Return of the POY: South Carolina's Stephanie DeVita

The Gatorade State Girls Soccer Players of the Year spring selection process is in full swing, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for.

Name: Stephanie DeVita

School: Hillcrest (Simpsonville, S.C.)

Grade: Senior

Position: Midfielder

2011 Goals: 21

2011 Assists: 6

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade South Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year. 2009-10 Gatorade South Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year. 2010 and 2011 First Team All-State selection as named by the South Carolina Soccer Coaches Association. Led the Rams (13-11) to a second consecutive Class 4A state tournament appearance as a junior.

Academics: A-minus average

College: Furman University

Extracurricular activities: A member of her local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, she has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach.

Sue Vodicka, a coach with the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association’s Olympic Development Program: “Stephanie is a force. She can do some special things. She can make something out of nothing.”

Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning girls soccer underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.

Karli Farnham: Senior defender/midfielder, Irmo (S.C.)

Abby Frick: Senior defender, Irmo (S.C.)

Amy Dherkers: Senior forward, Irmo (S.C.)

Sarah Specter: Senior forward, Hammond (Columbia, S.C.)

A dedicated ESPNHS POY team manages the Gatorade Player of the Year selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the program’s behalf. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNHS recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.