Player of the Year
Kelly Dirks, Annapolis, senior, attack: The Panthers' standout will bring a dazzling resume to Duke University, where she will continue her storied lacrosse career next year. In her four years of varsity play, Dirks scored 212 goals and added 123 assists for a school-record 335 points. She surpassed some impressive company in reaching those standards, including Christy Samaras, a two-time first-team All-American and junior at Princeton, and James Madison sophomore Amy Brew, who earned third-team All-America status this spring. "Kelly is a finesse player. She's not as fast as some or not as big and strong as others, but her stickwork is impeccable around the goal," said Annapolis coach David Gehrdes. "She has great game sense and every year has gotten better. She's also extremely unselfish. In the big game, she has always played well and made her mark." This season, Dirks scored 80 goals and added 52 assists to lead the Panthers (20-1) to their second Class 4A state title in three years. She put up those numbers often playing only half a game when the Panthers enjoyed big early leads. An honorable mention All-American as a sophomore and a first-team selection last season, Dirks is sure to make a second straight appearance on the first team this year.
Coach of the Year
David Gehrdes, Annapolis: Senior standouts Kelly Dirks and Brooke Wagner -- who combined to finish with a whopping 233 points this season -- was a good start along with the three other seniors Gehrdes knew he could rely on this season. But there also was plenty of untested talent that had to come through in order to complete the Panthers' mission, which they did when they defeated C. Milton Wright, 17-2, to win the Class 3A-4A state title. It was the second state championship for Gehrdes, who in six years has compiled an impressive 102-10 mark. This year's outstanding 20-1 record isn't even his best work. In 1996, he guided the Panthers to their only undefeated season we they finished with a 20-0 mark to win their first state crown. As always, the big key this year was getting past county rival Severna Park. The Panthers did so twice, taking control of a tied game at the half in their regular-season meeting to come away with a 9-5 win and then surviving a 10-9 win in the Class 3A-4A East region final. That was essentially the championship game with the Panthers having no problems in state tournament play -- rolling past Liberty, 15-6, in the semifinals before the lopsided win over C. Milton Wright.
The first team
Jess Gaither, Severna Park, junior, attack: A second-team All-County pick as a sophomore, Gaither made the jump to the first team as she developed into the Falcons' go-to player up front. Always wanting the ball in the tough situations, Gaither finished the season with a team-high 41 goals and five assists.
Katie Robinson, St. Mary's, senior, attack: A fine finisher and equally effective playmaker, Robinson finished the season with 25 goals and 22 assists to make a second straight appearance on the county's first team. It was that combination -- a good hard shot with a knack to also find open teammates -- that made Robinson such a threat and had opposing defenses always guessing. Robinson will play at Loyola next season.
Brooke Wagner, Annapolis, senior, attack: No other player in the county could thread the needle with passes quite like Wagner, who led the Class 3A-4A state champ Panthers in assists (62) for the third straight season. She also scored 39 times to finish with 101 points on the season. Unselfish and very accurate with her passes and shots, Wagner will take her skills to James Madison next fall.
Ericka Hergenroeder, Severna Park, senior, midfield: After putting up 70 goals as a junior, Hergenroeder, headed for Boston University next fall, was the marked Falcon this season. And while her offensive numbers were down, finishing with 30 goals and 16 assists, she contributed in other ways doing a lot of the dirty work at both ends of the field.
Christy McNew, Annapolis, junior, midfield: With deceptive speed and quickness around the cage, McNew anchored the Panthers midfield scoring 48 goals and 15 assists. Her biggest game came in a 9-5 regular-season win over Severna Park when she scored four times, including a memorable goal in the last six seconds of the first half to get the Panthers even.
Carol Prickett, Severn, senior, midfield: A two-time first-teamer and three-year starter, Prickett was one of the most dominant two-way players in the county with 26 goals and 12 assists to go with her good anticipation on defense. The Virginia Tech-bound Prickett was named the Admirals' Most Valuable Player.
Tiffany Schummer, St. Mary's, senior, midfield: Defense was Schummer's specialty and no one in the county played a more aggressive brand. Schummer's tight marking continually frustrated the opposing teams' top scoring threats. Also a soccer and basketball standout at St. Mary's, Schummer will solely concentrate on lacrosse when she attends the University of Virginia.
Kellie Thompson, St. Mary's, senior, midfield: Last year's Metro Player of the Year had another banner season, finishing with 42 goals and 16 assists. Her offensive numbers only tell half the story. Thompson was the Saints' leader, took most of their draws and was just as valuable at the defensive end. A four-year standout, Thompson will take her complete game to the University of North Carolina.
Jen Jefferson, Annapolis, senior, defense: After playing attack last season, Jefferson made the switch to help solidify a young defense. Strong and fast, she made great decisions with the ball at her wing position and still maintained her scorer's touch, finishing with 24 goals and seven assists for the Class 3A-4A state champs. Jefferson will play her college ball at Temple.
Megan Lewis, St. Mary's, senior, defense: The backbone of the Saints' defense at her point position, Lewis anticipated well and was able to work the ball out of the back with great stick skills. A four-year starter and one of six St. Mary's seniors signed to play at the NCAA Division I level next year, Lewis will be off to Vanderbilt in the fall.
Meg Miller, Severna Park, sophomore, defense: "Reliable, very smooth, always under control" is how Severna Park coach Carin Peterson described her sophomore standout. Miller was a dominating presence playing either third man or line defense for the Falcons. She also jumped up offensively to score 10 goals and four assists.
Julie Shank, Severna Park, junior, defense: A regular on the first team since her freshman year, Shank continued to expand her role as the county's most versatile player. Her aggressive marking shut down the opposing team's top scoring threat and she also saw more time in the Falcons' settled attack, finishing the season with 24 goals and 17 assists.
Fran Schlossman, Broadneck, senior, goalie: The unquestioned leader of the Bruins defense, Schlossman finished the season with a 63.0 save percentage, stopping 148 of 235 shots sent her way. A four-year starter, Schlossman, who plans to attend Anne Arundel Community College next fall, was quick to anticipate with good field sense and fine distribution.
Pub Date: 5/27/98