The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior forward, Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)
2011 Team record: 18-3-2 (Class AAA)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class AAA state semifinals
2011 Goals: 31
2011 Assists: 15
2011 Points per game: 2.00
Career goals: 106
Career assists: 65
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Mississippi
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded eight goals and three assists in five postseason games and had a goal and assist in the Mustangs’ 3-2 shootout loss to Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the state semifinals. Had a direct hand in all 22 goals the Mustangs scored in their 12 games decided by two goals or fewer. Two-time Memphis Commercial Appeal Best of the Preps winner. Two-time NSCAA All-American. Two-time Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year.
Senior forward, Franklin (Tenn.)
2011 Team record: 24-0 (Class AAA)
2011 Team standing: Class AAA state champions
2011 Goals: 43
2011 Assists: 6
2011 Points per game: 2.04
Career goals: 107
Career assists: 25
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of North Carolina at Greensboro
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded 11 goals and one assist in eight postseason games including a pair of goals in the Lady Rebels’ 3-0 win over Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the state championship game. In 10 games decided by three goals or fewer, recorded nine goals for a direct hand in 34.6 percent of the team’s 26 goals. Three-time Class AAA All-State selection. 2011 The Tennessean All-Midstate Player of the Year. Two-time NSCAA All-South selection.
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
McKenzie Bricker: Junior forward, Collierville (Tenn.)
Bethany Bunker: Senior forward, St. Agnes Academy (Memphis, Tenn.)
Melissa Capocaccia: Junior defender, St. Agnes Academy (Memphis, Tenn.)
Jessica Hiskey: Senior midfielder, Franklin (Tenn.)
Paige Hoffman: Senior midfielder, Christian Academy of Knoxville (Tenn.)
Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.