Girls soccer: Player, Coach of the Year
Archbishop Spalding's Christine Nairn is the All-Metro Player of the Year for girls soccer. (Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / December 3, 2007)
Arch. Spalding, midfielder
No player in the area was more dangerous with the ball than Nairn, who completed a stellar four-year career with 27 goals and 13 assists in her senior season.
Nairn's goals could come from anywhere in the Cavaliers' offensive third, and she was equally adept at feathering passes to set up teammates. Her four-year contributions helped put the Spalding program on the map in the strong Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, as the Cavaliers reached the title game in 2005, captured their first championship last season and reached the semifinals this fall.
A three-time All-Metro selection and two-time Parade All-American, Nairn finished her career with a program-best 70 goals and 37 assists.
"Christine not only is a great scorer, but is a consummate playmaker as well. Using her knowledge of the game and making use of her incredible passing, dribbling and shooting skills, she makes everyone around her better," Spalding coach Bob Dieterle said. "She reads the field, the game, her opponents and her teammates better than any player I've seen."
Nairn, an under-17 U.S. national team pool player, is set to play at Penn State next year.
COACH OF THE YEAR
St. Vincent Pallotti
Before any positions were assigned or game plans devised, the Pallotti third-year coach first had to get his players to believe.
The No. 2 Panthers (11-5-2) had graduated their top scorer, All-Metro Player of the Year Annesia Faulkner, along with a talented group of midfielders from last year's team that finished runner-up in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
By season's end, the Panthers indeed believed, winning their first IAAM championship in improbable fashion as the fifth seed.
With a stingy defense and just enough offense, the Panthers came up with 1-0 playoff wins over Institute of Notre Dame, John Carroll and then McDonogh in the title game. Vawter said the strong influence of last year's senior class rubbed off on a poised group led by senior All-Metro standouts Amanda Carta and Randall Marshall. To compensate for the lack of scoring, the Panthers worked longer on their set pieces, and their goals in the conference semifinal and championship games came off corner kicks.
"We had to take more of a defensive mind-set this season, much more conservative with the way we attacked, and we made sure not to get as stretched out," said Vawter, who is 40-11-3 in three seasons.