Another successful building season for Howard County fall JV programs

There’s no perfect formula when it comes to building a successful high school varsity athletic program. A unique combination of skill, team chemistry and coaching — among other things — helps contribute to results on the scoreboard.

But it could be argued that the foundation for any school hoping for sustained success in a particular sport starts on the junior varsity level.

Without the fanfare of their varsity counterparts, JV athletes work at perfecting their craft through practices, games and other bonding experiences in hopes of one day earning the right to compete on a bigger stage. The lessons learned are invaluable to equipping these potential stars of tomorrow with the tools needed to succeed.

In an effort to give these athletes and teams a deserved moment in the spotlight, we reached out to each school through their athletic administration to find out about some of the highlights and top performers from the fall season. Here's what we heard back:

Football

Led by a stout defense that had two shutouts and allowed an average of just seven points per game, Atholton went 7-3 and lost its three games by a combined 11 points. Offensively, the Raiders scored 136 points over their final five games and finished the year by winning their last four games.

“Our guys fought hard all season and played for one another,” coach Hayden Yerashunas said. “Some guys stepped into unfamiliar roles to help the team be successful. The players on this team showed determination and selflessness throughout the season.”

Centennial struggled to find wins on the field but found many off the field. The goal entering the season wasn’t to win games but to build a culture and winning habits on and off the field.

“To measure the 2018 season on wins, losses and statistics would be doing an injustice to the young men’s character who stuck out the season,” coach Jonathan Reed said. “Most high school teams field a game with 30-35 players on a roster. Centennial this season was fielding teams with as few as 15 players. From a player’s perspective, this means that after injuries and after adjustments week after week they would have to adjust to different responsibilities.

“These players all stood out for their dedication to the process, their work ethic for the program and their tenacity to succeed.”

The Eagles’ standout players this season were Sam Bussink, Willie Johnson, Aiden Stanislovsky, Sungwoo Park and Joey Toth.

Like the varsity squad, Glenelg was one of the league’s best teams this fall by finishing 9-0 and going undefeated for the first time since 2005. The offense scored 35 or more points eight times this season and averaged 31.5 points per game, while the defense had eight shutouts and allowed 13 points all season.

“We had a great group of sophomores who led by example and showed the freshmen how to be successful on and off the field,” coach Joe Derwent said.

One year after going 0-10, Hammond bounced back in a big way and went 6-3-1. The Golden Bears had 50 players on the team — including 28 first-year players — and were solid on both sides of the ball.

The defense allowed an average of 13 points per game and had 11 interceptions, including three apiece from Nick Thomas, Nahkire Williams and Marion Rochelle. Offensively, they averaged 27 points per contest and were led by sophomore wide receiver Tayshawn Yates, who had 469 receiving yards and five touchdowns to go with 193 rushing yards and a score.

Sophomore running back Josh Woods had 1,085 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Eric Grimwis commanded the offense and completed 28-of-49 passes for 539 yards and eight touchdowns. He also scored the game-winning rushing touchdown on the final play of a 22-20 win against Atholton.

“All the credit to the season definitely goes to how hard the team battled each and every week,” coach Jaleel Moore said. “It was difficult being new the program, but the kids responded well to me and wanted to be successful. I applaud everything they accomplished on the field and in the classroom.”

Howard entered the season having finished with a winning record each of the last eight years and extended that streak this season by going 8-2 despite having 24 freshmen and no returning starters.

The Lions averaged 21 points per game while the defense had four shutouts and allowed an average of six points per contest.

“Freshmen running back Chris Snell ran hard every game to lead the offense ground attack and sophomore wide receiver Alex Brown and freshmen wide receiver Will Ennis were all big threats in the passing game,” said coach Tyler Wade. “Sophomore Kyle Colbert was the team’s leader at quarterback all year long and provided leadership and a stable passing threat that gave the Lions a very balanced attack.”

Long Reach coach Dustin Zelik said his team was bitten by the injury bug this season at key positions but battled each week en route to finishing with a 2-7-1 record.

Quarterback Andy Lotz threw for 752 yards with 10 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 53 before a season-ending injury early in the fifth week, while Julian Biggs had 14 receptions for 325 yards and six touchdowns and Louis Valentine IV had 15 catches for 308 yards and three scores. Running back Dominick Garris led the team in rushing with 500 yards and three touchdowns.

On defense, Craig West led the team with 52 tackles and two forced fumbles, Chris Stanford had 39 tackles, including six for loss, and Dominick Garris and Patrick Joyce each had 34 or more tackles.

Among their season highlights was a 98-yard touchdown pass from Lotz to Valentine IV to tie the game against Hammond and a three-touchdown game from Biggs against River Hill. Biggs also had three receptions for 112 yards and a safety on defense in the victory. The Lightning also had a goal-line stand against rival Howard.

“Even though this past season did not turn out the way we would have liked in terms of wins and losses,” Zelik said, “this team fought through adversity and did not quit.”

Marriotts Ridge finished the season with a 5-5 record and had two shutouts and two other games in which it allowed seven points or fewer.

Linebacker Quinn Kelly led the Mustangs’ defense in tackles and tackles for loss, while linebacker Gavin Turner also made several big plays. Danny Hau and Tim Kim anchored the right side of the offensive line and paved the way for Kelly, Gus Clark and Blake Krupinsky and the rushing attack.

“As a team we were able to score 148 points this season, which is significantly more than had been scored in recent seasons,” coach David Bond said. “Overall the junior varsity Mustangs had a good season. With only 24 players on the roster, everyone had to step up and help out the team.”

Despite having 20 players who had never played football before, Mt. Hebron found a way to win three games and set up a bright future.

Sophomores Christopher Buehlman (OL, DL), Brian Jun (OL), Zion Holmes (WR, S), Terry Tun (OL, DL) and Stephen Holtman (SS) were the team’s leaders this season. Jun led the team with 11 sacks and 59 solo tackles, Holmes had a team-high 560 receiving yards and two touchdowns on offense, as well as a pick-six on defense and Holtman led the team with three interceptions. Sophomore Joel Benyi and freshman Kameron Wilson combined to allow one passing touchdown all season.

Freshman quarterback Jacob Nixon had more than 700 yards passing and six touchdowns, and the Vikings had two freshmen running backs — Dawyan Alexander and Giuliano Fiorilo — who ran through defenses. Freshman wide receiver Aaron Krafft caught a game-winning 15-yard touchdown in the final 75 seconds in a 14-12 win against Reservoir.

“Our offensive line carried us through the entire season,” coach Walter Vaughn said. “I think we had one of the best JV offensive lines in Howard County. They were coached by Joe Armstead, who did a wonderful job getting them prepared. ... This team is young but has a lot of potential.”

Reservoir went 7-2 this season and had three games come down to the final series.

The Gators had only eight returning sophomores and numerous first-year players who worked their way into the rotation.

“Sophomores Ellis Tompkins, Luis Rodriguez and Jaydin Thomas were leaders on both sides of the ball challenging our team every day in practice,” coach Robert While said. “Freshman Myles McDuffie quarterbacked the offense and sophomores Mason McClendon and Elijah Diarra were big contributors on a strong defense that always gave us an opportunity to win.”

Wilde Lake had its most wins in four years and finished with a 6-3 record this fall.

Quarterback Kofi Boampong had 1,019 yards passing and 13 touchdowns and five interceptions to go along with 315 rushing yards. One of the Wildecats’ top weapons was Damari Ryles, who ran for 459 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns and had 411 receiving yards and four scores. He also led the team in points scored (54) and all-purpose yards (986).

On defense, Enosh Minney and Nasir England were the leaders on defense. Minney led the team in tackles (54) and sacks (five) and added 131 yards rushing and 112 yards receiving, while England was the “emotional leader of the team and of the defense,” according to coach Thomas Abel. He had 43 tackles and an interception and had 140 yards rushing and 102 yards receiving and two scores on offense.

Sean Barnes, the younger brother of former Howard County Defensive Player of the Year Tyrell Barnes, led the team in rushing with 474 yards and four touchdowns and also had 41 tackles.

“The growth in this team from start to finish was astronomical,” Abel said. “We had a lot of early injuries and call-ups, but the kids stayed focused and fought hard all year.”

Boys Soccer

It was a winning season for Atholton, posting a final record of 5-4-1. Among the highlights was a fast start to the year that included shutouts in the Raiders’ first four games.

Sweeper Robert Sangvic, defensive midfielder Jonathan Rogers and attacking midfielder Josh Martins were the leaders throughout the season.

Centennial was among the top county squads and finished with a 9-1-1 record under first-year coach Leandro Conti and assistant Glenn Donovan.

Defense was undoubtedly the strength for the Eagles, which allowed only eight goals against. Captains Marco Benavides and Andrew Hockersmith, alongside freshman Sammy Molz, anchored the backline in front of sophomore goalkeeper and captain Paul Russell.

On the offensive end, captain Bryson Baker led the team in goals with eight over the course of the season. He also served as a facilitator from an attacking midfield position. Securing the center of the field, meanwhile, was Cameron Grable. Eddie Aguilar was a critical piece in the middle of the field as well.

Centennial had a lot of highlights, but comeback victories over Reservoir and River Hill during the same week was at the top of the list.

“In addition to playing their hearts out every game, Centennial exemplified great mental toughness and perseverance day after day,” Conti said.

Injuries made for a tough year for Glenelg, which had multiple players in and out of the lineup all season. Among the toughest losses was sophomore leader Ian Higgins being able to play in only two games.

“Despite the unique challenge, the boys fought hard in every match,” coach Kyle Chick said.

Of the roster of 16 players, 12 were freshmen. That sophomore group had some strong role models, however, in the form of Zach Kersh, Noah Stewert and Ethan Bomhardt.

Freshmen Jacob Pair (5 goals overall) and Derek Edmonston (2 goals overall) both scored in a 2-0 win over Long Reach, serving as one of the season highlights.

Glenelg Country enjoyed a remarkable turnaround campaign this fall, going from 0-8 the previous year to posting an undefeated 12-0 record that included winning the MIAA C Championship.

The Dragons, who had eight freshmen starters, scored 38 goals and allowed just six on the season.

Season highlights included a 2-1 sudden-death victory in overtime against Beth T’Filoh and a 1-0 win over Key School in the regular season. Then the team capped things off with another 1-0 victory over Key in overtime to clinch the C Championship.

Sophomore Mitchell Turner scored the game-winner in that title game victory and finished as the team’s leading scorer on the year.

On defense, sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Russo combined with the freshmen group of Finn Schmidt, Adam Abdul-Raham, Blake Eastwood and Riley Reese to lock down opposing teams all season.

Pulling together throughout the season, Hammond finished with an overall record of 3-5-3. The victories came against Oakland Mills, Long Reach and Glenelg.

“We were playing our best soccer the last three weeks,” coach Dustin Stout said. “The work ethic, dedication and team spirit was amazing this year and clearly going to continue improving year after year.”

Joel Rojo San Martin led the Golden Bears’ attack with nine goals. Easton Rakestraw and Ben Gallagher controlled the midfield, while Victor Rangel was a leader of the defense.

No county team was better this fall than Howard, which finished unbeaten at 10-0-1 overall.

Logan Wrenn and Viktor Struck were the leaders of a defense that gave up only five goals all season.

“Logan was a leader on the backline after making great strides and improving his game from last year with a work rate that was unmatched on the team, while Viktor continued to improve all season long by learning a new position almost seamlessly,” coach Jake Spalding said.

Joe Sircus, meanwhile, used his ability to control the ball, see the field and beat opponents off the dribble to hold down the midfield.

Ibrahim Khairat and Drew Fisher were asked to take on the captain roles less than halfway into the season following the call up to varsity of standouts Brayden Bevels and Ryan Hartlove.

The Lions had three overtime victories along the way — beating River Hill, Centennial and Atholton in sudden death.

After Marriotts Ridge lost three starting players — Will Song, Shawn Seitzer and Ben Dyer — very early in the season, the team responded well and ended with a record of 5-2-5.

Captains Brooks Ford, Robby Groman and Nick Citro were all standouts.

Ford led the defense at goalie, getting great support from Aidan Costello and a backline that also included Zach Wu, Luke Jantac, Citro and Aidan Teoflak. Ford was called up to the varsity for playoffs.

Eric Bennett, Craig Johnston, Jake Ha, Cole Jenkins, Jake Levy, Emir Alahariri and Mike Ott all played big roles in the middle of the field. Ott joined the team late but ended up finishing with four goals — including a score against county-champion Howard.

Evan Bury and David Cerkonvnick each contributed as attacking midfielders, supporting a top line that was led by Nevan Patcha, Mike Clevenger, Min Park and Ryan Rissmandel.

Groman, Corey Scott, Caleb Nebiyu and Jack Remmel all were adept at creating chances in the attacking third as well. Sam Bartley was used all over the field.

Mt. Hebron finished the season with a record of 6-5-1.

“Overall, we had a group of hard working boys that really wanted to go out and compete whether it was practice or game day,” coach Kyle Farson said. “It turned out to be an injury-plagued season during a tough stretch of games that may have hindered the teams potential, but we are proud of the way we stayed competitive in those one-goal games.”

The sophomore duo of Vikas Thoti Reddy (eight goals) and Prakash Balasubranian (seven goals) were the leaders offensively, while captains Andy Strohman and Aadam Rahman controlled the tempo in the midfield. On defense, Brenden Demek provided a toughness and athleticism that helped carry the unit in the back.

The team’s season highlight was finishing out the year with two straight 5-0 victories.

Wilde Lake was led by captains Chris Bispels and Quinn Sutker on the way to a 5-4-2 overall record.

“The team grew tremendously through the season as they learned how to defend and attack as a team,” coach Ben Townsend said.

Goalie Michael Stralka showed great leadership in goal, while the defensive line featuring Bispels, Jack Moore, Lukas Julian and Gonzalo De La Riva was very strong as well.

The sophomore trio of Grant Gladden, David Lappi and Sutker offered strong support in the midfield, while utility players Jovani Harrison, Ethan Helicke and Lucas Michel did a little bit of everything as utility players.

Sophomores Douglass Martinez, Ousman Touray, Alan Ortiz and Berdini Paul were the Wildecats’ top forwards.

Girls Soccer

Under coach Cliff Walcott, Atholton finished the season with a 7-3-2 record and avenged both of last year’s losses against Mt. Hebron and Glenelg.

Freshman Sadie Saula led the team in points with five goals and four assists and was one of 14 Raiders’ players who found the back of the net this season. Captain Katie Morris, Amanda Chin, Jillian Duke, Molly Flynn and Nikki Tajaddini proved to be quality midfielders. Sadie Saula and Kim Munro played up top, while Mia Lazzari was a standout goalkeeper this season.

In 12 games, Atholton scored 27 goals and allowed 10.

“To expand their experience, I challenged individuals to try a different playing position sometimes,” Walcott said. “Hence, between practices and the first two or three games, various sightings of the all-important team bonding started to be evident.”

Centennial finished the season with a county record of 4-5-3 and an overall record of 4-5-4. Ten different players scored, with sophomore Olivia Antonelli leading the team with eight goals followed by sophomore Lindsey Han and freshman Tara Oh, who each scored five goals.

Freshmen Callie Lascasas and sophomore Brianna Fant as having strong presences in the midfield, winning 50/50 balls and connecting passes to the forwards to create offensive opportunities.

Sophomore Audrey Oaksmith, freshman Olivia Jackson and freshmen Rebecca Bianchini each spent time in goal. Together they had four shutouts. Freshmen Ellie Munoz, Audrey Hasson, Rend Nayfeh and Leanne Marcotte were strong and aggressive on the backline and limited offensive attacks.

“The Eagles always worked hard to strengthen their passing and quick ball movement and they always gave 100 percent,” coach Meagan Monfrida said.

Glenelg coach Vincente D’Antuono said his team had a “great year of soccer.” With a roster comprised of 15 freshmen and five sophomores, only two of whom returned from last season, the Gladiators finished with a record of 4-6-1.

Christine Rioux, Emily Robinson, Ava Montgomery, Darby Haynie and Ainsley Towle comprised the backline, while Priya Toot and Haley Markel each saw time in goal.

The midfield, meanwhile, was able to maintain possession and keep the defense and offense connected, D’Antuono said. Offensively, the Gladiators worked on different attacking strategies throughout the season.

‘The Glenelg girls junior varsity soccer team bonded well and will be able to build on their growth over the next four years,” D’Antuono said.

With eight players back from last season’s undefeated squad, Howard put together its second straight undefeated campaign this fall. With 12 freshmen and 10 sophomores, the Lions finished 8-0-1 in county play and 8-0-3 overall.

“This team is one of the most well-rounded group of players that I have coached ever, including coaching at the college level,” second-year coach Jessica McKay said. “Each player is capable of playing almost every position in the field, and I had choices in every position this season, which rarely happens as a coach.”

Led by sophomore captains Emily Elchynski and Erin Arnold, Howard outscored its opponents 25-5. Sophomore Julia Croft and freshman Kaitlyn Denicola paced the Lions with six goals apiece. In goal was freshman standout Katelyn Hertz.

Notable games during Howard’s undefeated run were a draw with Mt. Hebron and a win over Glenelg.

With a team comprised of two sophomores and the rest freshmen, Long Reach’s season was “purely about development,” coach Oliver Male said.

“For a lot of the girls, this was the first time they had played competitive soccer,” Male said. “Throughout the season, the girls started to grow into the games, and they had come leaps and bounds compared to when we first started at tryouts.”

Leading Long Reach was sophomore returner and captain Ryan Thomas, who Male said will “no doubt” make the jump to varsity next season. A season highlight for the Lightning was a 1-1 draw with Hammond.

Mt. Hebron dominated again this season, scoring 36 goals and securing eight shutouts en route to finishing undefeated in league play and 7-0-4 overall.

One of the biggest defensive highlights this season was the emergence of goalkeepers Eliana Klein and Kate Milano, who did not have previous goalkeeping experience.

Offensively, the Vikings averaged almost 3.5 goals per game. The freshmen trio of Katlyn “Bubba” Hanks, Adithi Arun and Lauren Gustafson provided much of the offensive firepower, combining for 17 goals and 15 assists this season. Meanwhile, captains Izzy Broccolino, Lucy Brouse and Amber Wartman kept the Vikings organized and constantly provided positivity and support for their teammates, Gibbons said.

“The best part of the year is seeing a new group of kids come together throughout the season, grow closer, get better and have a great time doing it,” coach Bob Gibbons said.

It was a year of progress for Oakland Mills under first-year coach David Watson. After scoring three goals the previous three seasons combined, the Scorpions matched that scoring total and won two games while generating further interest for the girls soccer program. The team finished 2-5-2 overall and 1-0-1 in county play.

The Scorpions’ top players were sophomore captain and two-year starting goalkeeper Ella Novak, freshman center attacking midfielder Abigail Or, freshman sweeper Cydney Epting and freshman midfielder Karina Alvarenga. The highlights of Oakland Mills’ season were earning a draw with Hammond after a lopsided home loss to Francis Scott Key and defeating Long Reach in its season finale.

“The last game of the season at Long Reach was our best game of the season,” Watson said. “The culmination of the overall growth and improvement of everyone on the team could be seen, and it was a great way to end the season, defeating an in-county rival 2-0.

Reservoir showed constant improvement throughout the season on its way to finishing 3-5-2 in county play and 4-5-2 overall this fall.

Sophomore captain Sophia Cinotti was responsible for more than half of the Gators’ points, finishing the season with 10 goals and four assists. Joining her with high productivity were the other two captains, sophomores Reagan Bouie (two goals, one assist) and Maggie Scicchitano (four goals, three assists). Sophomore Sabrina Zaleski controlled the middle of the field and freshman striker Kathleen Thayer led the team with five assists to go along with three goals.

“Our two goalkeepers, Teodora Consoli and Madison Roberts, compiled 47 and 39 saves, respectively, and we were very fortunate to have one of our freshman, Katelyn Herberholz, do flip throws for us that also gave us opportunities to score,” Gators coach Wendell Thomas said.

It was a promising season for River Hill under first-year coach Amy Weinberg, as the Hawks finished 6-2-2 in county play.

Minnah Uddin was the team’s strongest player, Weinberg said. She served as the primary playmaker and was involved in every scoring opportunity, even as a defender. The top scorers were speedster Ara Omitowoju and Libby Kitzinger, who led the Hawks in points. Molly Maloney and Oriel Ockerman headlined the defense. Some notable wins were over Centennial, which was undefeated at the time, and against Atholton.

“They always were pushing each other to get better every day and showed great team chemistry,” Weinberg said.

A versatile attack and solid defense helped Wilde Lake go 5-4-3 overall this season.

Eleven of the Wildecats’ 19 players found the back of the net, helping the Wildecats outscore their opponents, 28-10. Freshmen Gabi Olibris and Hannah Lowry led the team with seven goals apiece. Other notable contributors were sophomores Abby Young and Josie Pittman.

“I am very proud of my team's growth this season,” coach Kristyn Neubauer said. “We kept our focus on improving our skills, having fun, and taking it one game at a time. The team was full of talent this year, but our biggest assets were our work ethic and team chemistry.”

Field Hockey

Despite having just six sophomores, Centennial and its 15 freshman helped put together a 5-3-3 campaign this fall.

Five players scored at least three goals for the Eagles, with forwards Emma Bush (five goals, two assists) and Sarah Arcuri (four goals, five assists) leading the way. Defensively, goalkeeper Bridget Thompson had a “superb” season in the cage, according to coach Stephen Doff.

“Every member of this team played a key role during the 2018 season,” Doff said.

Some season highlights included wins over Mt. Hebron and ties against Liberty, Glenelg and Marriotts Ridge. Coming off a three-game losing streak, Centennial earned a 1-0 upset win over the Vikings.

Captains Anna Towle and Emily Baker were a few standout players for Glenelg, which finished the season 2-2-6.

Towle, a sophomore midfielder and in her first year with the program, created many offensive opportunities while also being the feeder on corners. Baker played center forward, and the freshman led the Gladiators with three goals and two assists. Other top players were sophomore defensive midfielder Phebe Frost and freshman midfielder Madeline Key.

Glenelg’s season highlights came in a win against Fallston and two-goal comeback versus Centennial. The Gladiators would ultimately fall short, but Abel was pleased with the fight and skillset displayed in the contest.

“This 2018 fall team was young and new in the sport of hockey, working intensely throughout preseason into the season without giving up,” Abel said. “Glenelg worked hard, sometimes coming up short and sometimes finally getting the reward of what it felt like to win and be successful.”

What Hammond (2-7) lacked in experience, it made up for with hard work and determination.

The Golden Bears’ top players were Sophia Caci, Tova Chertok, Feben Abiy and Nadia Quartley, who all played on JV last year and have made “remarkable progress” since then, coach Ryan Fuentes said. They all served as role models and leaders, Fuentes added. Particularly impressive was Caci, who Fuentes said stood out with her tireless commitment to field hockey and constant communication, both in practices and games.

The biggest highlight of the season was when Hammond secured its first win of the season.

“To have a team of girls, where the majority have never picked up a field hockey stick, win a game was a proud moment as a coach,” Fuentes said. “They were so supportive and encouraging of one another, and their hard works was shown in that win.”

It was yet another undefeated county season for Howard, which won all nine of its league games and finished 9-1 overall.

Leading the Lions in scoring were captain Livia Carmody (four goals four assists), Natalie Gobell (eight goals, three assists). Kaitlyn Motsco (five goals, one assist) and Alyssa Gorny (four goals, two assists). Madison Anthony, Katie Baur and Tori McArthur were the other team captains.

Other standout players were defenders Tori McArthur and Lila O'Connor and goalkeeper Rachel Murphy, who allowed two goals over 10 games.

“This group of 19 girls worked together and grew each week, sweeping the county and only giving up two goals the entire season,” Earle said.

Long Reach was a team comprised mostly of players who have never played field hockey before, but coach Jorden Lim said each member was focused and determined to learn the sport as well as how to work together as a team.

The Lightning had four returning starters who Lim referred to as standouts this season: captains Skylar Kohler (forward), Hannah Menasria (midfield), Lily Deitch (defense), and Daryan Allmond (goalie). It was clear they put in extra work in the offseason to improve their skills, Lim added, and they were also crucial in helping the new players.

“One of the best moments was our last game of the season against Hammond,” Lim said. “The team just clicked when it came to passing, making plays, and strategically playing the game These skills take time, especially with brand new players, and I was so proud of the girls.”

It was a “fun and great season” for Mt. Hebron and coach Kelly Jones. The Vikings, who had six returning players and nine freshmen, struggled to score, which hindered their overall record, but Jones said her players’ development was exemplary.

“I thoroughly enjoyed coaching these girls every day with practices and games,” Jones said. “Our first win came against Marriotts Ridge, which came down to the very last minute. It was a hard-fought game and I’m glad we got the win at the end.”

Sophomores Anastasia Salem and Tessa Byrum and freshman Riley Malwitz, among others, helped Reservoir win four games this fall.

Salem was a “fierce forward,” according to coach Megan Maloney, and the team’s leading scorer with eight goals. Byrum, meanwhile, played center defense and was one of the Gators’ leaders on the field, Maloney added. As for Malwitz, who never played field hockey before, Maloney said her freshman has the natural athletic ability for field hockey and picked up the sport very quickly. Reservoir’s biggest highlight from this season was a 3-0 triumph over Glenelg.

“My team might not have won every game, but we always put up a hard fight against every team this year,” Maloney said. “We didn’t let any team score over four goals against us in a game. I had a very hard working team this year, and they always came together as a team every single game.”

River Hill finished the season with an overall record of 4-4-2 and 3-1-2 in county.

Leading players were Quill Alewine, Claire Slade, and Allie Young controlling the midfield and front line, and holding the defense together were Karmjit Barring, Lindsay Garnish, Amber Cummings and Kate Conlon. The Hawks’ biggest wins were 2-0 results against Mt. Hebron and Centennial.

“This team showed hard work and growth through a tough fall with the heat and the rain,” coach Marni Rosenbaum said.

Wilde Lake continued to see growth and development from its sophomores and freshmen, coach Nancy Stefan said.

Anchoring the team were its five returning sophomores: Sara Amin, Gina Wilson, Meriam Salehi, Victoria Stralka and Logan Bitner-Parish. Their leadership and guidance of the new team members, Stefan added, was an invaluable weapon to the team’s improvement this season. The Wildecats also showed a rise in goal scoring this season and added to their defensive skills.

“This year’s freshman class introduced 11 new Wildecats, many new to the sport of field hockey,” Stefan said. “They quickly proved themselves to be tough competitors. Many players learned multiple positions on the field this year, which allowed the JV to try different lineup strategies as the season progressed.”

Volleyball

It was a top-half finish in the county for Atholton, which finished with an overall record of 9-5. Captained by sophomores Claire Kelly, Anna Munro and Jackie Romo, the Raiders concluded the season on a four-match winning streak.

“This season’s JV continually improved as coach moved players around to establish the season’s lineup,” coach Rob Moy said.

Munro led the team in assists with 147, while freshmen Kyndall Mason (64 kills) and sophomore Caitlin McMahon (45) led the way in kills. Kelly He (25), Natasha Rajarajan (24), Claire Kelly (18), Alexis Thaxton (14) and Camille Lewis (9) added critical kills as well throughout the season.

Romo led the defensive charge with 48 digs, while Katie McNab (16), Sydney Goodman (14) and Cailin Brady (10) also were strong in that area.

It was a season of transition for Centennial, which finished 3-11 overall and played through five different starting lineups. The team saw Emily Riley, Logan Maxwell and Marielle Jong all promoted to varsity.

Aggressive serving from Sophia Yang (35 aces) and Aaliyah Antoigue (20) helped lead the team. Jess Torres (33 percent) and Yan Yang (32 percent) had the team’s top ace percentages, while Logan Maxwell (100 percent), Yan Yang (96 percent) and Riley (93 percent) were the most consistent servers.

Antoigue finished with a team-high 63 assists, helping set up the Eagles’ leaders in kill Kendall Kreidel and Sydney Thomas. Sophia Yang and Antoigue led the team in defensive digs, while Ashley Hix, Yan Yang and Maxwell led the team in serve receive stats.

“It was a pleasure working with this group of hard-working student athletes this season,” said coach Bill Shook, who completed his 14th season with Centennial volleyball this fall.

Glenelg finished with an overall record of 7-7 (4-7 in county) with a team “comprised of a mixture of seasoned club players and new players who weren’t familiar with the nuances of a competitive game,” according to coach Michelle D’Ascenzo.

“During the first half of the season a lot of time was spent in developing the newer players in order to capitalize on the strength of our more-seasoned athletes. Unfortunately, our season ended just as we were beginning to gel and see some consistent success,” she added.

Freshman libero Sydney Yoon and sophomore setter Alyssa Cutroneo were both instrumental as leaders and with their strong play. “Sydney’s passing skill was typically unmatched by any opponent and Alyssa’s head for the game made her an invaluable asset on the court,” D’Ascenzo said.

Sophomore middle Gabbie Tolbert showed great growth and developed into one of the Gladiators’ top servers.

Hammond finished with a winning record of 9-7 under coach Kasey Quinn. The Golden Bears earned big wins over Centennial, Glenelg and Oakland Mills.

Jenna Kreh was a team leader across the board with 41 aces, 70 assists and 35 digs. Kaylee Beahm (44 assists and 31 aces), Kaylee Hernandez (55 digs), Mayoli Feliho (8 blocks) and India Robinson (6 blocks) were statistical leaders as well.

Allison Haines, Erin Peters and Jaylie Thomas consistently led the team’s offense.

“The Lady Bears fought hard to realize their individual and team goals, supporting one another both on and off the court,” Quinn said.

It was a successful season for Howard, which finished 8-3 in county play and 11-3 overall.

“Overall, it was a very successful season with a great group of athletes who were passionate about playing the game,” coach Allison Ose said. “The team improved a lot over the season and learned how to play the game at a quick tempo and developed more advanced skills.”

Sophomore outside hitter Kylie O’Connor led the team with 36 aces and 56 kills. Sophomore Gigi Frederickson had seven blocks and 25 kills to lead the middle hitters, while sophomore libero Kathy Taveras led the defense with 83 digs.

Freshman setter Ayannah Pharaoh was the Lions’ leader in assists with 116.

Among the season highlights was an early-season match against Arundel, where the team lost in three sets but built a tremendous amount of chemistry according to Ose. After losing the first set, 25-23, the Lions regrouped to take the second set, 25-23, before ultimately falling just short, 15-13, in the third set.

Marriotts Ridge was one of the top county squads this fall, finishing with a record of 12-2.

Sophomore Esther Kim was a leader and contributor across the board with 16 aces, 10 kills, 17 digs and three assists. “She’s a strong defensive player that can also be used to play all the way around,” coach Emma Dawe said. “She’s also a natural leader who can pick up an entire gym with her cheers and stays focused in tight games.”

Freshman Manasvi Mamilla was another strong player at libero, with 22 aces and 42 digs. Sophomores Kaya Shah (24 aces, 32 kills and 15 digs) and Caroline Kahl (52 assists, 6 aces, 3 kills, 2 digs) were consistent performers all season as well.

While there were no wins for Oakland Mills (0-14), coach Kendall Pierson said there was success in other areas.

“Our team was resilient and worked so hard this year. They gave 100 percent of their effort every day in practice toward progressing our program,” she said. “Although we had no official wins, we played extremely competitive in most games and kept pace with teams that have much more experience.”

Ana Seldon excelled as the Scorpions’ setter, also leading the way in serving and as a defensive presence. Maya Vereen was the team’s libero and contributed with her strong defense and leadership.

Reservoir put together an 8-3 county record and also went 10-0 during the Westlake Invitational Tournament.

Sophomore outside hitter Natalie McDuffie averaged almost five kills a match and stood out as a leader. Sophomore middle hitter Shelby Reed led the way in blocks and kills, while freshmen setter Maddie Wilson was tops on the team in assists and service points.

Overall, though, contributions came from everyone on the roster.

“This was a very strong group, all 12 players on this team contributed each and every game,” coach Carol Ferrante said. “They were very dedicated, hard working and driven to accomplish the team goals they set forth at the beginning of the season.”

Ferrante added that the team put together a strong showing at its JV play day during the preseason and it carried over into the rest of the year.

“It was amazing to see the girls realize what they were going to be capable of. From that moment forward, they moved full steam ahead and were like sponges,” she said.

Led by team captains Sydney Shin and Swetha Sethuraj, River Hill ended up having a perfect 13-0 season.

Donya Saghafi was the team’s most consistent server, going on runs of more than seven consecutive serves in multiple games. Abby Chicorelli and Sarah Gezewich led the team in blocks and each had three blocks in the final game of the season.

Rebecca Lee, Zoe Fray, Ella Wood and Kelsey Allen worked as defensive specialists.

On offense, Sydney Alexander led the team in kills at the net, while Grace Pavalko was the go-to-player for back-row attacks.

Victoria Zhang and Anna Liu were versatile and provided strong sets either right side at the net or in the back row.

Wilde Lake improved as the season progressed, suffering some tough losses early on before regrouping to finish with a 4-8 record.

“My girls became more and more motivated each day. They came to practice firing off and ready to work as hard as they could to better themselves and our team,” coach Kelly Vieira said. “Our team was made up of goofy, eccentric, loving and dedicated women.”

Vieira added that many of the team’s losses came in the third set of games decided by just a few points.

Ella Twumasi was one of the Wildecats’ captains and leaders on the court, racking up 45 kills, 58 digs, 21 aces and 68 perfect serve receive passes. Freshman setter Veronica Goode stepped up as a rotation player and totalled 59 assists, 16 digs, 38 aces and 15 perfect receive passes.

Freshman libero Morgan Baird excelled in the back row by digging the ball 61 times, serving 33 aces and having 60 perfect receive passes. Alisa Drake added 42 kills, 18 digs and 20 aces to the team totals.

Reach Brent Kennedy at bkennedy@baltsun.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports

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