Player of the Year
Laurie Schwoy, McDonogh, senior, forward: The numbers -- as staggering as they have grown in the past four years -- are only the start of what Schwoy and her incredible soccer skills have brought to McDonogh, the metro area and the entire state of Maryland.
"She's just a phenom, a once-in-a-lifetime player," said McDonogh coach Maurice Boylan Jr. "Every time she touched the ball something exciting happened. She had the ability to make something out of nothing."
Schwoy earned All-American status for a third straight year as the top player in the state, finishing with 42 goals and 20 assists to lead a young McDonogh team to a 17-3-2 mark. The striker closed out her four-year career with 188 goals and 78 assists. The Eagles had a 74-6-5 record in the four years with two Catholic League titles and became a regular fixture in the national rankings, reaching as high as No. 3 in the country last year.
Her next stop is the University of North Carolina, where she earned a full scholarship to play soccer. Only three other players -- Mia Hamm, Christine Lilly, and Tisha Venturini -- have received full scholarships to the school that has won 13 of the past 14 NCAA Division I women's soccer titles.
So what has separated Schwoy from the rest and included her in such elite company? "She's the most driven athlete I've ever coached," said Boylan. "She's so competitive and has such a tremendous work rate. She has a penchant for perfection."
First team at a glance
Jamie Baier, South Carroll, senior, defense: Whatever South Carroll needed during its 12-0 regular season and run to the region finals, Baier provided it at stopper. A fine defender who also got the Cavalier offense started with her ability to distribute from the back, Baier finished the season with four goals and four assists. When the Cavaliers were awarded a late second-half penalty kick in a tie game against rival Liberty, Baier finished to give the Cavs a 2-1 win and send them on their way to the perfect regular season. The co-captain, a four-year varsity player, simply did everything well with a smooth all-around game. The Cavaliers relied on her leadership as much as her abilities and she always responded.
Beth Blasi, Fallston, senior, forward: When Blasi wasn't scoring, she was finding open teammates, finishing the season with 24 goals and adding 17 assists to lead the Cougars to a 15-1 mark. The Harford County Co-Player of the Year, Blasi had all the attributes of a fine striker -- the ability to settle in traffic, beat a defender and finish strong or set up a teammate. She often made it look easy, overcoming double-teams with her speed, fine ball skills and creativity. Fallston outscored its opponents, 88-2, with Blasi in on almost half of the Cougars' scoring. The three-time All-Harford first-team selection closed out her career with 59 goals and 37 assists.
Shannon Chaney, Severna Park, senior, goalkeeper: The Anne Arundel County Player of the Year, Chaney posted incredible numbers for the Falcons (16-1-2) in her four-year career. She capped it with an 11-save effort against Centennial in a 0-0 double-overtime tie to earn the Falcons a share of the Class 3A-4A state championship. At 5-11, it was difficult enough to get anything past Chaney and she made it tougher by aggressively coming out of the goal when needed. She allowed just three goals the entire season and had 15 shutouts to boost her career total to 49. Chaney was also a fine field player, scoring two goals in limited time up front. She will attend Duke University on a lacrosse scholarship and plans to try out for the soccer team as a walk-on.
Ginny Dye, Oakland Mills, senior, forward: An overwhelming majority of the Scorpions' offense started or ended with Dye, who was able to create for teammates as well as finish on her own. Her nine goals and eight assists led Oakland Mills to the Class 1A-2A state title and earned her All-Metro first-team honors for a second straight year. The four-year starter had an assist in each of the last four playoff games. As a junior, Dye scored 21 goals and had 12 assists. She always seemed to find a way to score when the Scorpions needed it most. It was never more evident than last season when she scored six times in the playoffs to lead the team to the state finals, providing them with valuable experience for this year's state championship.
Nicole Froman, Loch Raven, junior, defense: The Raiders' sweeper has spent plenty of time on the All-Metro page, repeating as a first-teamer from last year after making the second team as a freshman. Her speed and anticipation continually frustrated opposing forwards and, at 5-9, she also was very strong in the air. She often dominated to help the Raiders record eight shutouts. Her excellent field sense and ability to work the ball out of the back got the Raiders' offense started. Froman's long throw and cannon shot were big weapons in the Raiders' attack as she finished the season with four goals and seven assists.