Perhaps it was no surprise that three of the four Maryland state boys soccer champions came from Howard County. After all, at least two county teams had won state titles every year since 1997. The three champions--River Hill (3A), Mount Hebron (2A) and Oakland Mills (1A)--went a combined 49-5-1 this season and outscored opponents in the playoffs, 76-1.
But if you want surprises this postseason, look no further than Springbrook and Theodore Roosevelt. Springbrook defeated then No. 1 and previously unbeaten Wootton in a 4A West region quarterfinal, 10-9, in a penalty-kick shootout after the game ended scoreless in regulation.
"Wootton made us look like a bunch of 6-year old kids when they beat us [2-0] in the regular season," Springbrook Coach Friday Johnson said. "Before we played them again, I scouted them for the first time in my coaching career. We knew they were really, really good, but we were able to take the game to them."
Roosevelt ended Wilson's five-year reign as D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champions by beating the Tigers in the conference championship, 3-2, in penalty kicks after regulation ended tied at 2. The Rough Riders (9-4-1) won their three playoff games in penalty shootouts--and became the first team other than Wilson or Bell to win the conference tournament since it began in 1989. . . .
Perhaps the two most clutch performers this season were Sherwood forward Ronald Goodlett and Thomas Stone midfielder Brian Moroz. Goodlett scored seven game-winning goals and had at least one goal in all 12 of Sherwood's victories. Moroz had either a goal or an assist in 16 of the Cougars' 18 games--and the team went 15-1 in those games. . . .
The most offensive defensive player likely was Sergio Henry, a senior sweeper at Sandy Spring. Henry led the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference in assists with 14 and led the Quakers (16-1-1) to 14 shutouts, including a 6-0 victory over St. Anselm's in the PVAC championship game. . . .
The biggest reversal in seven days or less came from DeMatha. The Stags' 35-game unbeaten streak in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference ended in a 3-2 loss to Good Counsel on Oct. 31. But three days later in a WCAC quarterfinal, they ended a three-year playoff losing streak to O'Connell by beating the Knights in a penalty shootout, 5-4, after the game was scoreless in regulation and overtime. The Stags went on to beat Pallotti, 4-0, in the WCAC championship game to win their first conference title since 1987. . . .
One team to watch for next year: No. 3 Oakland Mills (18-1-1). The Scorpions are expected to have juniors Kenny Farmer (team-high 15 goals) and Trevor Shea (team-high 15 assists) back from the team that won its second consecutive 1A state title and whose only loss was a 1-0 sudden-death overtime decision to top-ranked River Hill.
In September, The Post spotlighted eight super sophomores expected to be key factors this girls season. If there were any fears of a sophomore jinx, those concerns have long since abated.
Watkins Mill All-Met sophomore center midfielder Noelle Keselica did not score 35 goals again like she did her freshman campaign, but she did score 21 goals and had 11 assists. The Wolverines finished the season 11-2.
"She was a true midfielder this year," Watkins Mill Coach Troy Bowers said. "She had more defensive responsibilities this year, and she would mark the other team's best player and still score goals."
Potomac School striker Jenna Linden led the top-ranked Panthers in goals (21) and assists (12) for the second straight season. Her play helped the Panthers win their second straight Independent School League tournament title.
Severna Park sophomore Erin Dubina was moved from forward to outside midfielder but still responded with seven goals and 13 assists for the Falcons (15-2), who advanced to the Maryland 4A East regional semifinals.
"[Dubina] cut her goals in half but her assists were way up and she did a lot of nice things for the team," Severna Park Coach Chuck Seivert said. "She is definitely the best foot-skilled player in Anne Arundel County."
National Cathedral sweeper Phela Townsend anchored the Eagles' defense again. She finished with 13 goals and 10 assists for NCS, which lost in the semifinals of the ISL tournament.
"Last year, she dominated defensively and this year she stepped up offensively . . . 13 goals from the sweeper position is incredible," Eagles Coach Richie Burke said.
The other four sophomores selected Leonardtown's April Lockley (18 goals), Mount Hebron's Julia Napolitano (nine goals, seven assists), St. Andrew's Carolyn Ford (19 goals, eight assists) and Damascus's Melissa Penney (16 goals, 12 assists) also had incredible years again.
Other sophomores in the Washington area that also had solid fall seasons were the Good Counsel forward tandem of Danielle Malagari (24 goals, 12 assists) and Meggie Curran (23 goals, 18 assists), National Cathedral midfielder Tory Dunnan (ISL-leading 25 goals), Potomac School sweeper Liz Cheek and St. Mary's-Annapolis forward Kerie Sample (16 goals, seven assists). . . .
Despite lacking a dominant superstar player, 10th-ranked Glenelg won its second Maryland state title in three years Saturday by defeating Williamsport, 3-2, to win the 1A crown.
"It's a neat team," Glenelg Coach Mike Williams said. "I really did not feel like I had a superstar like [All-Met goalkeeper] Jamie Epperlein last year. I had a bunch of kids that all worked together and became a very good team."
Junior forwards Katie Kirley and Ashley Hall each had a goal and an assist in the final, which was played at UMBC. Glenelg (11-7-1) only loses six seniors but two of them are leading goal scorer Kelly Renfro (eight goals) and goalkeeper Kelly Jones.