1997 All-Metro girls soccer teams

November 27, 1997

Player of the Year

Becky Bieneman, Catholic, junior, forward: Talk to Catholic coach Jerry Dieter about his standout striker, who scored 25 goals and added 17 assists to lead the top-ranked Cubs (20-1-1) to the Catholic League A Division championship, and two words keep coming back in the conversation -- "balance" the first with "consistency" not far behind. A second-team All-Metro selection last season, Bieneman took her game to a higher level this fall to become the metro area's most complete player from a striker's standpoint. "She's a player who knows when to give the ball up and when not to. She knows the difference -- that's what's impressive," Dieter said. Bieneman's work rate, athleticism and desire to win are other key ingredients that go along with her fine soccer skills. Recording at least a goal or an assist in 17 of the Cubs 22 games, Bieneman saved some of her best for last with a remarkable run through the Catholic League tournament. She scored five times in the playoffs -- including all three in the Cubs' 3-0 semifinal win against John Carroll and a second-half, back-breaker in the 4-1 win against McDonogh in the final. "She was able to step it up in the playoffs -- rise to the occasion," Dieter said. "All the recognition she receiving is well-deserved. She works hard every game." A first-team All-State selection, Bieneman boosted her three-year totals to 54 goals and 38 assists.

Coach of the Year

Maurice Boylan, Jr., McDonogh: A young team. A slow start. And the always tough Catholic League competition once again at its best this season. Those were the challenges Boylan had in front of him this year. Ranked 15th in the area before the season and then off to a 2-2-2 start, his Eagles started a steady and improbable climb to the top. They went 14-0-2 between Sept. 18 and Nov. 12 -- with a 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Catholic the highlight -- and temporarily took over the No. 1 ranking in the area before the Cubs avenged the loss with a 4-1 win in the Catholic League final. The Eagles, with only five seniors on an 18-player roster, finished the season with a 16-3-4 mark. The youthful squad had plenty of talent, and Boylan's primary concern was getting the most from everyone, identifying what each did best and making them comfortable with their respective roles. The Eagles always came ready to play and often times, their desire to win overcame many obstacles. In the end, it was quite a ride for Boylan, who has a 116-21-12 record in his seven years coaching at McDonogh. "It was teamwork from the first person to the last. It was a great group to work with," he said. "We didn't have a good enough team that we could look past anybody." Boylan was quick to praise the work of his assistants -- Georgia Holland-Pence, Jay Golomb and Kim Mitchell.

First team at a glance

Michelle Allen, Liberty, sophomore, forward: ward: The Player of the Year in Carroll County, Allen scored eight goals and added five assists to lead the Lions (15-2-1) to the region final. Also seeing plenty of time at the center midfield position, she became the steadying influence of the Lions' possession game with her fine all-around skills. A big part of last year's state championship team, Allen was asked to do even more this year with some key losses to graduation. As the primary go-to player, she responded in a big way to become a dominating player. "She solidified whatever area we needed her to play. She's relentless in her work rate and her soccer sense is uncanny," said Liberty coach )) Sam DeLaurence.

Caitlin Bair, River Hill, senior, midfield: The flow of a game often centered around Bair, who scored 13 goals and had seven assists to help lead River Hill to a share of the state championship. She has all the tools -- strong in the air, able to distribute and finish, and a good understanding of the game -- to make her a complete player. It was evident in the state final game against South River, a 1-1 tie, when she controlled the midfield for long stretches. A three-time, first-team All-County player in Howard, she led her teams in goals in each of the past three seasons -- scoring nine as a sophomore at Atholton, 11 for River Hill last season and 13 for the Hawks this season.

Amanda Berman, Wilde Lake, senior, forward: ward: You couldn't ask for much more than what Berman provided for her Wildecats this season. The co-Player of the Year in Howard County, she saw time up front, in the middle and also some minutes at sweeper to help out in any way she could. With a knack for finishing or distributing to set up a teammate, Berman ended the season with 19 goals and 13 assists -- tops in Howard County. "She's quick, has good vision and an excellent first touch," said Wilde Lake coach Anita Andersch. Simply put, Berman -- a four-year starter and three-time All-County choice -- made a lot of good things happen at Wilde Lake.

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