High-scoring OV junior Olivia White tops Addison Independent all-star team
ADDISON COUNTY — A number of all-star players helped the Mount Abraham and Vergennes union high school girls’ soccer teams to identical 9-6-2 records this fall, and both the Eagles and Commodores made strong postseason runs.
But this fall’s top girls’ soccer player came from another program: High-scoring Otter Valley junior Olivia White helped a young squad to a .500 season, and White headlines the 2018 Addison Independent Girls’ Soccer Team as the Independent Player of the Year.
Coach John White’s Otters finished 7-8, and one more member of his team, a valuable junior defender, joins his daughter Olivia on the Independent team.
Ultimately, Co-Coaches Dwight Irish and Peter Maneen’s Commodores enjoyed the most playoff success by reaching the Division III final. They were sparked by two players, senior and junior midfielders, who missed most or all of 2018 with major injuries and were welcomed back this year by their team and the Independent team. A standout VUHS junior defender also earned a spot on the Independent roster.
Coach Dustin Corrigan’s Eagles came on strong at season’s end to lay claim to being probably the strongest local side — they saw a six-game winning streak snapped with a one-goal loss in a D-II semifinal. Four Eagles are honored here, all of them underclassmen.
Coach Wendy Leeds began expecting a rebuilding year for a young squad that included 10 freshmen and sophomores, and then saw a number of injuries strike as her program won an unusually low total of three games. Expect better in the future as abundant talent matures. Two Tigers, a senior and a junior, made the Independent team.
Selections were made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. With only two seniors in this group, good things surely await the local teams.
Congratulations to the following:
OLIVIA WHITE, OV JUNIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Versatile, skilled, fast all-around talent who filled the stat sheet with 27 goals and eight assists … Played mostly central midfield but also moved back to defense to help protect late leads or to striker if a rally was in order … Has excellent one-v-one skills, a powerful shot that allows her to score from 30-plus yards, field vision, pinpoint passing, and strong defending that add up to a complete package for a player who has committed to the University of Vermont and has competed at high levels of the sport.
Coach White’s Quotes: “She’s very athletic, physically strong with great balance … She has great speed with the ball and an arsenal of functional dribbling and defensive skills … Liv excels at all positions on the field, but midfield is her true calling … You never know if she is going to pass, shoot, dribble … She may make a game-saving slide tackle in our back third, and 30 seconds later score a goal on the other end.”
ADDY HARRIS, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Imposing and talented athlete who led the Eagles in points with five goals and five assists after starting at central defense, spending most of the season at central midfield, and finishing at striker … Relentless ball-winner with great stamina who made good decisions with the ball … Excellent defender and dangerous attacker, especially on corner kicks and balls lofted into the box.
Coach Corrigan’s Quotes: “She’s a very physical player. She’s in great shape, strong, with good size … She was disciplined tactically. She would get the ball and play it out of pressure, and seldom turned it over … She was really good with her head … She’s really relentless. She’s going 100 percent all the time. She leaves it all out there. That also sets the tone for the team … We needed a little more threat up top, and Addy was able to give us that.”
MAE PETERSON, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Tough, smart and tireless central midfielder with a knack for winning battles for the ball … Smart distributor who contributed three goals and three assists to the Eagle attack … Reliable defender, good one-on-one and positionally … Team leader and co-captain as a junior.
Coach Corrigan’s Quotes: “She’s an excellent ball-winner … She’s a really good leader … She’s in excellent physical shape … We seldom, if ever, were outplayed in that area of the field … She was very disciplined, always kept us in good balance … Defensively she’s excellent … She’s tough as nails … She tackles well. She keeps players in front of her. She recovers well, so she’s always back behind the ball when you need her … She’s just an excellent player.”
CIARA McCLAY, VUHS SENIOR. Notes: Former striker who moved to center midfield and finished second on the team in assists with six by using crisp ball movement … Relied on her powerful shot to record a team-high 11 goals, including a long-range bomb in a 1-0 win at Mt. Abe, and finished her career with 28 … Skilled, strong, determined, two-way player who came back on a mission after missing the 2017 season with an injury.
Co-Coach Maneen’s Quotes: “She can really strike a soccer ball … She worked hard in the offseason recovering from her injury and really got stronger … As a playmaker, she really added that dimension to her game … She comes to work every day … I think she was really dialed in to make sure to do whatever needed to be done this year to give us a chance to win and for her to have a memorable senior season.”
EMILY ROONEY, VUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Tireless, smart and talented four-year starter for VUHS at center midfield who excelled both offensively and defensively … Worked hard to bounce back from a knee injury that caused her to miss most of the 2017 season … Scored eight goals and assisted a team-high eight with smart passing and field vision … Late in the D-III semifinal sprinted 30 yards to preserve a 1-1 tie with a defensive save and then scored the overtime game-winner.
Co-Coach Maneen’s Quotes: “She is such a dominant ball-winner … She reads things and picks up other teams’ tendencies so well … She’s always breaking up other teams’ attacks … She just makes things happen for our team … She does a lot of the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that help your team win … She was definitely our leader on the field … She set the tone on how hard you have to work from the first whistle to the last whistle.”
ADA ANDERSON, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Heady, quick, skilled and determined central midfielder who contributed to the Tiger attack with five goals and three assists … Creative passer and strong shooter who also took most of the Tigers’ offensive restarts … Tireless and relentless defender at midfield who served as a team leader through communication and effort.
Coach Leeds’ Quotes: “Ada is strong in the midfield, attack-oriented, competitive … She has a strong passing game and great shot … Her physicality, her aggression are real assets … She’s super tough … She was a great captain, a really strong leader … She knows the game really well … She doesn’t like to be beat … If someone got behind her, she’d work really hard to get back … She’s the kind of kid who really leads by example all the time, practice and games.”
SOPHIE HATCH, VUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Central defender who helped a defense with new starters on both flanks and in goal post eight clean sheets in regulation … Used her communication skills to coordinate the back line as a unit … Fast and strong, defends well one-v-one, plays well positionally, has solid technical ability, and makes smart decisions when she possesses the ball.
Co-Coach Maneen’s Quotes: “(The defenders) were tough to get behind, they rotated well, they hung together as a team, and most of that credit goes to Sophie keeping everybody organized … She supported her teammates, read plays and got to balls … She understands the game so well. She sees what’s coming and is one step ahead … She doesn’t make mistakes, and she wins balls one-v-one … You couldn’t ask for a better teammate.”
GRACE HARVEY, MOUNT ABE FRESHMAN. Notes: Strong and technical player who had an immediate effect as a freshman, but made her greatest contribution when moved from center midfield to center back midway through the season, one of the changes that coincided with the Eagles’ late-season surge … Had the individual defensive savvy and speed to counter other teams’ top strikers in the middle and the skills to play the ball out of the back.
Coach Corrigan’s Quotes: “Grace was excellent … They could not blow by Grace. Grace was an excellent one-v-one defender. Once we put her there (at center back) you could make an excellent argument we had the strongest backfield in D-II … We had her at center midfield for a spell, and she made us better there. Her technical ability is awesome. She passes the ball really well … Offensively she was really good.”
LEAH PINKOWSKI, OV JUNIOR. Notes: Tall, fast and strong center back who anchored an inexperienced OV back line that allowed two or fewer goals in regulation play in its final eight regular-season games … Used her quickness and anticipation to roam from sideline to sideline to disrupt opponents’ advances … Good decision-maker with the ball who would find teammates or make a safe clear.
Coach White’s Quotes: “When Leah is challenging an opponent, we all know that she will make the play … She’s very, very strong, fearless and has great closing speed, first step and range … She has a great first touch, is good with both feet and is beginning to excel at the aerial game … At five-nine, all this makes Leah one of the best center backs you will find.”
GWEN STAFFORD, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Big, powerful and quick center back who was hard to beat one-on-one … Consistently won foot races to balls served down the flanks or through the middle … Very difficult to knock off the ball and routinely won 50-50 battles … Made smart plays with the ball.
Coach Leeds’ Quotes: “She’s fast and physical at center back … She’s great at reading plays and making recovery runs … It’s pretty hard for attackers to compete against her physicality. If she could get one-on-one with them she generally was able to take away their chance … She did a lot of breaking up of attacking plays in the final third … She was also a go-to in the box on attacking corner kicks.”
BECCA LAURENT, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Speedy and talented forward who scored five goals, tied for the team high, and whose one assist does not represent her impact … Started at striker, but then thrived on the flank, where wing defenders could not stop her from making strong, dangerous serves and runs into the box, especially from the right side … Created many chances that went unfinished … Pressured opponents effectively when they had the ball.
Coach Corrigan’s Quotes: “She’s one of our best players … A lot of her would-be assists just didn’t get finished … She can run all day. She’s fast … She could carry the ball and had a little flair to go one-on-one with people … She could put a move on, push the ball by a defender and put a ball across … She was a player we wanted to get the ball to in some space with the ball at her feet. She could create things for us.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].
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