Metro-area pro­grams hope to build on ’15 ti­tle sweep

Public schools’ feat 1st since ’98; McDonogh was per­fect

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Glenn Gra­ham

The 2016 girls soc­cer sea­son in the metro area cer­tainly has a tough act to fol­low.

Last sea­son, peren­nial na­tional power McDonogh kept rolling in the In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land’s A Con­fer­ence, win­ning its t hird straight cham­pi­onship and fin­ish­ing 12-0 to com­plete its sec­ond straight per­fect sea­son as the metro area’s top-ranked team.

The top four public schools fol­lowed with an un­prece­dented ac­com­plish­ment.

For the first time since the Mary­land Public Sec­ondary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion be­gan play­ing sep­a­rate ti­tle games for all four clas­si­fi­ca­tions in 1998, metro-area teams swept the cham­pi­onships.

No. 2 Spar­rows Point went 17-0 to claim its third straight Class 1A crown; No. 3 Bel Top 15 poll with out­looks for each team; play­ers to watch; key num­bers

“The mes­sage as a coach is to be in­cred­i­bly proud of what was ac­com­plished as a team last year, but to re­al­ize that this year is a dif­fer­ent team and we’re start­ing from square one. If we want to main­tain that level of suc­cess we have to re-earn it from the get-go.”

Air also en­joyed a per­fect sea­son, go­ing 19-0 to take Class 3A; No. 4 Broad­neck was un­beaten at 16-0-3 to win Class 4A; and No. 5 Fall­ston went 18-1, los­ing only to Bel Air, to cap­ture Class 2A.

The metro area’s top five teams com­bined to go 82-1-3 last sea­son.

“Last year was in­cred­i­bly spe­cial and it was fun to watch the other teams be suc­cess­ful be­cause it shows the high level of com­pe­ti­tion we play,” said Bel Air coach Josh Clem­mer. “In soc­cer, you can’t ask a team at the be­gin­ning of the year, ‘Let’s go un­de­feated and win the state cham­pi­onship’ be­cause it’s such a fickle game where one bounce or goal can change an en­tire game. A lot of things have to go your way.”

With that in mind, Clem­mer is ap­proach­ing this sea­son as­sum­ing that it’s a dif­fer­ent team with a clean slate. That means more hard work and hop­ing the for­tu­nate bounces con­tinue.

“The mes­sage as a coach is to be in­cred­i­bly proud of what was ac­com­plished as a team last year, but to re­al­ize that this year is a dif­fer­ent team and we’re start­ing from square one,” he said. “If we want to main­tain that level of suc­cess we have to re-earn it from the get-go — from try­outs to, hope­fully, the cham­pi­onship game. And you have to earn every goal, every save and every win along the way.”

The bonus for all five of last year’s cham­pi­onship teams is they have re­turn­ing play­ers with cham­pi­onship ex­pe­ri­ence.

McDonogh once again opens the sea­son as the No. 1 team and a fa­vorite to win its fourth straight IAAM A Con­fer­ence crown. But the Ea­gles lost key pieces — most no­tably the dy­namic scor­ing duo of Bridg-

This week’s pre­views

boys soc­cer cross coun­try field hockey, vol­ley­ball foot­ball

Var­sity Let­ters

For news, re­sults and commentary on high school sports, go to bal­ti­more­sun.com/var­sitylet­ters

Josh Clem­mer, coach of Class 3A cham­pion Bel Air

ette An­drze­jew­ski and Kia Rankin, who grad­u­ated, and fel­low All-Metro pick Kori Lock­sley, who moved away — to pro­vide more hope for league ri­vals Arch­bishop Spald­ing, Notre Dame Prep and oth­ers. Se­niors Marissa Vin­cent and Jenna So­ri­ano will be counted on to pro­vide lead­er­ship and sopho­more Julia Dorsey be­comes the Ea­gles’ go-to scorer with plenty of sur­round­ing tal­ent.

At Broad­neck, can the Bru­ins top last year’s sea­son, which pro­duced the pro­gram’s first state crown? Coach John Camm thinks there’s a chance.

They have se­nior lead­er­ship led by All-Metro stand­outs Hai­ley Small and Mad­die Bra­gaw; a sopho­more class with five play­ers that com­bined to score 25 goals as fresh­men; and an­other fine fresh­man class.

“In 2015, we just put it all to­gether, played our best soc­cer in the end and played some great teams and man­aged to stay ahead of them,” Camm said. “In 2016, if we can keep the same in­ten­sity and fo­cus, I think we can be even a lit­tle bet­ter.”

Fall­ston coach Mark Han­nahs has nine starters back, in­clud­ing a strong se­nior class lead­ing the way. He has a plan to mo­ti­vate his team, start­ing with more in­tense fitness train­ing. In the first team meet­ing this sum­mer, his mes­sage was clear.

“I told them that we haven’t ac­com­plished any­thing yet and that was last year’s team,” he said. “And I did men­tion that there has never been a Har­ford County [soc­cer] pro­gram — male or fe­male — that has won two straight state cham­pi­onships. For the se­niors, you can go out as a team that won two in a row. We’re go­ing to push you and push you and af­ter that, it’s up to you.”

Bel Air, which beat Fall­ston, 1-0, last sea­son to claim Har­ford County brag­ging rights, also would like to be the first to make it two in a row. The Bob­cats grad­u­ated key play­ers from last year’s team, but be­lieve they have the mak­ing for an­other spe­cial sea­son. Carolyn Do­heny, a ju­nior mid­fielder in her third var­sity sea­son, is one of sev­eral play­ers ex­pected to step into a lead­er­ship role. The Bob­cats had nine se­niors grad­u­ate. Can they match the 2015 sea­son? “I think it’s go­ing to be re­ally tough, but, in a way, it re­ally helps be­cause we know what we have to do,” Do­heny said. “We­have all these slots to fill, but there’s so many kids com­ing up that want to fill them and are work­ing re­ally hard to put in the ef­fort to help the team. I think them see­ing howhard we worked last year will ben­e­fit our team this year.”

Strong youth feeder pro­grams have been para­mount in each team’s suc­cess and Spar­rows Point will de­pend on new tal­ent this year. Af­ter claim­ing their third straight state ti­tle, the Point­ers’ most pro­lific class grad­u­ated — eight starters and 13 in all. Kasie Lam­bert, one of three se­niors, will be leaned on heav­ily to bring the largely new nu­cleus to­gether. The team got a head start play­ing to­gether in the sum­mer.

“I think it’s go­ing to be a learning process be­cause we’re very young,” Do­heny said. “There’s a few of us still out there [from last year’s team], so hope­fully the young play­ers can see how we act to­ward each other and fol­low. It’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be tougher. But I think once we get into the swing of things — getting try­outs over with and hav­ing our team to­gether — we’ll be fine.”

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