All-metro Girls Soccer

December 14, 2005

Player of the Year

Jessica Knight

Perry Hall, forward

The talented senior closed out a superb four-year career by leading the No. 11 Gators (11-2-1) to the Baltimore County championship with a dominating presence on the field. The first-team All-State pick scored 15 goals and added 11 assists despite the obvious attention she received from opposing defenses, a result of her fine play in her first three varsity seasons. Knight was fast and strong to the ball and even stronger with it, able to slip behind defenses or break down an opponent one-on-one to finish off scoring chances. She finished her career with 61 goals and 31 assists. After Knight scored three first-half goals in a 5-0 win over Parkville to wrap up a fourth straight appearance in the Baltimore County title game, Perry Hall coach Brad Kressman said: "We wouldn't be close to where we are without Jessica -- it's that simple. The two things that stand out the most with Jessica are, first, her ability to take people on in the open field -- I think it's second to none. And, secondly, she has a major impact in every game because you always have to know where she is at all times." During a season filled with highlights and multiple-goal games, the Richmond-bound Knight had a two-goal, one-assist effort in a 3-0 win over Class 2A state champ Eastern Tech and also scored a tying goal against McDonogh with five minutes left in a 2-1 overtime win.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Paul Austin

C. Milton Wright

With 14 players returning from last year's state semifinal team, the fifth-year coach was well aware of the talent he had to work with and made the most of it in guiding the No. 3 Mustangs to their first Class 4A state crown. Austin would regularly use 18 players, using the early part of the season to identify roles and develop an environment that had healthy competition and a team-first approach. "By midseason, we settled in with a lot of flexibility and the players understood and wanted to work hard for playing time," said Austin, who is 53-15-3 in his five seasons. "Consistently playing 18, we could see in the second half that we would wear teams down and we were the fresher team." The Mustangs (15-2) overcame a tough postseason path to claim the title, knocking off Kenwood, 1-0, in the regional final before getting past Eleanor Roosevelt on penalty kicks to reach the title game. They completed the journey with a 1-0 win over defending champion Walt Whitman, scoring the winning goal in the second half while maintaining a strong effort on defense throughout. Austin, who led the Mustangs to the Harford County title in 2003 and the first two Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference crowns, praised the tireless work of his assistants, Len Nicewonger and Brent Ritz.

FIRST TEAM

Lily Boleyn

Centennial, forward

Relentless and crafty in the offensive third of the field, the talented senior made the most of her chances to lead the No. 7 Eagles (12-2-1) to a second straight Howard County crown. Boleyn, Howard's Player of the Year and a first-team All-State pick, finished the season with 13 goals and five assists as the Eagles finished 8-0-1 in county play. The Clemson-bound Boleyn went to the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Fla., during her junior year to improve her soccer skills. She returned to Centennial this season with the Eagles in a rebuilding mode after losing several standouts to graduation and played a big role in helping the team maintain its lofty standards.

Alissa Bourne

Glenelg, defense

Smart, aggressive and highly skilled, the junior sweeper had the necessary tools to anchor the Gladiators' back line. A center midfielder on her club team, Bourne read the game well and had a knack for getting to the ball first and getting the Gladiators started on offense. The second-team All-State pick constantly frustrated opposing attacks and had a strong foot on clears when needed. Her fluid and confident play was a big reason the Gladiators posted 10 shutouts, and she also contributed offensively with two goals and eight assists. Glenelg opened the season with seven straight shutouts, not allowing a goal in the first 636 minutes of its season.

Kristen Carr

Mercy, defense

Mercy coach Albert Oni will have a tough job finding a replacement for his senior standout, especially considering she often played every field position over the course of a game. Carr's versatility was only one asset she brought to the Magic in her fine four-year career. Wherever she played -- mostly defense, but also in the middle and up top -- she brought a high work ethic, superb ball skills and the constant ability to change the complexion of a game. The first-team All-State selection and Baltimore City's Player of the Year finished the season with four goals and two assists.

Kim Dubansky

McDonogh, defense

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