Maryland 4A state champion Whitman (16-1-1) finishes the season atop The Post’s top 10 rankings, narrowly edging Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion Good Counsel (13-1-6), whom the Vikings beat, 3-0, on Oct. 19.
The story of the this year’s Vikings team had everything you’d expect from a championship narrative.
They had a talented and close-knit senior class featuring five college-bound players and one of the area’s best midfielders — Rice-bound Aliza Wolfe — hoping for magic in their final year together.
“I think we all believed it from the very first day we got together,” Wolfe said. “We knew we had the talent in us, we just knew we had to work as hard as we could to get better because we’d face a lot of challenges. And we did.”
The Vikings’ championship plot began in part six years ago when three of those seniors — Wolfe, leading scorer Anna Gurney and backline anchor Emily Martin — began playing for Coach Greg Herbert at Pyle Middle School.
The story could have ended differently after a injury that could have crippled Whitman’s defense and ended a player’s high school career. Senior back Bahar Ulusan went down midway through the season, but instead of devastating the Vikings, the injury motivated them. Martin and others shifted positions to hold the defense together, and it held all the way to the playoffs. Before their regional final game against Churchill, Ulusan pleaded with her team.
“She told us, ‘please win so I can put on my jersey one more time. So I can play for Whitman one more time,’” Wolfe said. “That drove us to work harder to compensate.”
The Vikings won a penalty-kick thriller, then beat defending state champion South River to get to the championship.
Then came the happy ending: Ulusan got her wish and was able to play in a 2-0 win against Catonsville that sent the Vikings’ seniors out with a win in the last game they’d play for Herbert.
“You can’t describe that feeling,” Wolfe said. “It was an amazing and unforgettable senior year and a great way to end four years at Whitman.”
Led by a spectacular senior class of its own, Good Counsel won its second-straight WCAC championship, losing just one game and beating eventual Maryland 3A state champion River Hill, 3-0, early in the year. . . . After pushing Good Counsel to the brink in the WCAC final, O’Connell returns four of its five leading scorers in 2014. . . . Sheridan Street scored seven goals in the playoffs to lead River Hill to its second-straight 3A state title. . . . Damascus allowed just seven goals in 17 games coming into its state semifinal game against River Hill. . . . Huntingtown proved itself a perennial power by reaching its second state final in three years.
1. Whitman (16-1-1)
2. Good Counsel (13-1-6)
3. O’Connell (13-3-1)
4. Spalding (13-3-1)
5. River Hill (14-4-1)
6. Huntingtown (16-2-1)
7. South River (14-4-0)
8. Marriotts Ridge (13-3-2)
9. Damascus (17-1-0)
10. Arundel (14-2-1)