All-Harford County Soccer Teams

High Schools

November 23, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec

BOYS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Zach Grubb

Aberdeen, senior

One of the main reasons the Eagles enjoyed a breakout season, Grubb did a little of everything, but it was his unselfishness that stood out.

A four-year starter, Grubb spent the majority of his Aberdeen career as a midfielder, but with the Eagles inexperienced in the back, coach Matt Roberts moved his steady performer to sweeper and didn't hear a word of complaint.

Grubb became the anchor on a defense that allowed 15 goals and had six shutouts. He also kept his offensive mind-set, coming forward on free kicks, throw-ins and corners in the opposition's end.

Good in the air and aggressive in the box, Grubb had 10 goals and nine assists, including a four-goal afternoon against Perryville.

His signature performance, however, came against Bel Air, as he played textbook defense all game, then came forward late to head in the goal in a 1-0 Aberdeen win. That result was crucial in the Eagles securing a piece of the county championship.

"Until this year, he's always been solid, but never been the standout," Roberts said. "This was his breakthrough year."

COACH OF THE YEAR

Matt Roberts

Aberdeen

Roberts, the 10-year coach and Aberdeen's athletic director, will not return as soccer coach next year, but he picked an awfully sweet way to go out. Roberts' Eagles had their best season in years, going 12-3 and winning a share of the Harford County title - their first since 1979 - before bowing out in the Class 2A East quarterfinals in a shootout to 2002 state champion Stephen Decatur.

In order to secure a piece of the county crown, Aberdeen needed a victory over Fallston, and the Eagles got it by a 2-1 margin.

It was the Eagles' first win over Fallston during Roberts' tenure, and it could stand as a microcosm of their season. The Eagles gave up a tying goal late in the game, but with their intense but calm coach preaching confidence and perseverance, Aberdeen kept its composure and answered with the game-winning score.

All season, Roberts, who was praised by other county coaches for his game plans and demeanor, got his senior-laden team, which won just five games in 2002, to believe it could win, focus on the task at hand and play to its strengths.

GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jamie Zimmerman

John Carroll, junior

Hard and fast.

Zimmerman, the Patriots' center midfielder, didn't know any other way to play this season.

A constant during John Carroll's run to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference title game and 13-5-1 season, Zimmerman used her skill, speed and drive to dominate in the midfield.

An All-Metro second-team selection last season, Zimmerman took it to another level this fall, netting 15 goals to go along with 15 assists.

"Jamie is an engine that goes 110 percent, sideline to sideline, 18 to 18," Patriots coach Gary Lynch said. "She just doesn't stop."

Armed with the ability to take on defenders and finish, Zimmerman also was stellar as a feeder, sending through balls or crosses to fellow juniors Ashley Myers and Rachel Layer.

Zimmerman also did tireless work in the defensive end, where she often was called on to mark the other team's strongest player, such as Notre Dame Prep's Zoey Bouchelle and Dulaney's Meagan Holmes, and was always up to the task.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Vern Brown

Fallston

The Fallston girls soccer team's 10-5-2 season came to a heartbreaking end with a shootout loss to Franklin in the Class 3A North final.

However, it took a serious reversal for the Cougars to reach that point. Fallston limped to the finish line, going 0-2-1 in its last three regular-season games and getting outscored 10-2 in its last two, including a 5-1 loss to C. Milton Wright, forcing the Cougars to settle for second place in the county.

But before the playoffs started, Brown, the fifth-year coach who guided the Cougars to a county crown in 2001, got his team together and implored it to regroup.

With Brown stressing the importance of forgetting about the end of the regular season and getting the Cougars to believe in themselves, Fallston made a strong state tournament run, which included a 2-0 win in a rematch against C. Milton Wright in the regional semifinals.

The professional and soft-spoken Brown, who also coaches the Fallston girls basketball team, also made several tactical changes in that game that allowed the Cougars to better contain C. Milton Wright's talented offense and generate some chances of their own.

THE BOYS TEAMS

Player of the Year: Zach Grubb, Aberdeen, senior, defender Coach of the Year: Matt Roberts, Aberdeen First team

Name School Yr. Pos. Comment

Eric Belcher Edgewood Sr. F Marked tightly, but still scored 16 goals

Henry Campbell Aberdeen Sr. F Eagles' speedy target netted 13 goals with 5 assists

Mike Degen Bel Air Sr. F 4-year starter, Degen was a reliable finisher (8 g, 4 a)

Evan Minarik Fallston Jr. F Minarik (8 g, 6 a) had knack for being in right place

Chris Pasqual Joppatowne Sr. F Defender moved up with nice results (11 g, 9 a)

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