It doesn't get much better than girls soccer in Fayette County. When it came time to decide a state champion, three of the Final Four teams called Fayette home.
Though no county team won the title this year (that went to region foe Northgate), it was another prime example of the great soccer being played in the area. It seems like every year at least one of our teams is in the running for the trophy and this one was no different. Whitewater was back in the championship game for the fifth straight season. The last two years they played McIntosh for the title. This time they had to knock Starr's Mill out in the Final Four before they got their shot at Northgate, who had beaten McIntosh in the semifinals. You can expect one of our teams to be right back on top next year.
It was just not going to be fair to pick only one top player this year. Since they hit the pitch as freshmen, the two winners have been wowing opponents, coaches, and fans. Now as seniors, Gabby Seiler of McIntosh and Teegan VanGunst of Whitewater share Co-Player of the Year honors. Seiler's blinding quickness and footwork made defenses look foolish all year as she led the Chief attack. Seiler racked up 16 goals and 20 assists on the season. VanGunst's blend of power and grace made her a matchup nightmare all year as she sparked the Wildcats. VanGunst tallied 29 goals and 10 assists.
With three teams reaching the Final Four, you've got a host of good choices for coaching honors. One head man takes the nod though. John Bowen of Starr's Mill is the Coach of the Year. It's never a surprise to see the Lady Panthers playing well, but Bowen, in his first year at the helm, took a very young squad to the semifinals. Bowen's Panthers gave Whitewater the fight of their life in that one. Look for his team to be even more exciting next year with more experience under their belt.
The All-County first team is a truly awesome assemblage of talent. The forwards are led by Seiler and VanGunst with Abby Bartholomew of McIntosh. McIntosh racked up an awesome 30 goals and 14 assists.
The midfield is made up of Sarah Yoss of Starr's Mill, Caitlyn Dove of Fayette County, and Taylor Marks of Whitewater. Yoss's versatility was indispensable for the Panthers as well as her six goals and eight assists. Dove has signed to play at Piedmont College. Marks was the heart of an exciting Whitewater attack.
The defense is comprised of Annika VanGunst of Whitewater, Molly Moroney of Starr's Mill and McIntosh's Hannah Hartman and Taylor Dowse. VanGunst led a Whitewater defense that pitched 13 shutouts and allowed just 17 goals while she was on the field. Moroney helped notch 11 shutouts and was voted Starr's Mill's Team MVP. Hartman picked up five goals and two assists. Dowse notched 12 assists and four goals.
Kaitlin Deitrick is back as the All-County keeper. Deitrick pitched 13 shutouts and allowed just 16 goals in 22 games.
There is still tons of talent on the All-County second team.
The forwards are Jenna Currin and Kayla Feigenbaum of Starr's Mill with Whitewater's Brook Colangelo.
The midfielders are Abbie Reddig and Kenzie Winters of Whitewater and Amy Brewer of McIntosh.
The defenders are Rachel Catlett of Starr's Mill, Crystal Umilia of Fayette County and McIntosh' Corinne Wooten and Kaitlyn McBride.
Paige Betsill of Starr's Mill is the keeper.
A great group of girls are still left to be recognized, leaving an impressive list of honorable mentions. Starr's Mill's honorable mentions are Carly Pressgrove, Riley Clark, Leslie Logan, Dylan Patterson, and Claire Williams. Fayette County's honorable mentions are Jaslyn Faz and Caitlin Presley. Whitewater's honorable mention is Claire Messina.
Congratulations on another great season.
(Ed. Note: Sandy Creek and Our Lady of Mercy did not submit any nominations for the team)