The 2013 fall high school season is officially in the rearview. That means that 37 states have stashed their game gear, some for good until August and some until the opposite gender fires up again in the spring.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of how some of the nation’s best teams and players finished out the fall.
Top 5 Power Rankings
1. McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.): This spot has been owned by St. Benedict’s in each of the last two years thanks to a pair of perfect, dominant seasons. But Salesianum’s upset opened the door for McDonogh, which was on another level in the toughest region for high school soccer in the country. The school’s 21-0-1 record was a first in MIAA A history, a sure sign of how even things usually are here. A last-ditch goal from NSCAA/TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Week Michael DeShields sealed the title in the finale, giving McDonogh its best season in history and the nation’s fall-end top spot.
2. Salesianum (Wilmington, Del.): Who would’ve guessed the power from Delaware would’ve been the one to end St. Benedict’s record run? In October, Salesianum traveled to the belly of the beast and got a late goal for a 1-0 win to snap the Gray Bees’ incredible 71-game winning streak. A 17-0-1 season capped by a 5-2 romp in the state title game wrapped up the school’s ninth in 11 years, sealing a season of special merit for the Delaware power.
3. St. Dominic (O’Fallon, Mo.): If a 26-0-0 season can seem preordained, this is as close as it gets. The Missouri power notched defeats of both Christian Brothers and Chaminade, who played in the state title game last year. That announced the private school’s ascendency as the one to beat in the state, and nobody was up to the challenge. It was only the third time in state history a team marked down a perfect record for an entire season, capped by a 3-0 win over Carthage in the Class 2 title game.
4. St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.): The mighty haven’t exactly fallen, but a step back, perhaps. St. Benedict’s hadn’t lost in several years until Salesianum came to its house and ended a streak that was just three games short of tying the national high school record. Still, the Gray Bees recovered to win their 25th consecutive state title and finish with a 20-1-0 record. A 9-0 win over Princeton-area school Peddie in the title game assured a season with a single blemish didn’t end with a whimper.
5. Suffield (West Suffield, Conn.): Pound for pound, Suffield might not stand up to the might of teams like St. Benedict’s and Ohio’s Mason. But the small Connecticut power’s 20-0-0 season was the first perfect season in the state in a decade and marked its third consecutive state title. That kind of sustained success deserves its place in the sun.
1. Maria Carrillo (Santa Rosa, Calif.): TopDrawerSoccer.com profiled Maria Carrillo back in October, and while talented, the team assumed the posture of a rebuilding team. An early trip to a power-packed tournament in Maryland proved that wasn’t the case, with a win over McDonogh and a scoreless draw against loaded Good Counsel on foreign turf proving the Pumas could stand toe-to-toe with the best. After a second consecutive unbeaten season, 20-0-1 Maria Carrillo is the fall No. 1 for the second consecutive year.
2. Northern Highlands (Allendale, N.J.): The Highlanders had a plumb 65-game winning streak snapped earlier this season when they drew Immaculate Heart 0-0 in the Bergen County tourney. But it didn’t interrupt their unbeaten run, which stretched to 72 with a 2-0 win over Toms River in the Group 3 state final. That gave the program a 23-0-1 record and a third consecutive state title.
3. Neshaminy (Langhorne, Pa.): The Bucks County program proved its elite status in 2013 by going 25-0-0 and taking the Class AAA state title with a 2-1 win over Spring-Ford in OT. There’s an argument to be made that Neshaminy is the most complete defensive team in the country, and they proved it with their run to the state title game in a rugged, competitive area.
4. Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio): Winning state titles in Ohio is serious business. Walsh Jesuit, which has produced a number of prime college players down the years, managed to navigate past fellow top program Mason 2-0 in the Division I title game for its seventh state title and second in a row. That was despite the loss of top scorer Halle Stelbasky before the season and the fact that freshman stud Sofia Rossi missed more than a month with a broken leg. Rossi completed her comeback by scoring the first goal in the title game to secure an unbeaten 20-0-3 season.
5. Houston (Germantown, Tenn.): This was an emotional year for Houston, which won the Tennessee Class AAA state title with a 3-1 win over Ravenwood to cap a 23-0-1 season. Rezoning votes in the school’s region could dramatically alter the makeup of the school next season when six suburban areas form new districts. That would likely break up the core of the team’s title-winning roster, but they made it count while they were still together. Houston spent some time as the No. 1 team in the nation this year.
Most Valuable Players
George Campbell, McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.): The candidate for Gatorade High School Player of the Year more than deserves the accolades he’s garnered over his polished high school career. The senior striker scored 25 goals and assisted on 13 more this season, and the Maryland(m) commit can stake an honest claim as perhaps the most prodigious high school talent in the country. He helped lead McDonogh to a 21-0-1 record and a state title.
Michael Riedford, Evansville Memorial High School (Evansville, Ind.): There’s little question that Riedford is one of the best high school talents in the nation. The 2014 committed to last year’s national champ Indiana in February and was so valuable and malleable that he played nearly every outfield position this season for 17-2-5 Memorial. He projects as a box-to-box midfielder at the next level, and his numbers (36 goals, 10 assists) prove he can do a bit of everything.
Christo Michaelson, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.): Michaelson has quickly become the face of high school soccer in Oregon over the last two years. He was named the Oregonian’s Class 6A boys soccer player of the year for a second consecutive year this season after leading national power Jesuit to a second straight state title. He struck for nine goals and 10 assists this year, but he slotted in at a variety of positions and was often asked to break out the spade at the back. He’ll be able to slot in at a variety of spots next season for Gonzaga.
Sydney Sladek, Pahrump Valley High School (Pahrump, Nev.): You’d be hard-pressed to find a more prolific high school player in the nation than Sladek. While Pahrump Valley’s season (and 22-game win streak) ended with a disappointing thud in a 3-2 I-A state title game loss, Sladek scored both goals to put a cherry on her senior year. After scoring 78 goals last season, the Southern Cal commit snapped the state record for career goals in October at 154 and put up numbers the state of Nevada has never seen in girls soccer.
Brittany LaPlant, Queensbury High School (Queensbury, N.Y.): New York has a distinguished history in girls high school soccer, and none are more famous than native daughter Abby Wambach. LaPlant surpassed the lot in productivity in 2013 by scoring 73 goals in 18 games to snap the state record for goals in a season. As a sophomore. Over her first two seasons in high school, the Rutgers commit already has 147 goals. The state’s career girls goals record of 208 seems well within reach.
Bizzy Phillips, Alta High School (Sandy, Utah): The BYU commit put in a season worthy of her hype in 2013, reprising her Utah Gatorade Player of the Year season from 2012 with another prolific season. She scored 23 goals this season en route to Alta’s quarterfinal finish to pump up her career tally to 58. She’s the school’s career assists leader with 60 and was named to the first girls NSCAA national all-star game this month.