Eye on POY: Montana girls soccer

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.

Savannah Witt

Senior midfielder/forward, Billings West (Billings)

2011 Team record: 4-4-5 (Class AA)

2011 Team standing: Lost first round of Class AA sectional tournament

2011 Goals: 12

2011 Assists: 7

2011 Points per game: 1.58

Career goals: 42

Career assists: 24

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: University of Montana

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Scored the Bears’ lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Skyview (Billings, Mont.) in a pre-qualifying game for the state tournament. Billings West's leading scorer in the postseason in both 2009 and 2010, years that ended in state titles. Ranked fifth in state history for goals and tied for fourth in state history for assists. 2011 Class AA Eastern Division Player of the Year. Two-time Super-State Team selection as named by the Great Falls Tribune. Three-time Class AA First Team Eastern Division selection.

Kennedy Fulbright

Senior midfielder/forward, Sentinel (Missoula)

2011 Team record: 9-2-5 (Class AA)

2011 Team standing: Lost Class AA state semifinals

2011 Goals: 5

2011 Assists: 4

2011 Points per game: 0.56

Career goals: 21

Career assists: 6

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Class AA Western Division Player of the Year. 2011 Great Falls Tribune Super-State Team 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.

Holly Davison: Junior forward, Billings Central Catholic (Billings, Mont.)

Alex Harvey: Junior midfielder, Billings Senior (Billings, Mont.)

Katie Hoff: Senior goalkeeper, Skyview (Billings, Mont.)

Rachel Koehler: Junior defender, Billings Senior (Billings, Mont.)

Casey Shifflett: Senior midfielder, Hamilton (Mont.)

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.