Player of the Year
Katie Jeschke, Mount Hebron, senior, forward: "The one thing she added to her game this year was her ability to assist," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland. "Last year she had 16 goals and two assists. This year she had 11 and eight, which added a new dimension to her game." Jeschke, a three-year starter, is a tireless worker, whether it's practice or a game. "She's real intense and works really hard to get the ball. She's a competitor," Ireland said. And when she gets the ball, Jeschke knows what to do with it. "She has tremendous stick skills," Ireland said. "She can penetrate into the defense and is able to draw corners. And she was finishing on corners toward the end of this season." Jeschke has a hard, accurate shot and her solid dribbling skills allow her to control the ball. And no one has more determination. Ireland said Jeschke, a team captain, was "a great leader" not vocally as much as through her "abilities and skill" as a player. A three-time first-team, all-county selection, Jeschke helped the Vikings to three consecutive state tournament appearances.
Coach of the Year
Ginger Kincaid, Glenelg: The Gladiators finished 13-5, their first winning record since 1992, and were co-county champions, region champions and a state Class 1A finalist. "We weren't expected to do this well, and I didn't expect we'd do this well in the beginning of the year," said Kincaid. "But every time I put a goal in front of them they reached for it. They just absolutely were a group that loved to play, loved each other and just enjoyed the season from beginning to end. The hardest part after we lost the state semifinal was that it was over. They just didn't want it to end. They had such a good time." And so did Kincaid. "It has been very special," she said. "I can build hockey teams, I can build hockey players but I can't get the heart from them that they put out there," Kincaid added. "They played with such tremendous heart that they made every game exciting. They never quit. I was extremely proud of them." Kincaid installed a new system this season, and "once they understood their role, they just took off with it." Said Kincaid: "I really did exploit the energy and the heart that they had. I really didn't build skills, I really didn't have to do anything other than just to manage the enthusiasm they had, and channel it the right way." Kincaid, who credited junior varsity coaches Anna Spring and Liz Brigham with giving her "a team that I could work with" throughout her 23 seasons at Glenelg, has a record of 181-106-15 overall and 109-51-10 in the county.
The first team
Leigh Langmead, Mount Hebron, senior, forward: "She went from a good right wing to a really outstanding right wing," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland about Langmead, a three-year starter who had six goals and eight assists. Ireland said that what Langmead "added to her speed and quickness to the ball was her ability to dodge. She was key for us getting the ball into our attack, and she has a beautiful cross. She served the ball into the circle for someone to finish, and she did it consistently." Langmead worked hard to improve from last year and came back a stronger and more confident player. "She just really did her job," said Ireland.
Elizabeth Narron, Glenelg, junior, forward: ward: "My finisher," said Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid. "She goes for the goal. She just loves to score." Narron finished with 12 goals and nine assists, both team highs, and had the Gladiators' only successful stroke in the penalty shootout loss to Washington in the Class 1A state semifinal game. Narron played on the outside last year, but Kincaid moved her because "we needed a finisher, and that is what she does best." Narron's solid skills and speed made her a threat, but it was her desire that made her stand out.
Kelly O'Connor, Glenelg, junior, forward: O'Connor was easy to spot on the field for two reasons -- her intensity and the green bow she wore in her hair. "She did that so her parents could find her on the field," said Glenelg's Kincaid. But O'Connor's hustle and desire always stood out. "She played with tremendous heart. When the game needed to step up, she was the one that stepped it up," Kincaid said. "She was the spark that got everybody excited and made things happen." O'Connor finished with nine goals and seven assists, but what also stood out was her willingness to fall back on defense. "She did a lot of defensive responsibilities that were unequaled by any of the other forward-line players," Kincaid said. "She was the one that dropped back to mark and would take care of midfield type of play." Kincaid called O'Connor "a tremendous competitor" and the "most complete player I had."
Courtney Vaughan, Hammond, senior, forward: ward: She led the team in goals with 16, and added seven assists. "She was a scoring leader for us and instrumental in getting us to be the highest scoring team we've ever had [51 goals, 41 assists]," said Hammond coach Gay Petrlik. A three-year starter, Vaughan's skills, speed and leadership made her a key part of Hammond's success. "She was excellent on her one-on-ones, and she came up big against tough opponents," said Petrlik.
Jessica Burkhardt, Long Reach, senior, midfield: Burkhardt moved from attack to center midfield midway through the season and her presense created a much more potent offense. "We were able to get more opportunities in the circle because of her," said Long Reach coach Kelly Snyder. The Lightning (13-3-2) were co-county champions and went as far as the Class 3A championship game. Not bad for a team that won a total of 16 games the last two years after a 0-12-1 start in 1996. "She was the main reason we finished the way we did," Snyder said. "She was able to control the game for us. She is a very polished player with strong stick skills and a very positive attitude." Burkhardt's knowledge of the game, field vision and hard shot made her perfect for the middle. She finished with nine goals and nine assists.
Liz Eberhardt, Mount Hebron, senior, midfield: field: "She really was the heart of our team this year," Mount Hebron's Ireland said of Eberhardt, who had seven goals and two assists. A three-year starter, Eberhardt "really came into her own and was at the top of her game all season long," Ireland said. Eberhardt, who signed to play lacrosse at Boston University, was quick to the ball, tackled with authority and distributed the ball very well. "She had a brilliant year, she really did," Ireland said. "She's a true leader and a great athlete."
Nicole Simon, Centennial, junior, midfield: "She was the spark plug on our team," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell. A solid defender and an aggressive playmaker, Simon made things happen. And her big hit was the reason why. "She was our go-to player when we needed the big hit," Purdell said. "She hit the ball the hardest I've seen in the county." Simon, who had eight goals and five assists, is fast and used that speed as the flyer on defensive corners. Purcell said that Simon's "mental toughness" and "good decisions on the field" helped make her a complete player.
Lindsey Startt, River Hill, senior, midfield: Startt played right wing the last two years, but switched this season to center midfield. "Skill for skill she was our best player so I wanted to utilize her skills and put her somewhere where she would make a difference, and she did that," said River Hill coach Martha Henderson. "She has an amazing ability to pull the ball and drive it, and switch fields and make the transition happen." Henderson added that Startt, who had one goal and five assists, is "smart, intense and involved in every play. She's always around the ball and has good anticipation. She knows where the ball will go and is there to stop it."
Amy Hafets, Hammond, senior, defense: A three-year starter, Hafets "wore so many hats for us," said Hammond's Petrlik. "She was the flyer on defensive corners, a receiver on offensive corners and we put her on the other team's key players. Hafets had two goals and three assists. "She has excellent skills, is very fast and is a powerful athlete," Petrlik said.
Theresa Heston, Long Reach, senior, defense: fense: "She's not a flashy player, but gets the job done," said Long Reach coach Kelly Snyder of Heston, the Lightning's defensive leader. "She knows what her job is, she knows how to do it and she does it. And she's consistent -- that's the biggest thing about her." Heston made strong tackles -- especially in one on one situations -- and had solid free hits to get the ball out of the defensive end. "She's the glue of our defense," Snyder said.
Jessica Schmidt, Glenelg, junior, defense: "Whenever we needed a big defensive game she was the one that stepped up and did it for us," said Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid. "That was very evident in the playoffs. She was our big-time player in the playoffs." Kincaid said Schmidt is a "big, strong and fast" defender, good at tackling and marking in the circle.
Katelyn Hoffman, Mount Hebron, senior, goalie: A fierce competitor, Hoffman had 124 saves and allowed 17 goals. "She directed the whole defense and that was not a problem for her," said Mount Hebron coach Jeanette Ireland. "She gets in their face and yells at them. She got carded in the Hereford game for yelling at her own player. I'll miss that. She's a competitor and loves the game on the line." A three-year starter, Hoffman allowed only four goals against county teams this season. She will attend the University of North Carolina on a lacrosse scholarship.
Jaye Lance, Long Reach, senior, goalie: Lance has never been one to back down, and it's her aggressive style that makes her one of the best. "She's not apprehensive. She's not afraid," said Long Reach's Snyder. "She's very quick and aggressive." Lance had 151 saves this season and allowed 14 goals. Snyder said that Lance "has all the skills, the knowledge and the ability." And this season, Snyder said, Lance matured as a player and made smarter decisions. Her attacking style of play made Lance "fun to watch," Snyder said. A four-year starter, Lance has verbally committed to the University of Maine on a field hockey scholarship.
The Baltimore Sun 1999 All-Howard County field hockey team was selected by Stan Rappaport after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.