All-metro Field Hockey

December 14, 2005

Player of the Year

Mandy Pickard

North Carroll, midfield

The center midfielder gave opponents fits all over the field. A big scorer who could mark out the opposition's top attack player and control the midfield transition, Pickard led the No. 4 Panthers (14-2) to the state semifinals for the first time since 1998.

The senior saved her best performance for last, scoring two dazzling goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to No. 1 Severna Park.

Pickard scored her first on a textbook penalty corner, and her second was even more impressive. Dancing the ball across the circle, she wove through traffic, spun around and nailed the shot into the far corner.

Pickard also played a dominant role in the midfield throughout the game, picking off balls and setting up the Panthers' transition game with her controlled, accurate drives.

In overtime, Pickard had a penalty stroke to win the game and she shot it with precision toward the upper left corner only to watch Falcons goalie Corinne Manuel make a difficult stick save.

That versatility, combined with insatiable drive and nifty stickwork, made Pickard the Carroll County Player of the Year as the Panthers tied for county and Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference titles.

"Mandy can determine the outcome of a game," said Panthers coach Denean Koontz. "When Mandy steps on the field, Mandy plays to win. She will do whatever it takes to win ballgames. That's something you can't teach. Not only does she have the desire, but she has the stick skills to go with it."

Pickard, who had 16 goals and eight assists, was named first-team All-State by the Maryland High School Field Hockey Coaches Association. A club player with Hymax, in Towson, she plans to play hockey in college.

Coach of the Year

Katie Corcoran

South River

Corcoran faced an intimidating prospect when she took over the Seahawks program this fall. After winning the state class 4A championship, they lost 10 seniors to graduation. Seven starters were gone, including their entire forward line and their goalie. Still, Corcoran, a South River assistant coach the previous five years, took the Seahawks back to the final, where they beat Springbrook, 3-0, to become the first South River team to successfully defend a state title. The Seahawks finished 16-3-1 and No. 2 in The Sun . The team built steadily through the season under Corcoran's guidance. An early loss to Severna Park did not deter the Seahawks, who pushed the No. 1 Falcons to overtime before falling, 3-2, in the county title game. Corcoran gave the credit to her players, whom she involved in the game plan. "The girls wanted to defend their state title," Corcoran said. "After winning it in 2000, they couldn't repeat, so the goal this year was to show that we're a good team. They wanted to compete with the best of them. The girls were really hungry, and they had the drive to go all the way. They were very motivated."

First Team

Christina Boarman

St. Paul's, forward

The only returning player from last year's first team, Boarman makes her third appearance on the All-Metro team. The Baltimore County Player of the Year showed off some of the best stickwork around. On almost every possession in the scoring circle, she could get a shot or force a penalty corner. Boarman scored nine goals and had seven assists. Boarman, who has committed to play at Towson, was named first-team All-State and was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association South Region team for a second straight year.

Sarah Cates

Mount Hebron, forward

The Howard County Player of the Year showed off an all-around game that would have made her valuable anywhere on the field. On the line, Cates was a consistent finisher, but she also created scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. With 15 goals and nine assists, she was second in scoring for the Howard County champion and No. 3 Vikings. Stellar stick skills enabled Cates to control play around her, and she excelled at drawing penalty corners. Her defensive skills often kept the ball from escaping the Vikings' attacking end. Cates finished her career with 29 goals and 17 assists. A second-team All-State pick, she signed early to play lacrosse at Duquesne.

Liz DiNunno

Fallston, defense

The Harford County Player of the Year showed no fear in her defensive style. Willing to challenge attackers aggressively, DiNunno controlled the action in the middle of the defense for the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference champions and state Class 3A runners-up. The senior center back showed off her intricate stickwork as well as a long reach. She used both to steal the ball or slow opponents trying to carry the ball through her territory. She could get off the quick pass or take the ball down herself. An All-State first-team selection, DiNunno plans to keep playing but has not made a college choice.

Megan Jendrossek

Archbishop Spalding, midfield

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