Victories are often measured both on the scoreboard and off of it for junior varsity programs.
And this fall on fields and courts around Howard County, area JV teams had more than their fair share of success. Players developed skills, while establishing traditions and relationships, that will serve as the foundation for the years to come on the varsity level.
In an effort to give these athletes and teams a deserved moment in the spotlight, we reached out to each school through its athletic administration to find out about some of the highlights and top performers from the fall season. Here's what we heard back:
Finishing the season with a record of 5-5 overall, Centennial had a “great season,” according to coach Stephen Doff. The Eagles’ coach said it all started from the very first day of tryouts.
“Eager field hockey players were ready for what was ahead — a challenging schedule, rigorous workouts, new demands and expectations,” Doff said. “In the end, each one met all of these challenges head on with enthusiasm, determination and support from one another.”
The Eagles adjusted well to injuries, having players move into different positions as needed, and that flexibility went a long way to contributing to the team’s success.
Defense was Centennial’s strength right from the beginning, and the team built from the back forward as the year progressed.
“Offensively, we became more aggressive and consistent throughout each game. Defensively, we only further honed that intensity that we saw at the start of the season,” Doff said. “Additionally, to say that we were fortunate from a goalkeeper perspective would be an understatement. Our keepers consistently played smart, excellent hockey all season long.”
Glenelg finished the season with 30 goals scored, 20 assists and an overall record of 6-2-1.
Along the way there were lots of offensive standouts. The leading scorers were freshman Caitlyn Baehr and sophomore Grace Meissner, who each had seven goals. Baehr added three assists and Meissner had four.
“Caitlyn had the touch of speed that the team needed to eliminate opponents on defense, and she always came up with the rebound in the offensive circle,” coach Courtney Abell said. “Grace was a huge asset to the midfield unit. She played in the center and was reliable to receive and send passes out wide to the sideline or from the top of the circle for the offense to finish.”
Freshman Sarah Barker and sophomore Julie Thomas were also offensive standouts. Barker finished with six goals and six assists, while Thomas was a captain that had six goals and two assists.
Sophomore Ashley O’Byrne was a captain who moved up from the defense to the midfield this past fall. She had lots of key tackles and interceptions, while also chipping in offensively with two goals and four assists.
The highlight of the season, according to coach Abell, was a hard-fought 3-2 loss against Broadneck. In that game, the Gladiators led 1-0 at the half thanks to a goal from Thomas off a feed from O’Byrne. And, while the Bruins scored three unanswered goals to take a lead they never lost, Glenelg did show plenty of fight until the final whistle. Freshman Samantha Anderson ended up converting a penalty stroke late in the second half to create the final margin.
“It was the most exciting game of the season and the girls worked so hard,” Abell said.
Even with several players who had never played field hockey before, Hammond was able to finish the year with a 3-6-1 record. Among the highlights was a 1-0 victory over Edgewood.
“Each game the players persevered and continued to try their best to score goals whenever possible,” coach Maria Ferraro said. “They improved their stick and dribbling skills each and every day.”
Alexis Kujawa was a returning player who excelled at a number of different positions thanks to her versatility. Elizabeth Hughes and Sarah Linthicum were freshmen that stood out offensively, teaming up with the strong midfield and attack play of Sierra Shaffer. Shaffer was named the team’s Most Improved Player.
Defensively, Darja Creekmore was the team’s goalie and the combination of Jessica Mawi and Nadia Quartey were leaders in front of her.
Other players that showed great growth and promise for the Golden Bears were Angel Norris, Francesca Brou, Tova Chertok and Rachel Osei.
It was an undefeated season for Howard, which finished 9-0-1 in county play and 11-0-1 overall. Coach Samantha Earle said earning a 1-1 tie against Glenelg in the team’s first regular season game went a long way to setting the tone, and the team kept improving from there.
“The team continued to grow from that game and we finished the season undefeated and were only scored against one time all year,” Earle said. “The girls genuinely worked so hard this season, were motivated to grow as a team and as individual players.”
Ashlyn Moynihan led the offense with 10 points. Shea O’Connor (nine points), Madison Anthony (nine), Kaitlyn Motsco (nine) and Katie Sloan (eight) were all strong contributors as well.
On defense, Karter Hayden, Grace Bounds and Skye Swann led the charge for the Lions.
Long Reach had a breakthrough year with a record of 5-4. Coach Jorden Lim said this fall was a fresh start for the program and has laid the foundation for big things in the future.
“As my first year coaching, I thought it was an amazing start to a new beginning for Long Reach field hockey,” Lim said. “Having my sister as the varsity coach allows us to share the same vision because we are very like-minded when it comes to field hockey. I am so excited to build the program with her.”
Among the season highlights was a win over Southern early in the year, where the Lightning prevailed in a tight contest. Lim said that set the tone for the rest of the schedule.
Leah McClelland served as a backbone for the team from her center midfield position, scoring four goals and adding three assists. She also was key to transitioning the ball from defense to offense.
Sam Ponsford had a learning mentality that allowed her to get better every day on the way to scoring three goals to go along with four assists. Ciera Hudson was also a standout offensive player and a captain, using her intensity to finish the year with three goals.
Defensively, Victoria Miller was the team’s sweeper and was relied on for communication and positioning in the back. She also excelled with countless block tackles.
It was an interesting mix of new and returning players for Marriotts Ridge, which finished the year 2-2-1 in county and 3-5-2 overall. The team scored 16 goals and allowed 17.
“The focus this year was to develop half of the team who had never played field hockey before with the other half of the team who had several years of playing experience,” coach Fred Talentino said. “The team demonstrated great effort and support for each other both on and off of the field and is a reflection of their commitment to the game and each other.”
Goalie Grace Tolle anchored a defense that allowed just 1.7 goals against per game. In front of her on defense was Caroline Komisarek, Emma Miller, Katie Comegys, Sydney Dabbah and Ellie Parks.
In the midfield, Kayla Brusco, Emma Williamson, Julie Lawler, Kaylie Savage and Megan Hettinger were the standouts. Offensively, Madi Costigan, Lexi Fisher, Hye Min Kim and Sidney Parkent provided a strong starting lineup.
Parkent led the team with three goals, while Claire Meininger, Costigan and Hannah Parsons all scored two goals apiece.
Mt. Hebron finished with a county record of 2-2-1 and overall record of 4-5-1, closing the year on a four-game winning streak. Along the way, a 2-1 home victory over Fallston was among the highlights.
“Our season was a lot of fun and it was a great team to coach because I had amazing girls on and off the field,” coach Kelly Jones said.
Ashley Unkenholz stood out on the left wing of the forward line, while Michelle Pak starred at center midfield.
Led by sophomore Rianna Nunes, along with freshmen Lily Baumann and Grace Ko, Reservoir finished the year 3-7 in county play and 3-8 overall.
Nunes and Ko were the Gators’ leading scorers with four goals apiece on the season. Baumann, meanwhile, had exceptional dribbling skills and was the team’s “hardest worker,” according to coach Megan Maloney.
Among the season highlights was a 6-0 victory over Hammond where the game was tied at the half, 0-0, and the team pulled together to finish strong.
“This group of girls improved so much with their passes and stick skills from the first day of practice to the last game of the season,” Maloney said. “I saw a completely different team on the field at our last game compared to our first game.”
River Hill showed a good deal of improvement on its way to a 6-4 overall record (4-2 county), picking up big wins over Good Counsel and Marriotts Ridge along the way. On the season, the Hawks scored 20 goals and allowed 12.
Leah Bakhtiar (five goals), Ashlee Buscher (three), Maryum Nassar (three) and Sara Sharp (three) were the team’s leading goal scorers. Buscher, Anjalie Gowda-Radar and Bridgette Rodell were the leaders in the midfield, while Kelly Key, Caroline Healy and goalies Ana Clemmer and Angela Jin led the defense.
Continuing the growth from the previous year, Wilde Lake improved in both wins and goals scored this fall.
Sophomore captains Sally Kulesza, Rachel VanOsdel and Erin Murphy led the way, with freshmen Victoria Strakla and Logan Bitner-Parrish serving as key contributors all season as well.
“Building on the blocks established last year, they continued to grow their skills and their knowledge of the game,” coach Nancy Stefan said. “They are becoming a team that is respected for both their sportsmanship and their skill improvement.”
It was a strong season for Atholton, which finished with a record of 7-1 under the guidance of head coach Brian Jamison. Over the last two years, the Raiders have lost just twice.
There were standout players all over the field, with Dinari Spears, Jordan Fore, Bryce Jamison, Jerome Kent, Karon Blizzard, Kolya Cochran, Mishael Roy, Chris Bookter, Kahlil Kinard, Matt Thomas and Jeron Oliver leading the charge.
Glenelg was another team that had a strong fall season, going 7-1 while averaging 21.5 points a game on offense. On the other side of the ball, the Gladiators only allowed the opposition to score 5.25 points a game and posted four shutouts.
Among the season highlights was a last-second defensive stand on a two-point conversion to beat Reservoir and also a win over rival River Hill.
“The team became closer and stronger each week. They never settled and always strove to be better than the week before,” coach Joe Derwent said. “It was really a great group of kids and I had a blast coaching them and seeing them succeed.”
Offensively, the Gladiators’ quarterbacks were Mason Davis and David Toronto. They handed the ball off to running backs Trisden Bovello, Arya Vahdatshoar, Trey Fleece, and George Dieck or fullbacks Drew Sotka and Zach Devlin. Wide receivers Kyle Duncan and Cooper Sancomb also made big plays. The offensive line was also big all year, with Ben Carney, Jack Skandalis, Henry Soeken, Kevin Pak, Kevin Doughty, Ryan Wolfrey, Sam Gruber, Tyler Curtis (TE) and Ryan Murphy (TE) all contributing.
On defense, things started with linemen Ethan Waksmunski, Curtis, Pak, Carney, Wolfrey and Matt Jenkins. Behind them, linebackers Duncan, Sotka, Pierce Pusheck, Alex Dalton, Devlin and Tommy Kern all made plays. When opponents tried to pass, the defensive back and safeties cleaned things up. That group was led by Bovello, Niko Garbis, Robbie Tolbert, Liam Day, Fleece and Sancomb.
There were no wins this fall for Hammond (0-8), but there were still standout players and a handful of highlights for the Golden Bears. “It was a great team effort throughout the season, in spite of our record,” coach Bill Smith said.
Things started with quarterback Eric Grinwis, who made the switch from starting offensive tackle and improved every day according to Smith. Other key players were Loick Amouzou (RB/LB), Elliott Bauer (FB/LB), Cole Kosh (FB/DE), Jahni Lawrence (RB/CB), Nolan DeShields (LB) and Linus Sekedjah.
Bauer was responsible for Hammond’s first touchdown of the season when he scored on a 60-yard run against Reservoir.
Even though Howard returned just one starter from last fall, the Lions pulled together to have another outstanding season on the way to a record of 7-1.
“After last season, we lost all 11 starters on defense and 10 starters on offense to varsity,” coach Dominic Moore said. “We knew we would be young and inexperienced at almost every [position], but with that being said I was extremely proud of how much we grew as a team from camp up until the end of the season.”
The offense was led by sophomore running backs Brian Tien and Temi Aderinale, who were responsible for roughly 70 percent of the offensive productions. Defensive end Jaedon Conway and linebackers Cole Carter, Will Simmons and Connor Maloney were the leaders of the defense.
Also contributing on defense were the freshmen twins Coby and Carson Robinson.
Long Reach put together a perfect 8-0 record this fall and along the way the team had plenty of character-building moments.
The Lightning were trailing Howard, 8-6, with four minutes left in regulation before successfully recovering an onside kick and then driving down for touchdown that secured a 14-8 victory. Quarterback Eric Benesch had a 46-yard run and 32-yard touchdown pass on the final drive.
Later in the year, against Reservoir in the season finale, Long Reach was trailing at the half by a score of 6-2. But again the Lightning answered by getting a 58-yard touchdown run from Jordan Perry to open the second half and ended up scoring 12 unanswered points to clinch their undefeated season.
“The one word I would use to describe this JV team is resilient,” coach Dustin Zelik said, noting that the team last year went 2-8. “This was a team that genuinely liked each other and played for one another. They bought into us being a football family and this was demonstrated in the way they played and interacted with each other.”
Overall, Benesch threw for 972 yards and 13 touchdowns to finish with a quarterback rating of 122. Perry led the team in rushing with 543 yards and eight touchdowns. Jason Smith led the team in receiving with 319 yards and five touchdowns.
Freshman Chris Martin Jr. also played a huge role by doing a little bit of everything. He had a team-high 667 total yards — 234 rushing, 219 receiving, 214 return — to go along with six overall touchdowns. On defense he added 19 tackles and a team-leading three interceptions.
Other defensive standouts included defensive lineman Mile Fletcher-Smith, who tied for the team lead in tackles (37) and led the team with five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Victor Achoronye added eight tackles for loss of his own. Linebackers Michael De La Garza (34 tackles) and Patrick Joyce (37 tackles) controlled the middle of the field, while Logan MacDonald (23 tackles) ended up being the unsung hero with his ability to provided leadership and big plays.
Reservoir battled through injuries in the middle of the season to put together a very strong 5-3 record. Despite having only 10 sophomores on a roster of 32 players, the Gators were able to use their team speed and toughness to score 186 points in eight games.
“These are great kids, great athletes and great students,” coach Adam Parker said. “They may be the best all-around group of kids we have had in eight years on JV.”
Sophomore Darrius Ellerbie was a multi-dimensional threat with the ball in his hands and was particularly a standout on special teams. Sophomore running backs Dakota Mayfield and Samson Agbayewa, meanwhile, were responsible for many of the team’s points on offense.
Despite being undersized on its offensive line, leadership and mental toughness went a long way for the Gators. Owen Hankins, Praise Ishola, Robby Reckner, TJ Bryant and Malcom Walker all were huge keys in that area.
Sophomore quarterback and middle linebacker James Hammer was the guiding force on both sides of the ball. He played nearly every down despite a nagging shoulder injury. Hammer and Ishola, to go along with defensive backs Kaz Okamoto, Niko Tulloh and Jalen Jasmin, were the leaders on a hard-hitting defense.
River Hill finished the season with a winning record of 5-3 and picked up momentum as the year progressed.
“The start of the season was a challenge, with the team having to adjust to a shortened schedule and a long time from the beginning of practice to the first game,” coach Jay Hull said. “Once we started, the offense was led by captain and M.V.P. Byran Smith at super back. He brought outstanding leadership to the team.”
Other major offensive weapons in addition to Smith were sophomores Keegan Remick at quarterback, and captain Derrick Sandoval and Santiago Lopez at halfback. The offensive line with three sophomores — Josh Goldberg (captain) and Jackson Knisley and Mitchel Haugh — was a major reason for the team having a polwerful running game. The freshmen linemen combination of Kyle Henry, Gurdeep Barring and tight end Kyle Martin also were major contributors.
Sophomore Nick Billups led the defensive line, while sophomore Tony Lazzari led the linebacker core. Other strong linebacker play came from Grayson Vintz, Zorian Stephensbaily and defensive MVP Nick Laumann. Mike Crisitello was a standout at cornerback.
The special teams play of sophomore Ryan Henderick, along with freshman Dylan Burnett, Devin Campbell, Tyler Della Noce, Kyle Gratton and Dylan O’Brien was key to the team’s success as well.
While it was a 3-5 season for Wilde Lake, there were big improvements made as the year went on after starting 0-2.
“The team showed tremendous growth throughout the season,” coach Thomas Abel said. “We started off slow, losing a couple close games to county-rivals Atholton (12-6) and then again against River Hill (14-7). But the team did not let down and kept fighting all season.”
Abel said that the defense held the team together, allowing an average of just 14 points against on the year. He also gave credit to his coaching staff of Marcus Mathews, Danny Decker and Jordan Mynatt to helping a young team develop quickly.
Freshman quarterback and linebacker Malik Hough was one of the team leaders. He threw for 270 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 545 yards and five touchdowns. He added three catches and finished with 801 all-purpose yards. On defense he was tied for first on the team with 50 tackles and two interceptions.
Sophomore running back and defensive back Joe Cole rushed for 439 yards and a touchdown on offense, while adding 34 tackles and two interceptions on defense. Sophomore Tony Blunt, meanwhile, was the team’s defensive leader at middle linebacker with 50 tackles, two sacks and three caused fumbles. He added 220 all-purpose yards and a touchdown from his fullback position on offense.
Atholton had a very strong season, finishing with an 8-2-1 overall record. Included along the way was a five-game winning streak in the middle of the year and a 2-0 victory over River Hill in the season finale.
The team had a defensive backline made up of freshmen, a midfield loaded with speed and a talented group of forwards.
“This shortened season was extremely enjoyable. Measured against my 16 years coaching high school, it was actually fabulous,” coach Cliff Walcott said.
Freshmen Mia Lazzari and Samantha Roerty split time at goalie and led the defense, along with the backline of Madison Scott, Kati Morris, Naomi Washington and Casey Coughlan.
Twins Nikki and Nauzli Tajaddini were standouts in the midfield, while Kim Munro and Lindsey Van Der Meid — a captain — ran the offense. The other captain for the Raiders was Isha Santhosin.
Outscoring the opposition 22-7, Centennial finished the season with a 5-4-1 record. Eleven different players scored goals, with sophomore Annie Cole (six goals) and freshman Olivia Antonelli (four) leading the way.
Freshmen Carolyn Desena and Lindsey Han controlled the midfield, making quick decisions and sparking the offense. Freshman Audrey Oaksmith and sophomore Hibah Khan took turns at goalie, posting a combined six shutouts and allowing only four teams to score against them.
On defense, sophomores Gabrielle Castle-Smith and Hannah Souba led the way. Freshmen Brianna Fant, Cicely Clark and Ava Rossbach were also strong contributors in the back.
Glenelg finished the season with a 6-3 county record and overall mark of 6-4. Among the highlights were victories over Atholton and River Hill.
Callie Anderson, Claire Brinster, Kendall Castor, Meghan Goodman, Kelsey Morali, Molly Nichols, Sophia Posey, Maddy Rothfield, Lauren Stone and Kristine Suritis were the Gladiators’ top players.
While the record may not have shown it, Hammond was a team that improved significantly as the season progressed. “With low numbers and a lot of injuries this season, I was expecting morale and effort to drop off quickly in the middle of the season, yet the girls persisted on and showed great determination,” coach Kelly Brady said.
Center defender Camryn Johnson and left forward Mia Stott led the team as captains this year, although Stott suffered from a collarbone break in the middle of the season. “The two of them encouraged the girls to work hard and kept them accountable during games to keep their heads up and play smart,” Brady said.
Left defender Shivani Modi and center midfielder Rem Iang were the two players for the Golden Bears that showed the most improvement throughout the season.
It was an undefeated season for Howard, posting a record of 7-0-3 and outscoring the opposition 37-4.
“They worked extremely hard to find their play on the field. I am proud to say they did, and boy did they play well together,” first-year JV coach Jessica McKay said. “Our team never gave up on themselves or each other on the field and they powered through some tough opponents this year.”
Sophomore captains Maya Rawling and Jenna Meek were the leaders for the Lions.
Meek combined with freshmen Amanda Silver, Erin Arnold, Maddie Kuel, Jillian Lewis and Amanda Silver to lock things down defensively in front of goalies Caroline Otchet and Sydney Parham.
Freshmen Julia Croft and Doreen Okeh were the scoring leaders with five goals each. Sophomore Ava Lamberty (four goals) and freshmen Shannan Cooper (three) and Jillian Lewis (three) also were offensive standouts. Overall, 14 different players scored at least once.
Freshmen Emily Elchynski, Tiffany Rodriguez, Olivia Rawleigh and Katie Irby were the leaders in the midfield.
“The midfielders worked extremely hard to add to this coherence. Elchynski, Rodriquez, Rawleigh and Irby were key in this amazing squad,” McKay said.
McKay added that one of the season highlights was a 0-0 tie against Centennial, where Otchet made 12 saves in goal to preserve the scoreless tie.
It was another standout year for Mt. Hebron, which recorded eight shutouts on the way to an 8-1-1 overall record (7-1-1 county). Overall, the Vikings outscored the opposition 42-4, and there were nine players on the team that scored multiple goals.
By season’s end, every player on the team registered at least one point except a defender who went down with an injury early in the year.
“We played great team soccer, attacking aggressively in waves and bringing a tenacious defense all over the field,” coach Bob Gibbons said. “We didn’t finish every opportunity, but outshot our opponents in every game.”
Gibbons said he was proud of the way his team finished the year after a couple setbacks during the middle of the season that included a tie against Howard and a loss to Marriotts Ridge.
“The highlight of our year for me was watching the girls pick each other up and support our injured teammates and the resilience we showed as players stepped up and filled new roles and bounced back and finish the season strong,” he said. “And we had a mighty good time doing it.”
Oakland Mills finished 0-9 in county play and 0-12 overall, but coach Aidan Hahn said he was really pleased with the attitude of his girls and how hard they played despite the outcome of the games.
“In the last game of the season against Glenelg, we lost significantly but we celebrated the end of the game as if we had won, and that spoke volumes about the positive culture we were encouraging and reinforcing throughout the season,” Hahn said. “For these girls, soccer is about camaraderie and playing for the love of the game, and it definitely showed.”
The top players for the Scorpions were Ella Novak, Ash Miranda, Aleida Cortez, Kiana Wambui and Roxana Rivera.
“Each of them were leaders on and off the field and they always gave 100 percent in practice, even during the warmups they were working as hard as they could and rallying the girls to do the same,” Hahn said.
Reservoir finished with a 3-7 overall record (3-6 county), but three of those losses were by just one goal.
“I am extremely pleased with the progress the girls made throughout the season with a squad of 19 freshmen and three returning sophomores,” coach Wendell Thomas said. “We started with 22 [players] and finished with 22.”
Sophia Cinotti was the Gators’ leading scorer with six of the team’s 18 goals. Reagan Bouie was the leader in assists with five, and Caitlin Toler was named the team’s most outstanding defensive player.
Goalie Teodora Consoli had 73 saves and was named the unsung hero, while sophomore Sarah Ricketts was named most improved player. Finally, Sabrina Zaleski was the team’s most consistent ball controller and received the coaches award. Bouie, Cinotti and Ricketts all served as captains.
Punctuated by a win over Severn at the end of the season, River Hill finished with a 5-5-1 record. Team captains Melissa Chen, Greta Kluckhuhn, Alexis Pachoca and Victoria Thompson led the team.
Kluckhuhn and sophomore Meghan Dhond split time at goalie and both made huge saves throughout the year. Thompson was an offensive leader, including registering a hat trick in a win over Hammond.
Another season highlight was a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Centennial where freshman Minnah Uddin and sophomore Sage Christianson each registered free-kick goals.
Wilde Lake, featuring a team of six sophomores and 12 freshmen, finished the season with a record of 3-7. The team scored 14 times overall, with freshman Sophia El Marji leading the way with four goals. Sophomore Deisy Fortier and freshman Satya Emerick were also offensive leaders with three goals each.
The Wildecats’ two goalies — sophomores Lluvia Celis and Kiersten Edwards — combined to make 76 saves on the season.
Three of the team’s players were called up to varsity for the playoffs.
Atholton finished with an in-county record of 6-3-1, going undefeated on the road.
“Some of my fondest memories were beating Hammond in overtime and watching my 29 guys become a family over the course of the season,” coach Charles Lidard said.
Tommy Bott, Donivan Okolita, Andrew Kodsi and Will Morales were the captains for the Raiders, while Ezra Silver-Isenstadt at midfield and Nick Fato on defense were also standouts.
Even with an overall record of 2-6-2, it was a competitive season for Glenelg. Highlights included a 2-1 win against Wilde Lake, with both goals coming from Zach Kersh, and a season-ending shutout victory over Oakland Mills thanks to a goal by Cole Miller.
On defense, the Gladiators had six games giving up one goal or less, including 1-1 ties against Reservoir and South Carroll.
“We are very proud of how we kept our effort and morale high throughout a tough season,” said coach Kyle Chick. “It would have been easy to shut down after some difficult results, but this team represented the school the right way.”
Hammond finished with an overall record of 5-8 but finished on a high note with victories in two of the team’s final three games. Those two county wins were both shutouts — 3-0 over Reservoir and 2-0 over Long Reach.
“With a team of mostly freshmen, I think the players did a tremendous job of buying into the team-first mentality that we are implementing here at Hammond,” coach Brad Routh said. “We were competitive in all of our games and the players left everything they had on the field. I told them throughout the year that the wins will come as long as they keep giving maximum effort.
“We seemed to turn the corner at the end of the year … Hopefully we can carry the momentum into next year.”
Sophomore Timothy McGowan was the leader of the defense, while sophomore Van Thawng provided versatility as a center midfielder and as a leader on the backline late in the season. Sophomore midfielder Melvin Rivera, meanwhile, was named the MVP of the team and finished with five goals and five assists.
McGowan, Van Thawng and Rivera were all called up to varsity at the end of the year.
Other standouts were sophomore Bawi Hei, who led the Golden Bears with seven goals and three assists, and freshman captain Easton Rakestraw.
Howard was one of the area’s top teams this fall, finishing 7-2-1 in county and 8-3-1 overall. Sophomore goalie Justin Kramer and sophomore center midfielder Colin Harlin served as team captains. Kyle Harris and Mitchell Pechacek were the team’s top strikers, accounting for the majority of the goals scored.
The freshmen group of Brayden Bevels, Karl Quist-Therson and Ryan Hartlove were all consistent contributors as well. Bevels was a standout at left back that was also able to push forward when needed, while Quist-Therson and Hartlove were center midfielders with great touch and passing ability.
While there were lots of highlights throughout the season, coach Jake Spalding said it was a goal early in the second half against Wilde Lake that topped his list. The Lions took the opening kickoff and strung together a string of passes over the course of 30 seconds to eventually find Harris for a volley into the corner of the net.
It was another strong season for the Marriotts Ridge program, finishing with a 6-1-3 record.
Sophomore captains Dhruv Patel, Ethan Bohan and Nolan Dyer handled the leadership duties. Jack Kumor and Spencer Citro controlled the midfield, while Adam Orcutt, Joe Neaman, Justin Woodbury and Malcolm Ostrander provided support on the wings. Victor Lee and Daniel Wei were solid on the back line, with Eric Lee providing valuable minutes off the bench. Will Lee and Dyer were the starting strikers.
The freshmen class added depth with Cody Blessing, Evan Bury, Craig Johnston, Robert Groman and Jake Levy taking on the responsibility as midfielders. Grant Gladden provided another dimension up front and scored several goals with his speed and skill, helped by William Song and Jae Hae.
The freshmen were solid at the back with Shawn Seitzer and Erik Valdesuso taking care on the left and right. Nick Citro and Aidan Teoflak provided support. Brooks Ford and David Cerkonvnik shared time in the goal and were only scored on four times.
Mt. Hebron finished the season 6-2-1 in county play and 6-2-2 overall. Along the way, the team beat Atholton, 4-0, in its second game and later registered another 1-0 shutout against Marriotts Ridge.
Coach Kyle Farson also said an early-season 1-0 loss to River Hill was a great learning experience that made his team better later in the year.
Tyler Reddy, a sophomore captain, finished as the Vikings’ leading scorer with 12 goals. Sophomore sweeper Evan Kocsis and sophomore midfielder Matt Millen helped Reddy out with the leadership responsibilities. Freshmen Jack McGuire (stopper) and Ethan Wool-Lewis (center midfielder) were key contributors as well.
Oakland Mills had a season of growth with team captains Daniel Miranda, Dominique McDuffy, Ken Rodrigues and Lucas Hines serving as the leaders. Miranda made several acrobatic saves at goalie, while Hines excelled at directing traffic from his forward position. McDuffy and Rodrigues, meanwhile, were the glue on the team and took on the responsibilities of organizing team functions.
Mateo Moore and Ian Santiago showcased great commitment, while Kiyon Pitts and Aiyman Abdo were standouts on the backline defensively. Ian Santiago finished as the Scorpions’ most improved player.
With a team that featured just five sophomores on a roster of 30 players, Reservoir was a very young squad this fall. But the Gators grew together as a team, and their final record of 3-5-1 in county and 3-7-1 was not necessarily indicative of the strides made.
Among the highlights was a 4-2 win over Wilde Lake. Overall on the year, Reservoir outshot its opposition by more than a two-to-one margin and only gave up six goals that were not off of set pieces.
Jose Garcia-Portillo led the team with six goals, while Theo Akuffo controlled the midfield. Cameron Zook, Imran Edris, Michael Gonzales and Owen Bennertz were the leaders of the defense.
With two games left in the regular season there were 10 players — four sophomores and six freshmen — pulled up to varsity. Two of those players were starters for the Gators in the team’s playoff game.
For the second straight season, River Hill went undefeated. This fall, the Hawks finished with a record of 8-0-1 in county play and 9-0-1 overall while scoring 27 goals and allowing just three.
Among the highlights, according to coach Derrick Jameson, was the team’s season-ending victory over Atholton that secured the unbeaten record.
“To be able to celebrate with those boys on finishing the job we set out to do in August was really special,” Jameson said. “They dealt with crazy distractions, season-ending injuries to key players and their coach having a baby and still managed to stay focused enough to achieve the goal.”
Sophomore captains Casey Finkelston (MF), Oliver Simpson (MF) and Jeffery Fuentes (D/F) led the way. Joining Finkelston and Simpson in the midfield was freshman Saratis Makaris to create a solid trio to build around.
Freshman goalie Eric Gesell posted six shutouts and saved a pair of penalty kicks to help lead the team’s defense, which also included Connor Kelly, Will Amankwah, Joey Heitzman and Neabir Jahangir.
Sophomore Julian Elguera led the offense for the Hawks with 16 goals.
Overall, it was a building year for Wilde Lake with a lot of freshman playing major minutes and growing into larger roles. “We look forward to capitalizing on our growth this season and putting a team of stronger, faster sophomores next season,” coach Ben Townsend said.
Captain Godswill Enomanna provided strong defense from his sweeper and stopper positions, with help in the back coming from captain Chris Bispels and goalie Michael Stralka.
Eric Knoernschild and Quinn Sutker showed leadership in the midfield, while sophomore Elyjah Lee was able to use his speed and agility to lead the offense.
It was a rebuilding year for Atholton with sophomore Olivia Chory serving as the lone returning player. But the Raiders still finished with a 6-3 county record and 7-5 record overall thanks to some strong contributions from the seven players moving up from the freshman team and five incoming freshmen.
“From the hot beginning in August, the girls blended immediately under the leadership of sophomore captain Joelle Popa (outside hitter) and freshman captain Claire Kelly (setter),” coach Larry Schofield said.
Other strong contributions came from sophomores Alex Mouange, Gracie Barrett, Hannah Matrangola and Rebekka Sanchez-Castro. The passing of Sage Petersen and the setting of Trinitee Tatum also went a long way toward helping the offense and defense come together. Adding in the defense of freshmen Jackie Romo and Ingrid Chang also made a big difference in leading to victories.
Natasha Rajarajan and Esme Chu were major contributors in their own right. Romo, Chang and Chu were all called up to the varsity team for the playoff run to the state semifinals.
Centennial had its largest team ever, featuring a roster of 16 players, and ended up finishing with a record of 5-4 in county and 5-7 overall.
Along the way, the team won some big matches including a season-opening win over Wilde Lake. The Eagles also showed how strong they were in some tight losses, including a three-set match against South River early in the year.
The team had several players make the move up to varsity during the middle of the season. Kayla Kellner and Kaylah Smith were the first two to get called up, being promoted in early September. Later in the season, during mid-October, Gabriella DiPasquale, Zoe Haug, Emily Hollwedel and Brianna Lubinski were all called up to join the varsity roster prior to the postseason.
Overall, the leading attackers for Centennial were Kellner, Hollwedel and Delaney Leconte. The leading blockers were Smith, Haug and Lubinski. DiPasquale, Michelle Lin and Autumn Johnson emerged as the top defenders and receivers, while setters Samantha Suhrcke and Aaliyah Atoigue led the offense.
Serving ended up being a team strength, with DiPasquale leading the way with 40 service aces and a serve percentage of 86.9 percent. Freshman Julia Na ended up leading the way with a 97.1 serve percentage. LeConte was second in aces with 31 and Suhrcke was third on the team in both serving categories with 23 aces and an 81.9 serve percentage.
“The girls did a great job of adjusting to the constant line-up changes and each team member grew strong individually in their volleyball and leadership skills throughout the season,” coach Bill Shook said.
It was a year of consistent improvement for Glenelg on the way to a 5-5 county record and overall mark of 6-6.
“After falling short to River Hill in the first game of the season, the girls made a tremendous turnaround throughout the season and worked cooperatively as a team to minimize skill errors and play to the best of their ability,” coach Asia Bailey said.
Outside hitter Jenna Hirsh was one of the team’s most consistent servers, and Anna Hintz and Sierra Bowman were the top setters while serving as captains on the floor.
Freshman middle blocker Alyssa Cutroneo provided versatility and Madison Maloney made an impact on defense and as a server. After libero Haley Rumsey was lost early in the season, the duo of Catherine Lewis and Neha Katanguri stepped up as defensive specialists. Rumsey was able to return for the final three games.
Among the highlights was a win over Reservoir, where the team battled back after losing the first set.
“The team has grown tremendously throughout the entire season,” Bailey said. “With a few mishaps during the season, they were able to bounce back and maintain efficient team work.”
Hammond had a successful season, according to coach Kasey Quinn, including hard-fought victories over Meade and Northeast.
“The team as a whole had much to be proud of, improving their game knowledge and skill execution with every match,” Quinn said.
Howard was 7-2 in county play and 9-3 overall this fall.
“This team is one of the most talented and well-rounded groups of volleyball players that I have coached,” said coach Allison Ose. “We grew together as a team and were able to run varsity-level tempo plays on the court by the end of the season, which was one of our major goals as a team.”
Sophomore Emma Marthin led the team in middle kills, while sophomore Marisa Moore led the team in overall kills. Freshman Jordan Redmiles was the starting setter and led the team in assists and freshman Kylie O’Connor led the team in aces.
Kathy Taveras, a freshman libero, had the most digs on the team.
Long Reach had its share of highlights on the way to a 2-7 county record and 4-8 overall mark. At the top of the list was a three-set victory over Wilde Lake, where the Lightning won the final set, 17-15, to secure the team’s first win of the year.
“Our team had had just fallen short in a three-set loss to Glenelg in the previous match, but they displayed mental toughness during the highest pressure situations that players can experience during a volleyball match,” coach Erik Groch said. “Earning a positive result in high-pressure situations is invaluable experience for many players who were participating in their first volleyball season.”
On the season, Long Reach had 93 aces and was led by Lindsay Hall (87 serve percentage and 17 aces) and Hadiya Letren (84 serve percentage and 17 aces).
Kristine Deiss (10 kills), Rewina Embaye (seven), Lauren Lee (seven) and Kyra Stewart (seven) were the leaders offensively. Deiss was also the team leader with three blocks.
Letren had a team-high 20 assists, while Hall (21 digs), Lee (20) and Gillian Switalski (19) were the leaders in digs.
Another standout was Brianna Chun, who was a captain that missed half the season with an ankle injury but still provided leadership throughout the year.
With a record of 10-0 in county and 11-1 overall, Mt. Hebron was once again one of the top county teams. Among the highlight victories was a three-set triumph against Atholton early in the year where the Vikings lost the first set before regrouping to take the next two. Sophomore libero Isabel Torsiello had four aces, while freshman Nami Ande had four kills to lead the comeback.
The team also had a similar bounce-back victory over Howard. In that game against the Lions, Mt. Hebron lost the first set, 25-23, before winning the next two, 25-23 and 15-13. In that match, setter Angeline Luther and outside hitters Anwesha Gorantla and Adrianna Davis combined for 39 strong serves to go along with kills from middle hitters Julia Talent and Zainab Bharmal. The defense of Torsiello, Lauren Taylor and Katie Milauskas also made a big difference again Howard.
On the season, versatile players included Christina Caldwell (36 assists) and Caroline Pearce (18 assists). Ashley Gilbey, meanwhile, led the team with a serve percentage of 94.
There were no wins for Oakland Mills, which finished 0-9 in county play and 0-12 overall. But there was lots of growth from a team that had very limited volleyball experience coming into the season.
“I am so proud of how hard my team worked and how much progress the girls made,” coach Kendall Pierson said. “The quality of gameplay that they exhibited at times this year was so inspiring. Their spirit and enthusiasm and growing love for this sport helped propel us through. It wasn’t all great, but they listened, learned, and persevered.”
Bretajah Rodgers and Ola Fadebi were the Scorpions’ core setters, who also provided strong serving and consistent leadership. “They were the backbone to every play and the team looked to them to stay strong and provide solid game play,” Pierson said.
Sarah Taylor, meanwhile, served as the squad’s top all-around player. She was a setter turned hitter that helped provide offense for the team.
Reservoir had a competitive season, finishing with five victories and several other matches that came down to a deciding third set.
Freshman Mae Kim and Alyssa Lee were the defensive leaders, sharing the libero responsibilities. Sophomores Kelly Minnick and Jazmyn Cooper, along with freshman Natalie McDuffie, led the team offensively.
Freshman Maddie Barrett led the team in aces and sophomore Cameron Bowie was the “glue that held the team together on the court,” according to coach Julie Frisvold.
For the first time since 2008, River Hill finished undefeated with a county record of 9-0 and overall mark of 12-0. The Hawks won each match by a score of 2-0 and every member of the team played in every match.
“I wish I could put into words how amazing this season was. Each one of the girls on our team were genuinely wonderful and fun to get to know and grow with as the season continued,” coach Becky Paynter said. “I am so grateful for the group we had. Each practice we worked hard and had purpose and discipline with everything we did.”
Tara Lui, Lexi Battist, Ashley Goodnight, Kate Colvin and Olivia Wood were the top players for River Hill. But overall, everyone contributed.
“Whether the girls were on the court or off, they worked together, had fun, and made a huge impact on the River Hill volleyball program with their hard work and discipline,” Paynter said.
Among the season highlights for the Hawks was a sweep of Howard after the team was trailing by six points in the second set.
Wilde Lake showed a lot of improvement as the year went on and was led by sophomore captains Sana Kayani and Macayla Miles. Keke Combs was also a consistent leader, providing many assists from the back row.
“These three leaders stepped up this year on and off the court, helping other players learn the game and improve on their skills,” coach Kelly Vieira said. “The team showed great heart and passion this season from Day 1.”