Commentary

Ohai, Skipper earn top honors

Updated: January 14, 2010, 11:06 PM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPN RISE

Boys Fall All-America | Boys Fall First Team, Coach Bios | Boys Fall State-by-State Stars

Girls Fall All-America | Girls Fall First Team, Coach Bios | Girls Fall State-by-State Stars

Fall girls' soccer player capsules

Coach of the Year: Ken Skipper, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)

Win or lose, the Skipper was jumping ship.

Ken Skipper had decided before the season that 2009 would be his last as the girls' soccer coach at Portland (Ore.) Jesuit after 12 years. Only school administrators and family knew of his decision, and all were on hand as Jesuit defeated rival Westview 2-0 to capture the program's fifth state title. At a party following the contest, he finally told the team of his decision to retire. In 12 years as Jesuit's coach, Skipper's teams won 10 league titles and compiled a 178-17-18 record.

Player of the Year: Kealia Ohai, Alta (Sandy, Utah)

The honor is titled player of the year, but to truly appreciate Ohai's value is to look at the entire career worth of performances. The North Carolina-bound forward was the Deseret News Miss Soccer and the Salt Lake Tribune Class 5A MVP after scoring 34 goals with 13 assists and leading Alta to a record fourth straight state title. Alta finished the season ranked No. 30 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50. Ohai led or tied all Utah Class 5A players in scoring all four years in high school. She finished her career with 126 goals as Alta won 74 of the 80 matches (74-5-1) it played with her in the lineup.

FIRST TEAM BIOS

Forwards

Elizabeth Burchenal, St. Ursula (Cincinnati, Ohio), Sr.
Burchenal is a repeat ESPN RISE first-team selection. The North Carolina-bound forward had 37 goals and 14 assists this past season while being named the Ohio State Soccer Coaches Association Division I Player of the Year. Burchenal finished her career with more than 100 goals to become the school's all-time leader in goals and scoring. St. Ursula was the preseason No. 1 team, but was upset in the season opener. The squad went on to win 18 straight matches before a postseason loss that landed the squad at No. 22 in the final FAB 50 rankings for the fall.

Crystal Dunn, South Side (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Sr.
The North Carolina-bound striker missed last season while playing for the U.S. under-17 team at the World Championships. Dunn returned to high school ball this fall and earned Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year honors after helping South Side to a Class A state title and a No. 9 final ranking in the ESPN RISE fall rankings. Dunn had 20 goals and 11 assists and had a goal and/or assist in all but one match.

F: Kealia Ohai, Alta (Sandy, Utah), Sr.
See Player of the Year.

Taylor Schram, Canon-McMillan (Canonsburg, Pa.), Sr.
Schram was one of the nation's top scorers, finishing the season with 52 goals and 13 assists. The Penn State commit was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year. Schram finished her career with 145 goals and 45 assists.

Midfielders

Sarah Bridges, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.), Sr.
Bridges' value to Portland Jesuit went well beyond the numbers. This Portland-bound senior led Jesuit to its first state title since 2002 and the ESPN RISE FAB 50 fall No. 1 ranking. Bridges, who had nine goals and seven assists, was the Portland Oregonian Class 6A player of the year. Her coach, Ken Skipper, said Bridges rates among the top five players he's ever coached and said she was often the player who set up the play that led to goals.

Hayley Brock, Acton-Boxborough (Acton, Mass.), Sr.
Brock, like Samantha Mewis and Crystal Dunn, returned to play high school soccer in 2009 after spending the 2008 fall with the U.S. under-17 national team. Brock's 31 goals and 14 assists helped Acton-Boxborough to a state runner-up finish and a FAB 50 No. 23 final ranking. Despite missing most of her junior season, Brock ended with 75 career goals and 39 assists.

Kaitlyn Kerr, Pennington School (Pennington, N.J.), Sr.
After Kerr helped her club team win a national title in the summer, she almost added a second high school title to the record books. However, Pennington Prep finished No. 5 in the FAB 50 following a 16-1-2 season where Kerr dominated the show. The Duke commit had 15 goals and a school-record 20 assists, and she was named the Prep Player of the Year by the Newark Star-Ledger. Kerr ended her career with 52 goals and 50 assists.

Samantha Mewis, Whitman-Hanson (Whitman, Mass.), Jr.
Mewis is one of the nation's most decorated youth players, yet she made time to represent her high school. Mewis, who was recently called into the under-20 national team camp with college players, was dominant on the high school side, scoring 32 goals with 12 assists to earn Patriot League MVP honors. A junior who has committed to UCLA, Mewis was the Boston Globe Division 1 Player of the Year. Mewis missed the 2008 season while playing for the under-17 U.S. national team in the World Championships. Her return to Whitman-Hanson led to the program's first Division 1 South title and a No. 47 FAB 50 final ranking.

Meagan Morris, Montclair (N.J.), Sr.
Morris was named the Star-Ledger Player of the Year following a 19-goal, 10-assist season for the North Carolina-bound midfielder. Morris is a member of the U.S. under-18 national team.

Defenders

Kirsten Frank, Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.), Sr.
Frank was the anchor on defense for a Spalding team that shut out 15 opponents and went 20-0-1 to earn the FAB 50 No. 3 final ranking. Frank was a Washington Post and Baltimore Sun All-Met first-team selection. The Ohio University commit started 85 of the program's 86 games over the past four years.

Kassey Kallman, Woodbury (Minn.), Sr.

Kallman was the nation's top high school defender and has the numbers to prove it. The Florida State commit anchored a defense that shutout 34 of the last 45 opponents it faced. Kallman was the only girls' soccer defender named state player of the year, earning the Minnesota State Soccer Coaches' Class AA Miss Soccer honor. Kallman's play helped Woodbury to a FAB 50 No. 15 final ranking.

Goalkeeper

Ashley Szalwinski, Noblesville (Ind.), Sr.
Repeating perfection was impossible, yet Szalwinski proved her 2008 season was no fluke. After helping Noblesville shutout every team it faced in 2008, Szalwinski returned in 2009 to record 14 shutouts and post a 0.30 goals against average. She was named to the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association first-team all-state squad. She has committed to Duquesne.