2001 All-Howard County boys lacrosse teams

High Schools

May 31, 2001

Player of the Year

Dan Valente, Mount Hebron: Valente, according to Vikings coach Jeff Doolan, wasn't just the best goalie in the county this year; he was as good as any goalie in the metro area. The numbers certainly make a good case for Valente. In each of Mount Hebron's toughest games, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior rose to the challenge. Against McDonogh, Valente made 13 saves. Against C. Milton Wright, he stopped 19 shots. Against Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion Loyola, he had 14 saves and showed off his versatile skills outside the cage, notching an assist. Even against Carthage, N.Y., traditionally one of the best programs in the country, Valente made 17 breathtaking saves in Mount Hebron's 8-7 overtime loss. Voted a high school All-American by Howard County coaches, Valente stopped 68 percent of the shots he faced, and within the county, that number jumped to nearly 80 percent. In three years, Valente never lost a county game as the Vikings goalie. He will attend Hobart College on a lacrosse scholarship.

Coach of the Year

Ken Hovet, Oakland Mills: It's not a secret that Oakland Mills isn't exactly a hotbed for lacrosse players. But Hovet, who has molded the Scorpions into a football power, knows a thing or two about the virtues of speed and strength. Picked to finish somewhere in the middle or lower half of the pack, Oakland Mills made up for its lack of lacrosse experience with a lot of talented athletes and savvy, going 6-3 in the county and 10-5 overall, and beating Atholton and Edgewood in the playoffs before falling to Centennial in the Class 2A-1A North Regional semifinal. Hovet's aggressive zone even put a scare into eventual county champion Mount Hebron, as the Scorpions trailed 8-5 through three quarters before falling 17-5.

First team

Wyatt Cooper, Centennial: Also an All-County football player, Cooper provided much of the senior leadership for a young Eagles team that featured 10 sophomores and a freshman in key roles. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenseman had 67 ground balls and was a solid passer.

Andrew Deming, Oakland Mills: Perhaps the most intimidating presence in the county, the 6-4, 220-pound Deming was a hard hitter and a solid all-around defender for the Scorpions, grabbing 86 ground balls. The Howard County Defensive Player of the Year in football, Deming may play football in college.

Ben Dougherty, Glenelg: Dougherty joined Mike Selawski and Valente as the only repeat first-team All-County selections. He scored 34 goals, and had 15 assists and 112 ground balls for the runner-up Gladiators. A solid two-way player, Dougherty won 60 percent of his faceoffs and was a steady team leader. His four-goal, one-assist effort led Glenelg to an important early-season win over River Hill. Dougherty will attend the University of Denver on a lacrosse scholarship.

Mike Down, Centennial: A talented sophomore, the speedy Down scored 26 goals and had 22 assists to help lead the precocious Eagles into the 2A-1A North regional final, where they fell to Pikesville despite two goals and an assist from Down. Down scored three times and had an assist in a 8-6 loss to Glenelg and had a goal and four assists in a playoff win over Harford Tech.

Tony Incontrera, Mount Hebron: Perhaps the best man-on defender in the county, Incontrera led a Vikings defense that gave up only 35 goals during the county season. He also scored a goal. With his size, quickness and stick skill, he nearly always drew the opposing teams' top scorer. Incontrera will play lacrosse at Salisbury State.

Gabe Katz, Hammond: Katz was the emotionally charged leader of a competitive Bears' team that went 11-6 on the season. He scored 29 goals and had 12 assists, and was one of the county's best at gaining possession loose balls, scooping up 120 ground balls. He scored four times against Centennial and had four goals and two assists against River Hill.

Will Melton, River Hill: Always known as a fiery competitor, Melton became known as a solid goalie in his senior season, stopping 72 percent of the shots he faced. Against Mount Hebron, he had perhaps the best game of his career, making 20 saves. A standout student, Melton will attend Princeton next year and hopes to walk on for the Tigers.

Paul Minutoli, River Hill: A terrific finisher, Minutoli had a breakout season after spending much of his career as the fourth attackman at River Hill. His 53 goals on the season was the hightest total of anyone in the county. Minutoli also had 13 assists and grabbed 83 ground balls. He set a school record in a 16-4 playoff win over Aberdeen with eight goals.

Jay Morgan, River Hill: The leader of the Hawks' potent defense, Morgan seemed to always be around the ball, and led River Hill with 120 ground balls. He was a solid position defender and also excelled at creating take-aways. He scored two goals in the Hawks' playoff loss to North Carroll and also had two assists on the season.

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