COACH OF THE YEAR
* P. J. Kesmodel, Mount Hebron -- In his 20th season of coaching lacrosse, Kesmodel had one of his most rewarding seasons, guiding the Vikings to their fourth consecutive Howard County championship and third straight state title. After losing five Division I scholarship players from his loaded 1993 team, Kesmodel had to rebuild, especially on defense, where the Vikings were wiped out by graduation. Making a three-peat seem even more unlikely, Mount Hebron was no longer in Class 1A/2A, where they had won back-to-back titles. They had moved up to Class 3A/4A, where the competition was even tougher overall. The Vikings suffered a loss to Mount de Sales in early April that ended a 37-game winning streak. But after that, the Vikings steadily built into another state championship team. Finishing 16-2, their only other loss was to Roland Park, 11-10. Although an anticipated showdown with four-time defending Class 3A/4A champ Severna Park never materialized, the Vikings put together an impressive 16-9 victory over Annapolis, which had upset Severna Park in the regional final. Then, Hebron rolled over Dulaney, 19-8, in the title game. "This was more satisfying because a lot of people thought we wouldn't get here, including me probably," said Kesmodel after the championship game. "We weren't supposed to win this year, but I've never had a team improve this much." In seven years at Mount Hebron, Kesmodel's teams have won six county titles and seven regional championships. His career record is 49-1 against Howard County competition and 98-11 overall.
FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Lynette Chastant, Mount Hebron, Jr., midfield -- An explosive attacker with a quick first step, Chastant came up big in the playoffs. She scored 15 goals in the four regional and state playoff games. Although a solid midfield defender, attack is her forte. She switches hands well and shoots the ball hard at the right angles. Shin splints slowed her early and forced her to sit out three games, but she finished with 35 goals and five assists.
* Kim Driessen, Wilde Lake, Sr., attack -- The four-year starter made a strong move from center to first home, where she used her quickness to baffle the defense. Fast, aggressive and effective with both hands, Driessen scored 56 goals and had six assists to lead the 7-7 Wildecats in scoring. A strong all-around player with Division I talent, Driessen will play for Division III Bowdoin next year.
* Laura Foerster, Howard, Jr., defense -- The center of the county's most improved team, Foerster provided the key midfield connections for the Lions, who finished 7-5 after not winning a game the year before. With good speed, Foerster could mark well and come up with the ground balls and interceptions. Although primarily a defensive-minded midfielder, she also added some scoring punch with 33 goals and 17 assists.
* Julie Kickham, Mount Hebron, Soph., defense -- The best athlete among the Vikings, Kickham switched from midfield to her natural position at third man. With her quickness and good timing, she could pick up a breaking attack player and force her wide of the goal. She also could mark tight and proved nearly impossible to shake. With good speed and anticipation, Kickham also came up with about three interceptions a game.
* Chantal Loomis, Centennial, Sr., goalie -- Loomis' career in the goal lasted only 20 games;, nevertheless, she proved the most consistent keeper in the county. Although she never had time to develop her technique, Loomis managed to save 224 shots in 14 games. Not afraid to challenge the attackers, Loomis, who volunteered to move into the cage last season, got better with each game.
* Lindsay McCaskill, Hammond, Sr., attack -- A smart shooter who proved excellent at rebounding her own shots, McCaskill led the Bears with 52 goals. With a tough cradle to check, she dodged well in traffic to go to goal. If she couldn't get her shot, McCaskill was patient enough to go behind and feed her teammates, contributing 19 assists. She could play midfield, too, and often proved a key to the transition game.
* Erin McGinnis, Mount Hebron, Jr., midfield -- At center, McGinnis controlled most of the draws for the Vikings, especially in the playoffs. Lethal on transition, she often used her speed to run off the draw and score. She finished third on the team in scoring with 52 goals and 13 assists. Tough to stop, McGinnis could maneuver out of traffic to get her shot. She is one of only three repeat first-teamers.
* Nicole McGowan, Mount Hebron, Sr., midfield -- A versatile midfielder, McGowan dominated loose balls all over the field. Patient on attack, she never forced things, often taking the ball behind to set up the offense. But she could go to goal when she got the openings. Her explosive speed and a good shot helped her score 17 goals and add five assists. Next year, she will play at Delaware.