Coach of the Year
The first-year head coach had the daunting task of getting the Crusaders ready to play in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A conference this season after moving up from the B conference.
St. Paul's shook up the traditional hierarchy of the league by finishing in second place with a 14-4-1 record. The Crusaders also advanced to the title game against top-ranked McDonogh, where they fell in the final minute of regulation.
"Before the season started, everyone was a little nervous about going to the A Conference," Mirza said. "I told them be humble and that we have trained hard. I told these guys they have to believe in themselves, and they did. The expectation was to make the playoffs."
Mirza had his team playing, creative, wide-open soccer for the entire season. The Crusaders were also the only team undefeated McDonogh tied all season, forcing a 3-3 double-overtime draw on Oct. 28. With a talented returning group of players, St. Paul's should battle for the top spot once again next season.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun