Player of the Year: Ashley Spivey, McDonogh School
After the 2009 season, McDonogh School coach Harry Canellakis asked star forward and scoring machine Ashley Spivey if she would move to the center midfield position.
Spivey knew her scoring numbers (20 goals, 14 assists last season) would decline, but she was willing to do whatever it took for the benefit of the team.
The move paid off in 2010 as she powered the Eagles to the school’s first IAAM A Conference title, dethroning two-time champion and arch-rival Archbishop Spalding.
“At first, when he told me I wasn’t playing up top at the end of last year, I kind of got a little disappointed,” Spivey admitted. “I like to score goals but it’s not like center mid is unfamiliar to me. I’ve been playing there with my club team and played defensive center mid with the [U.S.] National team but it was kind of different to play there in high school.”
She added: “I’m just used to getting the ball and going but it was good because it’s not exactly what I want to do but it was what’s best for the team. I had to put the team before my own stats.”
After leading McDonogh to a 15-1-2 overall record, including an 8-0-1 mark in the A Conference, and the area’s No. 1 ranking, Spivey was named the inaugural Varsity Sports Network’s Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“The thing that I am most proud about Ashley is that we played her upfront for the past two years and she was willing to move back and play center midfield for us, which was the best position as far as our team dynamic was concerned,” said Eagles’ coach Harry Canellakis. “She performed really, really well there.”
The position changed didn’t stop Spivey from being one of the most imposing players in the area. She often controlled the midfield, stole passes from the opposition and pushed the ball deep into their territory, setting up her teammates and getting the Eagles’ offense started.
In the conference title game against Spalding, Spivey scored in the first half, drilling a penalty kick to give McDonogh a 1-0 lead. After the Cavaliers tied the game late and forced overtime, Spivey carried the ball from the midfield and sent a cross pass toward the box that found Casey Martinez’s feet and the freshman drilled the game-winner.
“All the way from our back line to our forwards, we were just really solid,” said Spivey, a team captain. “Our team chemistry is incredible and to know that this year, we were supposed to be out of it, and we came back and beat everybody, it was just the best feeling in the world.”
Spivey, a junior, tallied 15 goals and 17 assists this year, raising her career totals to 60 goals and 43 assists in three seasons.
She was selected to the U.S. U-17 national team a year ago, and was invited to train with the regional team in Florida as a tryout to make the 2010 squad.
Spivey has already accepted a scholarship to play soccer at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2012.
Coach of the Year: Josh Sullivan, Reservoir
In 2009, Josh Sullivan and his Reservoir team won the school’s first Howard County title and made it all the way to the Class 3A state title game before coming up just short, falling to Tuscarora, 3-2.
The Gators lost several starters from that record-setting team but Sullivan led his squad back to the 3A championship game again this year. Reservoir used a corner kick by senior Katlyn Axenfeld to secure a 1-0 victory over Huntingtown on Nov. 18.
“I can’t reiterate the almost uncertainty that we had going into the season after losing so many players from last year. We knew that we had a solid core back and the talent was there,” said Sullivan.
The Gators (15-3-1 overall) finished the season ranked third in the final VSN metro area Top 20 poll. Sullivan’s efforts have garnered him Varsity Sports Network’s Girls Soccer Coach of the Year honors.
Winning the title wasn’t easy, throughout the season Reservoir had to shuffle its lineup repeatedly when the injury bug hit the team.
“Last year, hardly anybody got injured. We didn’t really have any tests but this year, with a bunch of people getting hurt, that was a major test and it really made us come together as a team,” said Sullivan, who has a 42-10-3 career mark at Reservoir.”
Spivey goal in IAAM title game
Spivey assist on game winner
Spivey goal against Mercy
Sullivan championship post-game interview