the ball through traffic and make a critical pass. Her ability to adapt her power drive to the fast turf in the state final was a key to the Falcons dominating play through the first half and taking a 3-0 lead.
A SPark club team player, Maranto plans to play field hockey in college and is being recruited by several college teams.
Coach of the Year: Annie Morse, St. Paul's
In her third season as the Gators' head coach, Morse has become an expert at rebuilding quickly.
This fall's effort, after graduating 13 seniors, brought St. Paul's a rare double championship - the regular season and tournament titles in the area's most competitive league, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
The two-time Baltimore City/County Coach of the Year and former Gators player guided St. Paul's to a 15-1-2 record and the No. 2 ranking. The Gators went unbeaten in their final 15 games.
In Morse's first two seasons, the Gators shared the tournament titles, with Bryn Mawr in 2001 and Roland Park in 2002, but this season they finally won outright, 2-1 over No. 4 Archbishop Spalding.
"Having girls like Lizzie Schwarcz, Jackie Blucher, Caitlin Sloane and Megan Del Monte, who were on the team as freshmen, and having other girls who started this year but weren't always the best kids out there, but who knew what it takes to get to that final game and who knew the work I expected of them, that really helped," said Morse, 27.
Her career record stands at 41-8-8.
Jessica Adam, Severn
The Admirals needed a link between their veteran defense and some strong forwards. Adam complied, emerging as a midfield force with her athleticism, speed and game sense.
Primarily known as a lacrosse player, the senior played for the world championship United States Under-19 women's lacrosse team and has signed early with Duke. But this fall, she played the key role in keeping the Admirals among the top teams in the IAAM A Conference.
Able to win possession and distribute the ball, the center midfielder also was instrumental on both defensive and offensive corners. She contributed a goal and five assists.
Christina Boarman, St. Paul's
The sophomore forward enjoyed the most auspicious debut of the season. When opposing coaches got a look at her ability to manipulate play in the attacking circle, some wondered aloud where she was last fall.
No mystery there. Boarman, a club player, five-year Futures veteran and Under-16 national team player in 2001, sat out last season with a knee injury.
This fall there was no sign of that injury. Boarman showed off sensational stick skills and precocious game sense.
A master at orchestrating offensive penalty corners, she scored 15 goals and had five assists. She managed to get a shot or create a foul almost every time she received the ball.
Krissy Browning, Fallston
The Harford County Player of the Year had always been known for her speed, but the senior forward has shown there's a lot more to her game.
Relentless, lightning quick, aggressive and highly skilled, Browning was a factor in every game, scoring clutch goals and working back on defense to win key possessions in the midfield as the No. 3 Cougars spent most of the season ranked No. 1. But scoring was her primary job and she came through with 15 goals and eight assists.
Browning, who will play field hockey and lacrosse next year at Gettysburg, scored the game-winners against C. Milton Wright and Towson in the regional playoffs.
Jenn Cochran, Glenelg
The Howard County Player of the Year emerged as a standout as the No. 11 Gladiators changed their system to rely on two players in the midfield. Cochran dominated the middle in just about every game with her ability to control transition. Her speed, stick skills and physical strength allowed her to move from attack to defense and vice versa with ease.
A defensive-minded player, the junior also showed off sharp game sense. She could track down the ball and often stalled the opposition's breakaway chances. A club veteran, Cochran relished the set-up role and became the Gladiators' playmaker, contributing nine assists to go with one goal.
Jenny Cooper, Park
When it came to keeping the Bruins in a game, most of the responsibility weighed on their senior goalie.
Backing an inexperienced team, Cooper posted a 91-percent save rate despite routinely facing barrages of shots from her IAAM A Conference foes. She was the main reason the Bruins (6-6-2) finished .500 in the area's toughest league.
Against some of the area's most creative, crafty and prolific scorers, Cooper made 153 saves, allowing 17 goals. She made 38 saves in shutting out No. 8 Garrison Forest.
Technically skilled with an exceptional reaction time, Cooper was a rare consensus All-IAAM A Conference goalie selection.
Abbi Horn, Severna Park
The Falcons got off to a quick start in most every game thanks to the keen anticipation and deft stick of their junior right wing. Even in the state Class 3A final, Horn scored just six minutes into the game to set the pace for a dominating 3-1 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
Although she also helped out in transition, Horn excelled in the circle. Outstanding at receiving the ball, carrying it in and using her hard, accurate drive to cross it to a teammate, Horn then set up on the right post. She waited for a cross or mopped up a broken play, often scoring in the process.
The Falcons' assist leader with 11, the SPark club team veteran also scored 17 goals.
Erin Kelly, Archbishop Spalding
Well known for her ability to find the cage in all sorts of situations, Kelly completed a stellar four-year career with 48 goals and 35 assists.
The senior center forward displayed a wide array of offensive skills. Her physical strength, blistering first step and improved stick skills could leave a defender in the dust, making Kelly a threat to score at close range or on the break. Her unselfishness, as shown in 12 assists to go with 15 goals, made her even more valuable to the IAAM runners-up.
Kelly, who hopes to play field hockey in college, also came back to make defensive tackles and helped spark the No. 4 Cavaliers in transition.
Stephanie Kisic, South Carroll
The junior turned a lot of heads a year ago when she moved up from JV to help the Cavaliers win a Class 2A state championship with her superb midfield game.
This fall, she earned Carroll County Player of the Year honors and helped the No. 7 Cavaliers reach the state semifinals.
A finesse player with great speed, Kisic could play any role in the midfield. Her keen defensive instincts and a powerful drive could spark transition, or she could cover a lot of yardage herself, working the ball out of the back and distributing it to a teammate's stick.
Kisic could also finish, contributing four goals to go with nine assists.
Jen May, South River
Despite moving from the line to midfield this season, the senior retained her offensive punch, contributing eight goals and 11 assists for the No. 5 Seahawks, who were the only team to beat Anne Arundel rival and final No. 1 Severna Park.
With her experience, speed and stick skills, May served as a transition cog, most valuable as an offensive catalyst in moving the ball downfield and setting up scoring opportunities for a younger forward line. Most of May's goals came on corner plays, where she often used her powerful drives to nail the ball into the corner.
May signed early to play lacrosse for the new program at Oregon.
Ashley Paschall, Archbishop Spalding
The senior center midfielder experienced a breakout season for the IAAM A Conference runners-up. One of only three returning starters, Paschall provided the critical transition link to high-scoring forwards Erin Kelly and Caitlin Swift.
A center back last season, Paschall remained defensive minded and proved critical to the flow of the game for the No. 4 Cavaliers. She missed one game early on and coach Leslee Brady said the Cavaliers were completely out of sync. Skilled, quick and consistent, Paschall often provided the key pass that led to a goal down the line. She contributed five assists.
Paschall signed early to play lacrosse at Vanderbilt.
Kristin Schwab, Friends
A second-team selection last season, the IAAM A Conference's standout midfielder did it all for the Quakers.
At center link, Schwab used her stellar stick skills to maneuver the ball at top speed, weaving through opposing defenses designed to stop her. The junior proved equally adept at distributing the ball or going to goal.
A Futures veteran, Schwab led the Quakers in scoring with 12 goals and five assists. During one three-week unbeaten stretch that included ties against three teams that were ranked during the season, No. 15 St. Mary's, Park and Notre Dame Prep, Schwab scored or assisted all of her team's goals.
Samantha Sebastian, Hereford
Baltimore County's premier defender and a second-team pick last season, Sebastian led the No. 6 Bulls to the Class 2A state final and Baltimore County crown.
With experience, patience and tackling skills, she led a defensive unit that allowed 10 goals and posted 13 shutouts. She excelled in all facets of the defense with her ability to contain and force turnovers in the open field, as well as making several stick saves on the goal line.
Sebastian also proved a valuable offensive weapon, contributing six goals and seven assists. She scored on the first penalty stroke in a shootout victory over South Carroll in the state semifinals.
Lauren Sheets, Garrison Forest
The Baltimore City/County Player of the Year made getting to the goal a challenge for even the best attackers.
A repeat first-team All-Metro defender, Futures veteran and club player who has committed to play field hockey for Princeton, Sheets demonstrated all the assets to be the key stopper for the No. 9 Grizzlies.
Her aggressiveness, game smarts and ability to stop the ball on a dime frustrated opposing offenses as the Grizzlies made their run to the A Conference semifinals, falling in overtime to eventual champ St. Paul's.
Kim Ziegler, Fallston
Intense and driven, the senior forward won't stop until she has to, doing a little bit of everything for the Harford County champion Cougars.
A repeat first-team selection, Ziegler scored 10 goals and had 10 assists, showing off a vast repertoire of offensive skills. Her goals came on all sorts of plays, from pounding a goal from the top of the circle on a corner play, to dodging a defender to take the goalie one-on-one.
Ziegler, a Futures veteran whose Elkton Strikers club team won the USFHA Under-19 national indoor championship last summer, plans to play in college but has yet to commit.
Name School Class Position
Lauren Disharoon South River Senior Forward
Kirby Houck Garrison Forest Senior Forward
Sarah Seats St. Paul's Soph. Forward
Sara Siegel Centennial Senior Forward
Caitlyn Swift Archbishop Spalding Senior Forward
Emily Bollinger Westminster Senior Midfield
Alex Radebaugh Notre Dame Prep Junior Midfield
Lisa Shockley Fallston Senior Midfield
Kerrie Wuenschel South Carroll Senior Midfield
Katie Frankel Park Senior Defense
Leslie Koch St. Paul's Senior Defense
Frannie Sullivan South River Senior Defense
Katie Turner Severna Park Junior Defense
Ashley Benitez Century Senior Goalie
Aly Blum Glenelg Junior Goalie
Note: Teams selected by Katherine Dunn after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun