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Eagle senior tops Independent’s girls’ soccer all-star team

ADDISON COUNTY — Although none of the area high school girls’ soccer teams ultimately ended up winning a playoff game, all were competitive this season — putting it in baseball terms, they were tough outs.
In part, that’s because all four squads benefitted from the outstanding individual efforts that are recognized here in the 2016 Addison Independent Girls’ All-Star Soccer Team.
Leading the team once again is Mount Abraham’s Ernesta McIntosh, who repeats as the Addison Independent Player of the Year despite a major change in her role for Coach Dustin Corrigan’s 7-8 Eagles. Two of her teammates join McIntosh on the Independent squad.
Coach Wendy Leeds’ Middlebury group counted four one-goal losses and two 0-0 ties in finishing 5-8-2, the first sub-.500 season in several years for what has become an established program. Three Tigers, two juniors and a senior, are honored here.
Likewise, Co-Coaches Dwight Irish and Peter Maneen’s Vergennes girls finished 5-9-1 but were also competitive in every contest, with four one-goal and five two-goal setbacks. Three Commodores, a senior, a sophomore and a freshman, made this team.
Here’s a familiar story: Coach Rick Hedding’s Otter Valley team lost four one-goal and two two-goal games in going 5-10. Two senior mainstays and a junior goalie earned recognition here.
Selections were made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Because final choices from each team were close and other players were also deserving, honorable mentions were added this time. Congratulations to the following:
ERNESTA MCINTOSH, MOUNT ABE SENIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: All-around talent who repeats as the top Independent pick even after an early season switch from midfield to right back, a move made after Mount Abe was outscored, 16-4, in their first five games … Eagles earned a 18-10 scoreboard edge in their final 10 games, and McIntosh was named the Lake Division Defensive Player of the Year a year after being the league’s Offensive Player of the Year … Playing only part-time at midfield and still led the Eagles in goals (6) and assists (4) … Tireless, fast, skilled, strong, tenacious and, clearly, versatile.
Corrigan’s Quotes: “Nesta is a really complete player. There’s not a lot of chinks in her armor … She’s got the whole package as far as the technical ability and the athleticism, going forward and defending … In her four years here we’ve won the league championship twice, won the state championship once … She was a great captain this year, and she’s just a great kid. We’re going to miss her.”
HELEN ANDERSON, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Tough, determined two-way player at midfield who led the Tigers with eight goals and five assists … Possesses a real knack of winning balls, even against much bigger players, with great balance and tenacity … Strong finisher who strikes the ball well and possesses good field vision and touch on the ball … Uses her stamina to harass opponents at midfield.
Leeds’ Quotes: “She has a phenomenal work ethic … She’s speedy and strong and loves the challenge of taking on her opponents one-v-one … Helen is fiercely competitive, a relentless nuisance to opponents in the midfield … She embodies the saying, ‘Fire in the belly, ice in the mind’ … Helen is an impact player not only in terms of her skill set but also in terms of her attitude and passion on the field.”
ANDI BOE, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Skilled, quick midfielder who keyed the Tigers’ possession game and transition from defense to offense … Scored seven goals and dished two assists despite often being the focus of opposing defenses … Dangerous scorer with the ability to strike from long range … Took many corner kicks and restarts in the final third of the field … Defended well and showed great anticipation of passing lanes.
Leeds’ Quotes: “She has absolutely superb touch on the ball, excellent decision-making and confidence on the one-v-one … She was highly effective under pressure, always looking for attacking opportunities, but quick to unselfishly distribute to teammates … She was intensely focused and competitive, but also fun-loving and sportsmanlike … Andi leads by example, always puts the team first.”
MEGAN ROONEY, VUHS SENIOR. Notes: After a season in which the Commodores needed her speed and skills at midfield, returned to her first varsity home at sweeper and excelled … Had the quickness to range from sideline to sideline to break up plays and the closing speed to run down opponents from behind … Consistent decision-maker who did not put her team in danger with mistakes or missed kicks, but also had the technical ability to trigger the attack.
Maneen’s Quotes: “Megan had a great year … She’s always had the attributes to be a good sweeper … She’s so fast. People can’t stay with her … She sometimes singlehandedly kept us in games … She recognized when was the time to clear the ball out, and when was the time to transition and start our offense … What can you not say about her? The compete was there, the aggressiveness, reading things. She was outstanding. She was our MVP.”
KESS MOULTON, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Smart, physical stopper who broke up countless plays in the Tiger half of the field … Skilled player who took most of the Tigers’ long-range restarts and regularly stepped into the attack, scoring a goal, distributing the ball well and setting up chances … Strong communicator and team captain who helped organize the Tiger back line.
Leeds’ Quotes: “Kess is a tireless workhorse at stopper … She’s strong and fearless in the air and has tremendous power on the free kick … She offered consistent vocal support out of the back … Kess is a student of the game … As fiercely competitive as anyone, Kess works hard every minute that she is on the field … She has been an exemplary leader since her freshman year … She loves her team and the game. Nothing could be more obvious when watching her play.”
OLIVIA DREW, OV SENIOR. Notes: Speedy, skilled and physical forward who led all local players with 10 goals and 10 assists despite being the focus of opposing defenses … Could take on opponents one-on-one or finish passes into the box equally well … In the past two years has totaled 23 goals and 19 assists … As relentless harassing defenders who have the ball as she is attacking the goal.
Hedding’s Quotes: “Her genuine passion for the sport of soccer shines through in everything she does … Because she is the definition of intensity and commitment, it is very easy for her to act as a leader and inspiration for others … Most teams we play make it a priority to mark her tight, and she has learned to use that to the team’s advantage, making the great passes she does … Her efforts outside of the pitch have developed her as a very good player with great technical ability.
JILLIAN FLANDERS, OV SENIOR. Notes: Excellent defender and strong tackler at sweeper who improved her already solid skills this season to help spark the Otter offense, routinely making smart passes out of the back or carrying the ball into the attack … Scored one goal and assisted another … Tough to beat one-v-one, and has the speed to support her teammates or track down opponents.
Hedding’s Quotes:“Jillian demonstrates a willingness to compete and train with intensity and effort … Her innate ability to be in the right place at the right time is fantastic … She has developed the awareness to play the ball to a player up the field, passing with purpose and starting an attack from the backfield … I often found myself saying to myself, ‘OK, Jillian has it’ … As a captain she is positive, upbeat and works hard to foster team unity.”
LYDIA PITTS, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: A year after tying for the Eagle goal-scoring lead, switched back to defense along with McIntosh to help spark the team turnaround … Used her speed and athleticism at left back to shut down opposing wings, and used her offensive skills to move the ball well out of the back … Also occasionally moved back up front and scored twice, including an overtime game-winner vs. VUHS.
Corrigan’s Quotes: “Lydia did really, really well at outside back … Lydia was definitely one who put ‘we’ before ‘me’ and would do what gave the team the best chance to get results on the field, and if that meant playing outside back, she was certainly willing to do it … We certainly didn’t get beaten for pace down that side of the field … She was very well balanced and had the coordination and agility to keep attackers in front of her … After winning the ball, she could transition to attack.”
EMILY ROONEY, VUHS FRESHMAN. Notes: Playing mostly at central midfield, scored eight goals and added an assist … Converted a high percentage of her opportunities: eight of 14 shots on net went in … Smart player who sees passing lanes and moves the ball quickly and purposefully … Tough defender who keeps pressure on opponents.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She’s not your typical freshman. She’s a little light in stature, but she plays a lot bigger than she is … She reads the game so well. She’s got such great anticipation that she puts herself in position to win balls … Ideally we would have liked to keep her up top, but we needed her ball-winning in the middle … Her feel for the game and her skill sets her apart … She doesn’t back down … She’s got the drive to want to be really good.”
CASEY OBER, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Excellent defensive midfielder with strong ball-winning and distribution skills … Welcomed and handled well the extra responsibilities at central midfield after the Eagles’ early-season changes … Stepped into the attack and scored three goals and set up three more.
Corrigan’s Quotes: “She does a lot of things well … It was hard to have her off the field … She was the heart of the middle of the field for us … She just had a real good sense of the positioning, where to be to give us balance in the middle of the field … She’s very tough. She wins balls, wins tackles … She could find attacking spaces and switch the point of attack when we needed to … She’s not the tallest, but she wins the balls in the air.”
CIARA MCCLAY, VUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: Led the Commodores with nine goals, and set up two more scores … After two years has scored 17 goals … Has a strong shot and can score from long range, and can get off shots quickly … Good passer who sees the field well and also serves well from the flanks.
Maneen’s Quotes: “She’s a goal-scorer … She’s a heck of a player … When she has the ball, she’s dangerous. She can score from 25 yards and in … She can strike it, and strike it solid … Set plays, she’s very dangerous there … She’s poised … She’s really going to take off as a goal-scorer in our league.”
GABBY POALINO, OV JUNIOR GOALIE. Notes: Tall, strong and athletic goalie who racked up 150 saves in 15 games in just her second fulltime year on the job … Ranged out of her goal — often far out — to disrupt many more chances, picking up through-ball attempts and picking off crosses … Strong punter and smart distributer with the ball.
Hedding’s Quotes: “Her reaction time and her ability to stay on track with the arc of the ball is really good … Her mobility is really good … She comes off her line quite a bit, but it’s actually quite effective … She never backs down from anything … Her ability to come out and actually make the save one-v-one is really good. She does that a lot … She has all the natural abilities of a goalkeeper … She made some really good top-corner saves.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Caroline Johnston, senior midfielder, VUHS; Abbie Pinkowski, senior midfielder, OV; Darcy Staats, senior defender, MUHS; and Abby Mansfield, junior striker, Mount Abe.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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