All-Howard County: Boys soccer

Player of the Year

Jake Pace, River Hill

Pace put an exclamation point on an outstanding season with the game-winning goal in overtime that gave the Hawks the Class 2A state championship - a header off a corner kick in which he got higher than the rest. At 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds, Pace was a dominating figure as a defensive midfielder for the Hawks, also bringing good speed and fine touch.


He began the season as the team's primary target up front, but it was soon apparent that his skills were more needed in the middle of the field. There, he let little get past him on the ground or in the air, and also helped the Hawks in their possession game with fine distribution.

"He was just dominant," River Hill coach Matt Shagogue said. "You look at his size, and he's intimidating. And then you think with that size he can't move very well, but he does. He worked hard, won all the balls in the middle and constantly sent great through balls."


Pace, who is also a standout wrestler, is a member of the Olympic Development Program's regional team.

Coach of the Year

Matt Shagogue, River Hill

The Class 2A state champion Hawks (16-4) challenged themselves with a tough early schedule, falling to private school powers McDonogh and Archbishop Curley amid a 1-4 start. Looking back, Shagogue wouldn't have had it any other way.

"The bumps early in the season made us a stronger team. We just decided to take it one day at a time and we'll get through things," said Shagogue, in his second season.

The Hawks rattled off 15 straight wins, capped by the program's eighth state championship with a 3-2 overtime win against Loch Raven. Developing an inexperienced defense and moving All-Metro junior Jake Pace from forward to center midfield were two keys to the Hawks' successful run. A teacher at Reservoir, Shagogue spent time as an assistant coach at Archbishop Spalding and Reservoir before the head coaching job at River Hill opened up two years ago when Bill Stara, the state's winningest coach, stepped down after leading the program to seven state titles.


Varsity Highlights


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Paul Killian, Marriotts Ridge, junior, goalie; Daniel Koch, Reservoir, junior, goalie; J.T. Bowers, River Hill, senior, defense; David Janati, Oakland Mills, junior, defense; Jake Pace, River Hill, junior, defense; Abbas Ebrahimnejad, Hammond, senior, mid field; Cory Marcon, Oakland Mills, senior, midfield; Phil Martinelli, Marriotts Ridge, junior, midfield; Garrett Nickles, Mount Hebron, senior, midfield; Eric Oates, Centennial, senior, midfield; Josh Chellah, Long Reach, junior, forward; Jon Talbot, River Hill, sophomore, forward.



B Conference: Kelson McAuliffe, Glenelg Country School; Connor McAuliffe, Glenelg Country School; Fif Badaki, Glenelg Country School; Jim Becker, Chapelgate; Mike Lovaas, Chapelgate; Chris Carlson, Chapelgate; Jeff Yahiro, Chapelgate; Alex Kriete, Chapelgate.


: Player and Coach of the Year were selected by Glenn Graham after consultation with

The Sun

staff and area coaches. The public schools team was selected by the Columbia Flier after consultation with county coaches. The MIAA team was selected through voting by the league's coaches.