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2011 All-County Girls Soccer: Afzali is Saints' 'Little Messi'

December 07, 2011|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Saint James junior forward Mary-Kate Afzali is The Herald-Mail's 2011 Washington County Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Lionel Messi is small in stature and big-time in performance. The Barcelona striker, who is only 5 1/2 feet tall, is the two-time reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, known for terrorizing defenses with his extraordinary dribbling skills and lightning-quick acceleration.

“People call me ‘Little Messi,’” said Mary-Kate Afzali, Saint James’ 5-foot-1 junior striker, “because I’m small and use my moves to get around people, just like Messi.”

Afzali might not be the best player in the world, but she is The Herald-Mail’s 2011 Washington County Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

Afzali scored a single-season school-record 21 goals this year in 11 games, to go along with seven assists, leading the Saints to a 6-5 record for their first winning season in nearly a decade. She led the county in goals, points (49) and points per game (4.46).

“I basically just get on the field and play my heart out,” Afzali said. “I don’t really think about scoring, I just play and try to get everyone involved.”

She scored nearly 60 percent of Saint James’ goals this year, all while being the target of opposing teams’ defenses.

“That she was still able to put up such great numbers is a tribute to her abilities,” Saint James coach Ted Camp said. “She’s a little small and a lot of teams try to knock her around a bit, but she has such tremendous foot skills that she just moves. She’s quick to look for other teammates, and she knows when to shoot. She’s just a tremendous player, and she’s tough as nails.”

Afzali also does much more than just lead the Saints by example.

“She’s like having another coach on the field,” Camp said.

“I try to direct the other girls,” Afzali said, “because some of them haven’t played soccer before, and I try to be a leader and help them out.”

Joining Afzali on The Herald-Mail’s all-county first team are:

Tori Albert, Clear Spring

The junior goalkeeper made a whopping 180 saves for the Blazers this year.

Casey Arnone, Williamsport

The senior midfielder was the Wildcats’ do-it-all leader, defending, attacking and winning 50-50 balls. She had five goals and five assists.

Theresa Barton, St. Maria Goretti

The senior forward led the Gaels with 14 goals and a county-best nine assists.

Emily Cronise, Boonsboro

The junior defender helped the Warriors hold opponents to a mere 11 goals in 15 games.

Abby Duncan, Boonsboro

The speedy junior midfielder led all county public school players in scoring with 14 goals and six assists.

Ashlyn Hawbaker, Boonsboro

The senior forward continued to stand out with her ball control. She had seven goals and two assists.

Tricia Hawkins, Boonsboro

The senior midfielder was the Warriors’ game controller and key distributor.

Miranda Kearney, Clear Spring

The senior stood out defensively with her speed and contributed to the offense with three goals and six assists.

Tia Kline, North Hagerstown

The senior led the county-champion Hubs on defense and was one of their top scorers with four goals.

Erin Palmer, Williamsport

The sophomore led a Wildcats defense that posted a county-best nine shutouts.

Rachel Poffenberger, Smithsburg

The senior forward was one of the county’s top scoring threats, finishing with a team-high 10 goals.

Bre Springer, Boonsboro

The sophomore goalkeeper had a county-best 0.73 goals-against average.

Morgan Thompson, Boonsboro

The senior defender was the only county player to garner all-state honors, earning honorable-mention status.

Lizzie Willis, Williamsport

The freshman forward recorded a team-high 18 points for the Wildcats with seven goals and four assists.

ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM

Elizabeth Balog

Sophomore, Forward, North Hagerstown

Jessica Barnhart

Senior, Midfielder, Clear Spring

Leah Cadigan

Freshman, Forward, Boonsboro

Rose Chiumento

Senior, Defender, Saint James

Grace Clark

Junior, Defender, Smithsburg

Annie Cochran

Senior, Forward, St. Maria Goretti

Justyna Jordan

Junior, Midfielder, Smithsburg

Tori Mills, Freshman

Forward, South Hagerstown

Madeleine Niang

Junior, Defender, South Hagerstown

Julia Price

Junior, Goalkeeper, Williamsport

Amber Smith

Senior, Defender, Boonsboro

Emily Smith

Senior, Goalkeeper, North Hagerstown

Regan Stout

Sophomore, Midfielder, Williamsport

Samantha Taylor

Junior, Defender, Williamsport

Morgan Wilcox

Sophomore, Midfielder, North Hagerstown

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