1997 All-Howard County field hockey teams

November 19, 1997|By STAN RAPPAPORT

Player of the Year

Emily Payne, Mount Hebron, senior, midfield: She led the Vikings (14-2-1) to their greatest season ever as they advanced to the Class 2A state final. "She was the best player on our team," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland. "She has excellent stickwork, great anticipation and is very smart." And intense, very intense. "She practices as hard as she plays," Ireland said. Payne, who scored six goals and four assists for the two-time county champions, is "a complete player," Ireland said. But Ireland said Payne's greatest improvement from last year is that she became a scoring threat as a midfielder. Payne, who said the season was the most fun playing field hockey she's ever had, was the receiver and playmaker on offensive corners and the trail left on defensive corners. Payne, who will play at the National Hockey Festival in California next week, participated in the Euro Tour over the summer with teammate Trish Dewart. She also worked a lot after practice with younger teammates.

Coach of the Year

Jeannette Ireland, Mount Hebron: With only three starters returning and 10 players up from the JV, Ireland had her work cut out. Then again, the situation called for someone like Ireland, a coach who loves to teach -- and does it well -- and has the patience to go along. "With us being so young at the beginning of the season she stressed that we work together and play for each other," said Mount Hebron senior captain Emily Payne. "She always encouraged us to work hard and push ourselves to be better hockey players." Ireland and Mount Hebron succeeded. The Vikings won a second straight county title -- they went 8-0-1 each year -- and won their first playoff game under Ireland. They proceeded to the Class 2A state final, where they lost to perennial power Bethesda-Chevy Chase. "We were hoping to repeat as county champion, but we knew that was a major task. We had a lot of work to do, and took one game at a time," said Ireland, whose team won eight one-goal games this season. "To get all the way to the final was unbelievable." The Vikings will graduate five players and return 10 from this year's team.

First team as a glance

Rachel Ford, Glenelg, senior, forward: She has led Glenelg in scoring four straight years, the first on JV. A three-year starter and repeat first-team All-County pick, Ford had six goals and five assists this season. "She added another dimension this year by becoming a more well-rounded player," said Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid. "She has a nose for the goal with a hard, accurate shot."

Kristin Gaudio, Centennial, senior, forward: "A prolific scorer for us," said Centennial coach Gail Purcell. "One of my top five in all the years [21] I've coached." Gaudio has been the Eagles' top scorer for two years and was the county's scoring leader this year with 11 goals and eight assists. She had three two-goal games. A three-year starter, Gaudio used her speed and strong stickwork to create and finish scoring opportunities. "She's a very well-rounded player," Purcell said. Gaudio is a repeat first-team All-County selection and has been in the Futures program for two years.

Katie Jeschke, Mount Hebron, sophomore, forward: "A good finisher with a great shot" said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland about Jeschke, who had six goals and four assists. One of Jeschke's goals came against Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the Class 2A state championship, the only goal the Barons allowed in the playoffs. Jeschke, who started on the JV last year, was responsible for moving the ball into the attack. She also started ,, Mount Hebron's penalty corners, and most of her assists came from that. She has good stick skills.

An Nguyen, Long Reach, senior, forward: She scored the first goal in school history last year and the first penalty stroke goal this year. Nguyen's stick skills and her speed were her top assets. Every team concentrated on stopping her, but Nguyen still finished with six goals and four assists. "She's the only senior starter we're losing," said Long Reach coach Kelly Morano, who did an excellent job directing her second-year team to a 7-8-2 overall record after last year's winless season. "She will be missed tremendously. She was a role model on the field, and she had a great impact on the underclassmen. We were fortunate to have a player like her. She was the heart of our team."

Kate Wilkinson, Hammond, senior, forward: Wilkinson got to be friendly with opposing cages this season. "She hung around the cage waiting for that moment and when it came she often connected," said Hammond coach Gay Petrlik. Wilkinson led the Golden Bears with seven goals and added three assists. "She really scored when we needed it most," Petrlik said. An aggressive player with solid leadership skills, Wilkinson "was a spark on the field," Petrlik said. "She made things happen."

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