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2019 All-Metro girls soccer Coach of the Year: Matt Smoot, Perry Hall

After graduating a class filled with game-changing players that keyed the program’s first state crown last year, the No. 4 Perry Hall girls soccer team (12-6) needed to reinvent itself.

It took time. The Gators started 1-3 and were 4-6 past the midway point of the season. But, in the end, Perry Hall became the first Baltimore-area team to win consecutive state titles in Class 4A since the MPSSAA started playing title games in all four classifications in 1998.

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Coach Matt Smoot was impressive in meshing the team’s talent and pushing the right buttons. On offense, he got younger players up to speed and confident as two sophomores and a freshman finished as the team’s top scorers. At midseason, he put most of his experienced players in back, led by two-time All-Metro standout Aya Neal, and they produced four shutouts in the postseason.

Fittingly, after 100 minutes of scoreless play against No. 5 Severna Park in the title game, the Gators banked on their senior leaders, with Neal and fellow backs Caroline Rosenthal and Caroline Warns all scoring penalty kicks before forward Erin Marciszewski put away the deciding one for the 4-3 shootout victory.

Smoot, who is 79-27-1 in six seasons, praised the work of his assistants Todd Donovan, Rick Townley and Terry Nolan.

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