ADDISON COUNTY — No local high school girls’ soccer teams will be hanging championship banners in their gyms after this fall, when the four local squads combined for just 12 wins.
But each team had rays of hope for the future in the progress of younger players and in moments when practice paid off in progress and attractive soccer. And each saw fine individual performances recognized here in the 2009 Addison Independent Girls’ Soccer All-Star Team.
Vergennes co-coaches Dwight Irish and Peter Maneen’s team had the best local record, 7-9, and easily the best representation on the Independent squad: Seven players, including senior back Molly Brigan, the Addison Independent Player of the Year, are honored. It’s also fair to note that three of the VUHS losses came to Division II champ Milton, one came to the D-II top seed, and three more were to 12-win D-I squads.
First-year coach Dustin Corrigan’s young Mount Abe team finished at 3-12, with three setbacks by one goal and five by two goals. Only three times all season did the Eagles surrender more than two goals. Two Eagle seniors are honored here.
Coach Dick Williams’ OV team compiled a 2-12-1 mark. OV often possessed and passed well at midfield, but at times fared less well at either end of the field. A speedy senior wing earned a spot on the Independent team.
Coach Jen Clark saw her Middlebury Tigers play respectable defense during a 0-12-2 campaign that included two 0-0 ties, four 1-0 losses and four 2-0 setbacks. Fittingly, a senior defender merited recognition on the Independent squad.
Selections for the Independent team are based on observation, consultation with the coaches and statistics. Congratulations to the following:
MOLLY BRIGAN, VUHS SENIOR DEFENDER, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Flank defender who moved to central defense this year and thrived after working hard in the off season to learn her new role ... Strong, quick, skilled and hard to the ball ... Good one-on-one defender who read plays well and always seemed to be in the right place ... Made good decisions with the ball, passing accurately to start the offense when time permitted, or quickly clearing the ball if necessary.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She’s a player who really dedicated herself over the spring and summer ... She had a knack for putting herself in a good position ... Her timing for when to step up and tackle the ball was outstanding ... She’s so smart ... She plays where the ball is going to be, not where it is ... She was a vocal leader, always encouraging, and at the same time demanding everyone out there was playing as hard as they can play.”
GEN COHN, VUHS SENIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Complete player who excelled at central midfield despite being slowed by an ankle injury ... Probably overall the most talented local soccer player, with excellent ball skills, strength, striking ability and sense of the game ... Aggressive attacker who scored two goals, set up one ... Fine defender with the ability to anticipate.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She’s a player that thrives in the middle ... Our team was playing our best soccer when she was at 100 percent ... She really has talent. She’s got a great first touch. She’s got great field vision ... She’s fearless, doesn’t back down ... She was a great two-way player.”
RIKKI CLOUTIER, VUHS SENIOR DEFENDER. Notes: Versatile athlete who filled several roles for VUHS and used her strength and tireless effort to do well in each ... Started out and thrived on defense, then moved to midfield when injuries struck there ... Finally moved up front to spark the attack for four games, and responded with two goals and two assists.
Maneen’s Quotes: “The other team had to be aware of where she was because she’s just a relentless player ... She accepts any role she’s given and plays it as well as she can ... She is a very physically gifted player. She’s got the size. She’s got the speed ... She’s not a girl you want to stand in front of.”
ELIZA duPONT, MOUNT ABE SENIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Versatile former defender and wing who stepped into a central midfield role this season and stabilized the Eagles there ... Excellent ball-winner with well-rounded skills who created chances for her teammates with her passing ability ... Typically shut down opposing central midfielders defensively.
Corrigan’s Quotes: “She’s got a very good sense of the game ... She was our best player on both sides of the ball ... She did raise the level of players around her ... We needed a player with her technical ability in the middle of the field ... She’s steady, and she’s a quiet leader.”
GRETA KRAHN, VUHS JUNIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Consistent, strong, talented player who brought stability to the VUHS midfield ... Solid ball-winner with good field vision who scored two goals and set up one ... Excelled at taking free kicks from her flank position ... Fine defender, both in one-on-one play and in recognizing passing lanes.
Maneen’s Quotes: “Greta was the constant in the midfield ... She was strong. You can’t knock her off the ball ... When she was in that zone, there wasn’t a player we played against she couldn’t shut down ... She just had a tremendous, tremendous year for us.”
NATALIE MCCLAY, VUHS SENIOR FORWARD. Notes: Clever, skilled forward who led VUHS with six goals and set up two more despite being slowed by an injury three-quarters of the way through the season ... Accurate shooter who made the most of her opportunities ... Unselfish, hardworking player who always looked to set up runs for her teammates.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She really understands the game of soccer better than anyone I’ve ever coached ... She had a knack for putting the ball in the back of the goal ... She takes very few shots, but misses very few shots ... She’s just a natural leader ... She never stops working ... The rest of the team feeds off her tenacity.”
KENADI DATTILIO, VUHS JUNIOR FORWARD. Notes: Skilled scorer and passer who finished the season strong ... Scored five goals and added three assists ... Possesses a powerful leg and is dangerous from long range ... Three-year starter who reads plays well and creates chances for teammates.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She was our most skilled player with the ball ... She was able to break down her defender and generate offense for us ... She has the ability to strike the ball from 25 yards with either foot ... She’s an all-around forward. She’s not just a scorer, she’s a playmaker.”
BRITTANY YOUNG, OV SENIOR FORWARD. Notes: Right wing who became the Otters’ most consistent threat with her skills, terrific speed, quick first step and hard shot ... Scored three of OV’s eight goals, and set up another ... Also an excellent defender, both in pressuring opposing backs and coming back to harass midfielders.
Williams’ Quotes: “She was rather easily picked for the All-League, because all the coaches remember her ... She has good moves ... She has excellent speed ... Our opposition doesn’t really have an answer for her speed. She routinely makes her way down the sideline past one defender and sometimes more than one.”
ROSALIE WRIGHT-LAPIN, MUHS JUNIOR DEFENDER. Notes: Speedy, aggressive defender who took on a variety of assignments, sometimes marking specific players, sometimes playing centrally or on the flank ... Used her quickness to defend well individually or support her teammates.
Clark’s Quotes: “She took command back there ... She took different roles on the defense depending what was needed and always did a good job ... No matter what she did she always did it well, with full determination ... Her speed is a huge factor. She could recover if she made a mistake ... For being as small as she is, she’s a huge presence on the field.”
TABBY DANYOW, VUHS SOPHOMORE DEFENDER. Notes: Fast, relentless defender often asked to mark opponents’ most dangerous forward ... Often used her quickness to deny opponents the ball ... Could gamble on making tackles or intercepting passes at midfield and still get back on defense.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She may be the fastest player in the state ... She has that knack for getting under the opposing player’s skin ... She has such a quick first step ... She stopped the opponents from ever touching the ball ... She never got beat and wasn’t able to recover ... The opposing players hated seeing Tabby on the field.”
SHANNA GEBO, MOUNT ABE SENIOR GOALIE. Notes: Tall, athletic and fearless goalie with a positive attitude ... Limited by injuries to 11.5 games, in which she made 80 saves, many of them challenging ... Came out of goal quickly to disrupt plays and prevent many more shots on goal ... Posted a shutout vs. Green Mountain Valley that was the Gumbies’ only regular-season loss.
Corrigan’s Quotes: “She made some saves that certainly would have beaten a lesser keeper ... She kept a lot of games close for us so that we competed ... Shanna did a great job this season really owning her goal area on services into the box and played well off her line stopping breakaway chances ... She was really good at inspiring and motivating her teammates.”