PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Fernandez was one of the main cogs in McDonogh's 20-1 season and second consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.
Fernandez is considered one of the top high school players in the nation. A defender, he moved forward to score 10 goals and anchored the back line for the Eagles, who had 16 shutouts. The junior also had the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Archbishop Curley in the conference semifinals.
McDonogh's only loss this season was against Perry Hall, a game in which Fernandez did not play. He has drawn interest from the U.S. national team and participated in the Adidas/ESP camp over the summer, which invites the top 110 high school players in the country.
Fernandez also led the Baltimore Bays to back-to-back national club championships.
"In most publications, he is considered the best defender in the country for his age group," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "He is special. We probably can't win without Marquez. He has that special quality not many guys have."
Fernandez is expected to draw interest from some of the nation's top colleges.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Expectations were high entering the season for Perry Hall, which finished last year with an 18-2 record and a state final appearance. Skelton and his squad embraced the challenge and were determined to prove they were among the elite programs in the state. The Gators finished this season 17-3 and were a state finalist for the second consecutive year.
Perry Hall opened the season with a stunning 2-1 victory over No. 1 McDonogh and another big win over a tough Urbana team. The Gators also avenged last season's loss to Magruder in the state championship game, beating the Colonels in the state semifinals on penalty kicks.
"The team's confidence grew as the season went on, and we developed into a very solid possession-oriented team that took pride in playing soccer the way it should be played," Skelton said. "We knew coming into the season that we would be a different team from last year, in that we would have to rely more on our skill than our size and athleticism that carried us last year."
Skelton attributes this year's success to overall chemistry and the work the players did in practice. The team was led by goalie Zach Kane, who had 12 shutouts, and strikers Joe Glos and Kevin Medrano. Phil Saunders helped anchor the back line and had 11 assists.
Archbishop Curley, defense
Ballo was again one of the most dominant players in the area. The junior controlled the back line for the Friars but did not hesitate to move forward as well. Ballo often neutralized the opposition's top playmaker.
Brummitt was regarded as one of the most dangerous forwards in the metro area because of his natural finishing ability. The senior was a team captain who scored 20 goals and had six assists during Annapolis' 11-game county schedule. He led the county in scoring for the second consecutive year.
Mount St. Joseph, midfield
Caltabiano, one of the area's most gifted midfielders, helped Mount St. Joseph reach the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title game against top-ranked McDonogh. The dynamic junior has a deft touch and is expected to be highly recruited next season.
Perry Hall, goalkeeper
Kane, regarded as one of the top goalies in the state, allowed only six goals all season, helping Perry Hall to a 17-3 record. The senior stopped two penalty kicks in a shootout in the Class 4A state semifinals against Magruder.
Marriotts Ridge, forward
Martinelli was the dominant player on Howard County's most dominant team. The senior had 15 goals and 11 assists, leading the team in both categories. Martinelli had either a goal or an assist in 14 of the 17 games Marriotts Ridge played this season. He also scored some of the team's biggest goals. Martinelli had two goals in the regional championship victory over River Hill. He bent a free kick around the wall for the first goal in the county championship game against the Hawks.
The senior was a force all season for the Greyhounds; he finished with 17 goals and 12 assists and helped Gilman reach the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals. McBride scored the winning goal in Gilman's 2-0 victory over John Carroll in this year's MIAA quarterfinals; the Greyhounds lost to eventual champion McDonogh in the semifinals. McBride is also a standout lacrosse player and has committed to play at North Carolina next season.
Meyer was an integral cog in the tough McDonogh defense and has exceptional skill for a defender. The junior helped the Eagles record 16 shutouts this season and will be part of what might be an even tougher McDonogh squad next season.
Mount Hebron, midfield
Nickles was one of the top playmakers in Howard County. The senior also scored some of Mount Hebron's biggest goals this season, including a header against River Hill in the regional playoffs. Nickles has committed to play at Duquesne next season.
Nugent was one of the most explosive forwards in the area. The senior often had the attention of three and sometimes four defenders. Nonetheless, he scored some of Parkville's biggest goals, including the game-winner in the Baltimore County championship game, and finished with 23 goals and 12 assists.
Vaeth led Patapsco to a 9-4-2 record with 16 goals and 12 assists this season. The senior finished his four-year varsity career with 42 goals and 30 assists. He will play at UMBC next season.
Vidmar played a crucial role in McDonogh's stellar defense and helped the Eagles win their second consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship. Vidmar was a tough marking back who also was not afraid to make dangerous runs in the offensive third of the field. The senior has committed to play at Virginia Tech next season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.