Amending an original plan that called for only the top eight teams to participate in the season-ending tournaments to crown boys and girls soccer county champions, it was announced this week that all 12 public schools will have the opportunity to play for a title.
Results up to this point were still used to help determine seeding. Only now, instead of the bottom four teams participating in a separate round-robin format, seeds 9-12 will be granted the opportunity to start in the championship bracket.
The change means that the top four seeds for both the boys and girls will be afforded opening-round byes and play the winners of the opening-round games, which are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 6. The quarterfinals will be held April 8, the semifinals April 15 and championships April 16.
POLL: Each week this spring, we are letting the community help pick a Howard County boys and girls Athlete of the Week. Our staff, after consultation with coaches, will pick players from each of the fall sports and then let voting decide the rest. To participate, either vote below or click here for the boys poll and/or click here for the girls poll by 11 p.m. Tuesday.
All soccer tournament games will start at 6 or 6:15 p.m. unless there is the need for a doubleheader because of the same school hosting boys and girls contests.
1. Mt. Hebron (8-0); 2. Centennial (6-1); 3. River Hill (6-2); 4. Howard (4-4); 5. Hammond (4-4); 6. Reservoir (4-3); 7. Wilde Lake (2-6); 8. Atholton (1-2); 9. Marriotts Ridge (2-5); 10. Oakland Mills (2-6); 11. Glenelg (2-5); 12. Long Reach (2-5).
April 6 schedule: Long Reach at Hammond; Glenelg at Reservoir; Oakland Mills at Wilde Lake; Marriotts Ridge at Atholton.
April 8 schedule: LR/Ha at Howard; G/Re at River Hill; OM/WL at Centennial; MR/A at Mt. Hebron.
Byes: Mt. Hebron, Centennial, River Hill, Howard.
1. Marriotts Ridge (7-0-1); 2. Reservoir (7-1); 3. Mt. Hebron (6-1); 4. River Hill (4-3-1); 5. Glenelg (4-3-1); 6. Wilde Lake (4-3-1); 7. Centennial (4-4); 8. Howard (3-4-1); 9. Atholton (3-5); 10. Long Reach (2-5-1); 11. Oakland Mills (0-7); 12. Hammond (0-8).
April 6 schedule: Hammond at Glenelg; Oakland Mills at Wilde Lake; Long Reach at Centennial; Atholton at Howard.
April 8 schedule: Ha/G at River Hill; OM/WL at Mt. Hebron; LR/C at Reservoir; A/Ho at Marriotts Ridge.
Byes: Marriotts Ridge, Reservoir, Mt. Hebron, River Hill.
Girls Player of Week (March 28): Julia Mamo, Marriotts Ridge volleyball
A regular contributor on varsity since her freshman year, Mamo has demonstrated tremendous versatility during her four seasons in the program. After filling a need at outside hitter last year as a junior, she has shifted back to her more natural position of libero and been a valuable leader for a Mustangs’ program that is 6-3 so far this season.
“She is literally willing to do whatever Is best for the team and that’s what makes her so wonderful,” coach Jamie Bullock said. “We had a player with a hurt back this year and I said I might have to put her back outside for a game, and she was on board for whatever we needed. Overall, though, she’s the coach of our defense, and I’ve really been impressed with how much she has improved as a vocal presence on the court since last season.”
So far this year, Mamo has compiled totals of 77 digs, 20 aces and four assists. She has at least six digs in every match and tied a season-high with 12 while helping Marriotts Ridge nearly hand undefeated Reservoir its first loss in a three-set thriller on March 30.
The combination of Mamo and fellow four-year varsity standout Brenna O’Reilly has provided the team’s young core with great role models, Bullock said.
“They have different personalities — Brenna is very intense, while Julia is more laid back — but together they are the perfect mix. Having played together for so long, they play off one another so well,” Bullock said. “And the biggest thing is that the other players on the team listen to them, look up to them and strive to meet their level of play on the court. They raise the level of play of everyone around them.”
Boys Player of Week (March 28): Evan Schneider, Wilde Lake golf
In three out of four rounds this spring, Schneider has scored 21 or more points under the county’s modified stableford scoring system to put himself among the county’s most improved players. He has twice scored 23 points, which qualifies him for the season-ending county championship tournament on April 12 at Hobbit’s Glen.
Prior to this year as a senior, Schneider had scored over 20 points in a match just once, and he says he’s made the most of some extra practice time the last 12 months.
“If there was anything good that came out of the last year, it was that I had the chance to play a lot more golf and really improve my mental game,” he said. “I’ve tried to play more competitively with my friends so that I would be more prepared for actual competition.”
Schneider opened the year with 21 points in a quad match at Hobbits Glen. But it has been in the last two matches, at Willow Springs and Fairway Hills, that he has set and then matched his career high. Ironically, both of the recent top scores came while playing in heavy rain.
He said that he relied on his short game, specifically his chipping, to make lots of pars and nothing worse than a bogey in either round, and he thinks the inclement weather might have actually played to his advantage.
“I mean no one likes playing golf while they are cold and wet, but at the same time there are absolutely no expectations. No one expects you to shoot even par or anything in that kind of weather,” Schneider said. “So I guess I was able to stay out my own head and just hit the ball. It’s hard to explain, but it’s worked.”
He adds that he is thankful to have teammates to push him like Henry Hilger, who has also qualified for the county tournament, and Michael Stralka. He also said that he appreciates the efforts of coach Kourtney Harrison in helping him develop.