Player of the Year
Rob Witte, South Carroll, Sr., attack: The Cavaliers attacker set new standards in the county this season with his 61 goals and 15 assists. His ability to move without the ball to separate himself from would-be defenders and the fact that his left-hand shot was as strong as his right hand was a lethal combination. Surrounded by more established, experienced players last season, Witte quietly scored 35 goals and added 11 assists to make first-team all-county honors in his first varsity season. This year, he stepped up even more. "He was absolutely incredible," said South Carroll coach Jeff Alisauckas. "From the first day of practice he was focused, wanting to play lacrosse." During the preseason, Alisauckas talked to Witte about playing midfield. At first, the senior standout thought his coach wanted him to switch positions, but Alisauckas wanted him to continue playing attack and also see some time at midfield as well. "We wanted him on the field as much as possible," Alisauckas said. "He accepted the challenge and went beyond any coach's expectations." Witte was at his best in a playoff win against Atholton when he scored nine goals, leading the Cavaliers to the region championship game.
Coach of the Year
Jeff Alisauckas, South Carroll: The Cavaliers' 9-6 loss to eventual state runner-up Mount Hebron in the Class 3A/4A West region final left Alisauckas disappointed, but his team's effort left him extremely pleased. The Cavaliers continued their dominance in their own backyard, winning their 10th straight county title and third under Alisauckas, and also showed they could play with anyone else. They finished 12-3 and reached the region final for the first time under Alisauckas with an impressive 15-5 win over Atholton in the semifinals. "The goal this year was to get further in the playoffs. We didn't want to get bumped out in the first round like we did last year," Alisauckas said. "The way all the kids produced this year and the strides all the kids made across the entire board makes me really pleased." Alisauckas made some adjustments at the start of the season when he put in a man-to-man defense to go with the Cavaliers' customary zone. The different looks paid dividends throughout the season. "The man-to-man early on got us a lot quicker and helped our zone later in the season," Alisauckas said. On attack, Alisauckas knew the Cavaliers would have to rely on senior Rob Witte. His decision to also give his standout some regular shifts at midfield along with his duties up front proved wise as the double duty didn't hinder Witte's scoring output.
The first team
Dave Baker, Westminster, Sr., attack: The Owls' leading scorer makes the jump to the first team this season after earning honorable mention status as a junior. With one of the hardest shots in the county, he finished the season with 26 goals and also added 17 assists. One of Baker's finest efforts came early in the season when he scored six goals and dished out three assists in a win against Howard.
Tim Bettis, South Carroll, Sr., defense: A first-year starter for the Cavaliers, Bettis worked hard to improve his entire game and it showed with a solid season. He got some experience last season playing in man-down situations and added speed and strength going into this season to come into his own as a full-time defender. Coach Jeff Alisauckas was most impressed with Bettis' stickwork and ability to clear the ball out of danger.
Gaelen Cross, Liberty, Sr., defense: An all-metro offensive guard in football, Cross brought his strength and quickness to the lacrosse field to keep opposing attackers in order. He often wore down opposing attackers with his tight marking and strong checks. His aggressive approach always had attackmen listening for footsteps. Cross also was a strong position defender who had good stickwork.
Jim Fitze, Liberty, Sr., midfield: Fitze, who finished the season with 20 goals and five assists, came into his own this season with a relentless work ethic that provided great leadership for the younger Lions. Along with running on the top line, he worked on man-down situations and was the type of player who didn't want to leave the field. His scrappy play between the two restraining lines played a big role in the Lions' transition game.
Charlie Gibson, South Carroll, Jr., midfield: field: Gibson simply got the job done all over the field for the county champ Cavaliers this season. It was never more evident than the Cavs' 16-10 regular-season win over Atholton when he scored four goals, had three assists, collected 10 ground balls and won 14 faceoffs. The finest two-way player in the county, he finished the season with 17 goals and 13 assists along with his strong work on draws and ground balls.