1998 All-Howard County girls soccer teams

November 26, 1998

Co-Players of Year

Jamie Epperlein, Glenelg, senior, goalkeeper: A repeat first-team selection, Epperlein helped Glenelg to one of its most successful seasons in school history.

"She is certainly the cornerstone of this season," said Glenelg coach Mike Williams.

Glenelg, which won the Class 1A-2A state championship last year, finished with its best overall (10-6-0) and county (6-3-0) records ever. Epperlein allowed 11 goals and had six shutouts.

"She's very vocal and directs the defense," said Williams. "She's good in the air and good at diving. And she anticipates very well. One-on-one, I don't think there's a better goalie around."

Williams said Epperlein, a first-team All-State selection, was slowed by shin splints.

Lindsey Mitchell, Hammond, senior, goalkeeper: keeper: Hammond coach Peter Di Marco can't say enough about Mitchell, a four-year starter.

"She's got everything going for her," Di Marco said. "She's smart, athletic, knows when to make her move, is very good on the ground, drives well to either side, has great hands and holds onto the ball well. And she has an unbelievable reach."

Mitchell, who shares goalkeeping duties with Glenelg's Jamie Epperlein on the Colubma Magic, had 133 saves this season. Mitchell allowed only 10 goals and posted 14 shutouts.

A first-team All-State pick, Mitchell led the Class 1A state champions to three shootout victories in the playoffs. Plus she made the penalty shot that gave the Golden Bears a 7-6 advantage in a shootout against Snow Hill.

Coach of the Year

Peter Di Marco, Hammond: "A team like this comes around once in a while. You don't get to experience this every season," said Di Marco, whose Golden Bears went 17-1-1 and earned the Class 1A state title. Di Marco combined solid play, experience and leadership from 11 seniors with work from some talented underclassmen.

"We were able to put the right players in the right positions," Di Marco said. "We didn't have any superstars, but the team played very well together."

Di Marco has been coaching for 19 years. He coached the Hammond boys JV team for seven years before taking over the varsity girls last season.

"Our first goal this year was to win the county championship," said Di Marco, whose team tied River Hill for the title when the Hawks beat Hammond on the last day of the regular season.

"We needed to beat Centennial, and we were able to do that. It got progressively better for us. We were scoring goals. We created opportunities and were putting them in, something we didn't do last year. Winning made us believe in ourselves a little more."

Scoring goals became more difficult in the playoffs -- the Golden Bears won three of their five playoff games in shootouts. But Hammond regained its touch in the championship final, routing Williamsport, 6-0, for the school's third state title.

"This was an incredible amount of fun for me," said Di Marco, who teaches Italian and Spanish at Hammond. "I'm very proud of the girls, and the great fan support we had."

First team at a glance

Julie Broden, Mount Hebron, junior, forward: ward: Racing on offense, or chasing down an opponent, Broden went only one speed -- fast. "Her work rate, her desire to get the ball," said Mount Hebron coach Jonathan Davis, sets her apart. "She never gives up. She doesn't stop, even in practice," Davis said. Broden has improved every year. She finished with nine goals and five assists.

Michelle Jenkins, Hammond, senior, forward: ward: Hammond's leading scorer had 11 goals and six assists. "She goes after the ball. She wants to make things happen," said Hammond coach Peter Di Marco.

Jenkins made a key play with two minutes remaining in the

playoff game against Hereford, keeping the ball alive just before the goalie was about to grab it. Hammond scored seconds later to tie the game, and won in a shootout.

Christa Vent, Glenelg, senior, forward: "With her speed and strength, she was always a threat," said Glenelg coach Mike Williams. Vent had nine goals and six assists. "She got better at shielding the ball and distributing the ball," Williams said of his captain.

Martha Bielefeld, Hammond, junior, midfield: field: An excellent play-maker with a powerful shot, she had a team-high 10 assists and eight goals. Bielefeld has good control in the middle and distributes well to the wings. "She's very consistent, very smart," Di Marco said.

Katie Elliott, Mount Hebron, junior, midfield: field: "She's got everything a coach would want," said coach Jonathan Davis. "She raises the level of everyone's play. She was a huge reason we did so well this year."

Mount Hebron (11-5) had the most wins and most goals in school history. Elliott, a first-team All-State selection, finished with a county-high 16 goals and 16 assists. Fast and aggressive, Elliott's strong left foot gave defenses plenty to guard against.

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