The four teams that dominated county competition all season also dominated The Howard County Sun's All-County Girls Soccer Team.
Howard edged out Oakland Mills for the most first-team positions, 4-3.
Hammond and Centennial each have two.
But Oakland Mills, the county and regional Class 3A champion that lost in the state Class 3A/4A final to Severna Park, has both the Player of the Year, Mia Dammen, and the Coach of the Year, Cindy Odell.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Aggressive. Determined. Intelligent. Skilled. They all describe Player of the Year Mia Dammen, who more than any other player in county history could totally control a soccer game.
She was just like having a playing coach because she directed her teammates whenever she spotted a weakness.
Opposing teams generally marked her, unless they felt it was just hopeless. When they did mark her, she usually tore apart her marker.
Dammen could have excelled at any position, but played mostly midfield.
Occasionally, when she was injured or ill or the opposing team devised a strategy to slow her team down, usually by double-teaming her, she would move to forward. This would free up the midfield and give talented teammate Stefanie Magro more room to operate.
When a game was on the line, Dammen repeatedly rallied the team to victory. She was remarkable to watch.
She was also an unselfish player who wanted only for her team to win.
Dammen scored 11 goals and had 10 assists, a balance indicative of her versatility.
One of her greatest games came against Howard in a league match Oct. 5.
The Scorpions had lost their first two non-league games to Howard and Severna Park and were facing elimination from the playoffs if they lost again.
The Scorpions fell behind quickly to a fired-up Lions team and trailed at halftime, 3-1.
Dammen rallied the team in the second half to a 4-3 victory, scoring three goals in the game, including the game-winner. It was vintage Mia Dammen.
She also had the game-winning goal in the 78th minute of a 1-0 must-win victory over archrival Centennial.
Dammen played four seasons of varsity competition. Her team won the county title every year.
She was second-team all-county as a freshman, and first-team ever since.
She was selected first-team all-state by the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer this year. And she was chosen first-team all-Met by The Sun.
Her career totals were 40 goals and 32 assists.
Dammen carries a 3.89 grade-point average in advanced course work, and is trying to decide among Brown, Princeton, Duke and Harvard.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The Howard County Sun's Coach of the Year, Cindy Odell, has had a difficult but exciting fall. Some might call it a highly stressful fall.
Her soccer team rallied from a slow start and made it to the state finals, but lost. Her Toyota Four Runner was stolen off the Oakland Mills parking lot with all of her grades while she was coaching a game at Glenelg.
When it was finally found, minus the grades, it had received a lot of damage. And she recently moved into a new house. That alone would be stress enough for one year.
After losing their first two games, the Scorpions won their next 13 before losing to Severna Park in the state final, 2-1.
Along the way, they claimed their fifth straight county title and their seventh since Odell began coaching in 1979.
During that time, the team's record is 123-29-9, and it has won six post-season titles, including the Bi-County in 1982 and 1983, the Central Maryland Region in 1986 and 1987 and the state region in 1989 and 1990.
That's not a bad record for someone who didn't know anything about soccer until she came to Columbia in 1978 to teach Spanish.
"My son, Brooks, started playing soccer, so I got interested," Odell said. "I grew up in an athletic family in Cuba, and ran track and played basketball as a teen-ager."
After the revolution in Cuba, her father, Ray Prado, an American business executive, moved the family back home.
Odell graduated from Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., and began a teaching career that led her to Georgia and Florida before finally settling in Maryland.
"I was supposed to coach the tennis team at Oakland Mills, but took too long making up my mind and someone else got that job," she said. "Then they needed a soccer coach, so I took that."
She also began to play some soccer in an adult league.
The 46-year-old credits her father for her successful career. "He preached that there were no boundaries to what we could accomplish, and I have tried to teach that to my players."
Her daughter, Kit Carson, was The Howard County Sun's Player of the Year last year, and is now playing soccer at the University of Arkansas.
"It's been a real family effort, because my husband, Barry, does all of the cooking during soccer season," Odell said.
Goalkeeper Krista Fulton of Howard, a junior, gave up just 11 goals and made 83 saves. She was first-team all-county last year also.