1996 All-Howard County field hockey team

November 20, 1996

Player of the Year

Kelly Dodson, Mount Hebron, senior, forward: The three-year starter scored in every county game except one and finished with a county-high 17 goals. Dodson, who finished her career with 33 goals and five assists, has excellent stickwork, a tremendous shot and the ability to dodge and penetrate the defense. "She finds a way to win," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland. "She's very tough mentally. She deals with the pressure well when the game is on the line." A case in point -- Mount Hebron beat Howard, 2-1, in overtime, with Dodson tying the game with 17 seconds left and winning it in the first overtime. Dodson, a second-team All-County player last season, also converted a penalty stroke with 22 seconds left in regulation to tie Centennial on the regular season's final day, giving Mount Hebron its first county title since 1985.

Coach of the Year

Jeannette Ireland, Mount Hebron: "She epitomizes what a coach should be," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell, who was named Howard County and All-Metro Coach of the Year last season. "She's a positive role model for coaches, as well as her own players." Ireland was within 10 minutes of winning the county title on the last day of last year's regular season, but her team gave up four unanswered goals and lost. This year, the Vikings finished 8-0-1 to win the county. "My biggest disappointment last year was the seniors who walked away with nothing, because they gave so much," Ireland said. "I think they had a hand in this [the 1996 title]. They brought us so close." Ireland, a great ambassador for the sport, "always wanted us to be better, and that made us want to be better, too," said goalie Jessica Cruttenden.

The first team

Rachel Ford, Glenelg, junior, forward: A two-year starter, Ford had a team-high seven goals. Ford is very aggressive, and as a "through-forward" is mostly a power player. She has improved with her stickwork and is working on her finesse game. "She has a real nose for the goal," said Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid.

Kristin Gaudio, Centennial, junior, forward: ward: "Kristin carries and crosses the ball as well as any junior I've ever had," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell, who just completed her 20th season. "She sets up a lot of scoring opportunities." Gaudio, who had four goals, used her speed and stickwork to take the ball down the sideline. She is a two-year starter.

Rachel Karfonta, Mount Hebron, senior, forward: A "relentless player," says coach Jeannette Ireland. Deceptively fast, Karfonta uses her speed to beat defenses down the side and cross the ball into the middle. An excellent passer, Karfonta tied for the team lead in assists with three. She also contributed two goals.

Ruda Lee, Howard, senior, forward: Lee "has the best stickwork in the county" says coach Pat Becker. Lee, a tri-captain and three-year starter, had two goals and a team-high 11 assists for Howard, which won its first region title. Lee had solid drives, and took most of the penalty corners.

Megan Prentiss, Atholton, senior, forward: In her first year as a full-time starter, Prentiss scored two goals and had four assists. Prentiss has good stickwork, moves fast with the ball and can cross well.

Dawn Dorsey, Mount Hebron, senior, midfield: field: Dorsey anchored the center of the field for the Vikings. "She has great lateral movement and makes good tackles," said her coach Jeannette Ireland. "She made many really big plays on defense for us." Dorsey, who had two goals and an assist, was the team's flyer on defensive corners. Ireland added that Dorsey was a "very consistent and steady player."

Jessica Euler, Centennial, junior, midfield: Euler improved greatly this season and tied for the team lead in goals (six) and led the team in assists (four). "She was very focused and knew what she had to do," said her coach Gail Purcell. "She worked very hard in the offseason." A smart player, Euler "got the job done on both ends," Purcell said.

Holly Gick, River Hill, junior, midfield: "She's just a solid player on both ends of the field," said River Hill coach Jodi Stone. "Her work ethic is incredible, and she's very mature for a junior." Gick, a co-captain who played both attack and defense on corners, has excellent stickwork, and anticipates and reads the game well. Gick scored three goals.

Susan Mancho, Howard, senior, midfield: "There isn't a skill she can't perform. There isn't anybody she can't stop," said Howard coach Pat Becker about her defensive standout. Mancho made the All-County second team last year in first season at the sport. She improved this season and led the Lions to the state semifinals for the first time. She has excellent speed, drives the ball very hard and is determined to win. "She instills confidence in the team," Becker said. "She makes everybody play up a notch."

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