ALL-METRO GIRLS SOCCER

The Baltimore Sun

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Erica Page

Archbishop Spalding, forward

The repeat first-team All-Metro selection brought leadership, poise and strong skills to the field in leading the No. 1 Cavaliers (19-1-3) to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship. A four-year starter and two-year captain, Page scored 16 goals and added 17 assists this season to close out her career with 56 goals and a program-best 42 assists.

The Maryland-bound standout was a key part of two IAAM A Conference championship teams, with the program's first coming in her sophomore year. After the Cavaliers graduated the program's most prolific class, Page became the go-to player on offense this season, showing an ability to score on her own and set up teammates when she drew extra attention. She opened the season at less than 100 percent, recovering from anterior cruciate ligament surgery that she underwent in the early part of 2008, but she was still productive.

"Erica is a smart player and student of the game," Spalding coach Bob Dieterle said. "Her ability to understand the game, read opponents and make adjustments over the course of a game was very fine this year. She was as good without the ball as she was with it."

Page, who has a program-best 18 game-winning goals, played in 85 games (starting 82) and logged 5,231 minutes. In the Cavaliers' three playoff wins this season, she had two goals and three assists.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Bob Dieterle

Archbishop Spalding

The Cavaliers opened the season full of questions. Who would replace All-Metro Player of the Year Christine Nairn and her instant scoring? How long before senior captain Erica Page returned to top form after surgery earlier in the year? Could goalkeeper Jocelyn McCoy fill the void left by All-Metro four-year standout Karen Blocker?

Dieterle, who relied on a sturdy, experienced defense and more balance on offense, instilled confidence and a sound structure. The result for the No. 1 Cavaliers was a 19-1-3 mark that culminated in a 2-0 win over McDonogh for the program's second Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference crown in three years.

"We definitely had some questions that needed to be answered, but that's high school sports, and every coach knows it's going to happen," he said. "We just told the kids, 'We lost some great players, but we also have a very good team right here.' You could see that in their attitudes - they were confident."

Dieterle, who has an 108-21-12 mark in seven seasons, was quick to credit his assistant, Bob Wagner, and junior varsity coach, Dave Bukowski.

FIRST TEAM

Ali Brennan

McDonogh, goalkeeper

Quick, athletic and possessing good size, the senior posted 20 shutouts and allowed just three goals for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference runner-up. A former standout defender who earned Baltimore County Player of the Year honors as a sophomore playing left fullback, she used her ball skills to allow the Eagles to play the ball back to her to relieve pressure. When turning back shots, Brennan was smart in covering the angles and also had the agility to make diving saves. She is set to play at Miami next year.

Cassie Cooke

Winters Mill, forward

After dominating the middle of the field as a junior, the senior standout made her mark up front this season for the Falcons, scoring 20 goals and adding five assists. Cooke was dangerous in open space and also was able to take on defenders with a quick first step. Handling all the team's direct kicks, she had an accurate and hard shot that often found corners of the goal. After spending her first two years at Westminster, she scored 32 goals and added 21 assists in her two seasons at Winters Mill. On Oct. 15, she had a four-goal game in a 4-1 win over Tuscarora. Cooke, who also is an All-Metro guard in basketball, will play that sport next year at Rhode Island.

Monica Fischer

Fallston, forward

Relentless and gifted in the offensive third of the field, the four-year starter led the No. 4 Cougars (17-1) to a runner-up finish in Class 3A. In earning first-team honors for a second straight year, the team captain used her crafty skills to create her own scoring chances as well as set up teammates. She finished with 16 goals and 19 assists as the focal point of the Cougars' offense. Fischer set the tone for Fallston the past two seasons, as it captured consecutive Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championships and went undefeated in the regular season.She plans to play soccer at Johns Hopkins next year.

Kirsten Frank

Archbishop Spalding, defense

In her third season as a starter, the junior sweeper took on a bigger role as captain of a defense that posted 14 shutouts in helping the No. 1 Cavaliers (19-1-3) win the IAAM A Conference title. Frank, who reads the game well and is quick to the ball, is able to dominate in the air as well as distribute effectively from the back. A tireless worker and fierce competitor, Frank demonstrated a strong personality that was a major influence on a team that lost a number of character players to graduation. In her three years, the Cavaliers have recorded 46 shutouts.

Kristina Jackson

Wilde Lake, midfielder

The team captain and four-year standout sacrificed for the team this season, dropping back to a defensive midfield position to provide a steadying influence in the middle of the field for the Howard County champion Wildecats. Jackson, who was sidelined late in the season with a knee injury, was a tenacious player who demonstrated the ability to carry the ball forward or distribute to open teammates. She finished the season with one goal and three assists after a 10-goal, seven-assist junior season. Jackson is considering playing soccer at Cornell next year.

Gigi Mangione

McDonogh, midfielder

The repeat first-team All-Metro selection was the catalyst for a team that went 21-1-1 and reached the IAAM A Conference championship game. The Eagles' captain and four-year starter combined endless energy with polished skills to record 22 goals and add 14 assists this season. After scoring the goal in the Eagles' 1-0 semifinal win over Mercy, she was issued a controversial red card in the closing minute that kept her out of the title game. Mangione, who earned All-America status and was named Baltimore County Player of the Year for the second straight year, will play at Loyola next year.

Francisca Okoko

Arundel, midfielder

The junior was one of the area's most explosive offensive threats. She used her size, speed and skills to score 14 goals and add eight assists in leading the Wildcats to Anne Arundel County and Class 4A East regional title games. Okoko, 5 feet 10, who transferred from Arizona after her freshman year, came into her own as a playmaker and goal scorer in her second year of varsity at Arundel. A tough mark and even tougher to get off the ball, Okoko was a constant threat, with strong runs that were finished off with hard and accurate shots. Okoko was recently selected to attend the U.S. Under-17 National Camp in Florida. She's also a standout sprinter for the outdoor track and field team in the spring.

Amy Song

River Hill, defense

The senior right back played an integral role in the Hawks' third straight state championship with her smart play on defense and dangerous long throw-in to spark the offense. Defensively, Song always was in the right position to win challenges and then find teammates forward. But her biggest attribute was her long throws that she consistently placed inside the penalty area to create scoring opportunities. Her 15th assist, coming on a goal from Seyoum Semret in the final minute of the Class 2A title game against Eastern Tech, tied the score and allowed the Hawks to win on penalty kicks. She will play at Mount St. Mary's next year.

Ashley Spivey

McDonogh, forward

The freshman burst onto the scene and immediately established herself as one of the area's most dangerous offensive threats, bringing tenacity, creativity and an impressive finishing touch. Spivey, who was also used at midfield, finished with 25 goals and 12 assists - scoring and creating chances for teammates in bunches. She scored three goals in a 5-1 win over nationally ranked Sacred Heart (Ky.), scored four goals in the Eagles' 6-1 win over Mount de Sales in the IAAM A Conference playoffs and recorded three assists in a 4-0 win over John Carroll. Spivey, 14, is a member of the U.S. Under-16 Youth National Team.

Molly Stryker

C. Milton Wright, defense

A fixture on the Mustangs' back line, the senior sweeper closed out a sturdy four-year career with another stellar season to earn first-team honors for a second straight year. Smart and skilled, the two-year captain anchored a defense that posted eight shutouts in the Mustangs' 10-3 season. She also provided a boost to the Mustangs' offense, showing poise to distribute from the back and scoring five goals. Stryker first came up to varsity midway through her freshman year and contributed to the Mustangs' state championship season. Stryker, still undecided on a college, also is a standout lacrosse player.

Amber Womack

Eastern Tech, forward

A four-year varsity player, Womack had one of the finest individual performances in a state title game when she scored three goals in the Mavericks' Class 2A final loss against River Hill. Strong and fast with the ball, Womack finished the season with 10 goals and five assists. Womack scored twice in the first half to give the Mavericks an early advantage. After River Hill tied the score in the second half, she made a strong run with the ball down the left side and had an ideal finish to regain the lead before the Hawks tied the score again and eventually won on penalty kicks.

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