Paula Hagopian's talent on the soccer field is so obvious she was named Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year even though her Kingswood Oxford team finished with a record below .500 last season.
Hagopian, a senior forward, collected 13 goals and 10 assists as a senior, when Kingswood Oxford went 5-7-2. She was also the 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches' Association Player of the Year, and has twice been selected as an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America.
“Paula is so strong that defenders bounce off her,” said Matt Micros, a club coach with Connecticut FC. “She can hold the ball up well and also spin defenders with ease. What she lacks in technique she more than makes up for with power and pace.”
Hagopian led Kingswood Oxford to the 2010 New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class B championship and completed her career with 56 goals and 35 assists. She will continue her soccer career at Yale next fall.
Past winners of the award include Riley Houle (2010–11, Windham), Kate McCarthy, (2009-10, Loomis Chaffee), Jessica Schloth (2008–09, St. Joseph), Alex Uscilla (2007-08, St. Joseph), and Bianca D’Agostino (2006-07, Loomis Chaffee).
Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran (Connecticut), Ansonia running back Montrell Dobbs (Temple), New Canaan quarterback Turner Baty (Kansas) and Cheshire Academy wide receiver/defensive back Malik Golden (Penn State) were among the players from Connecticut who submitted a signed letter of intent on Feb. 1, the first day NLIs could be accepted by colleges.
Dobbs spent last season at Milford Academy, and Baty committed after spending a season at City College of San Francisco.
Here are the other in-state players who signed with a Division I or Division II school:
Tyler Matakevich, LB, St. Joseph (Temple)
Austin Calitro, LB, Danbury (Villanova)
Rennick Bryan, OL, Hillhouse (Connecticut)
Brandon Schmidt, QB/DB, Bethel (Army)
Ardian Sahinovic, PK, New Fairfield (Cornell)
Mike Money, OL, Fairfield Warde (Central Connecticut)
John Turner, LB, Ridgefield (Holy Cross)
Brandon Cusmano, WR, Masuk (Central Connecticut)
Marko Piedmont, OL/DL, Willton (Bryant)
Aaron Dixon, DB, Danbury (Bryant)
Mac Morlock, OL/DL, Newtown (Bryant)
David Camille, RB, Bunnell (St. Anselm)
Brandon Williams, DL, Bassick (New Haven)
Don Cherry, LB, Trumbull (Villanova)
Jevon Elmore, RB, New London (Army)
Tommy Undercuffler, WR, Berlin (Yale)
Eddie Glenn, LB, North Haven (Akron)
Aaron Berardino, WR/DB, Windsor (Central Connecticut)
Ryan Murphy, TE/DB, Xavier (Southern Connecticut)
Austin Wezenski, OL, Xavier (Central Connecticut)
Cre’Shon Morrison, RB, Capital Prep/Classical (Central Connecticut)
Pat D’Amato, QB, Xavier, QB (Stony Brook)
Ryan Jacobucci, DB, Xavier (New Haven)
Sebastian Little, WR/LB, Cheshire (Yale)
Jovan Santos-Knox, LB, Xavier (Massachusetts)
Joe DeMichele, LB, Hand (Central Connecticut)
Nick Vitale, WR, Hand (Stony Brook)
Shaun Bowman, DL, Cheshire (Sacred Heart)
Billy Weyrauch, RB, Cheshire (Stonehill)
Mike Antonio, WR, Cromwell (Southern Connnecticut)
Devin Silverman, K, Berlin (Southern Connecticut)
HOLMES, DUNN AMONG ELITE
Hillhouse senior Bria Holmes is one of 24 girls basketball players nationwide – and the first from Connecticut – to be selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game, which will be held March 28 at the United Center in Chicago.
Holmes, a 6-foot-1 forward, has committed to play for West Virginia next season. She has helped Hillhouse win three consecutive state titles.
New London guard Kris Dunn was picked to play in the boys game. Dunn has committed to Providence.
Both games can be seen on ESPNU. The girls game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., and the boys game will follow at 9:30 p.m.
GRIPPO EARNS MILESTONE VICTORY
Morgan girls basketball coach Joe Grippo collected his 500th career victory when the Huskies defeated North Branford 60-22 Thursday night.
Grippo, who became Morgan's varsity coach in 1982, guided the Huskies the the Class M state championship in 1996 and 2000. He has also won more the 500 games as Morgan's girls' volleyball coach.
NORTWEST CATHOLIC LOSES TOP SCORER
According to a story in the Hartford Courant, guard Zach Lewis has been dismissed from the Northwest Catholic boys' basketball team.
Northwest Catholic coach John Mirabello told the paper that the situation was a “private matter.”
Lewis was averaging 22.3 points per contest and was the team's leading scorer. He opened the season by scoring 43 points – one shy of the school record held by Steve Balkun – during a victory over New Britain.
Lewis hasn't played for Northwest Catholic since Jan. 31, when he scored 28 points in a 57-44 win over Farmington.
Roger Brown has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992. He publishes the New Hampshire Football Report, and covers high school football recruiting in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.