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Return of the POY: Pennsylvania's Kelly Kerrigan

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: Kelly Kerrigan

School: Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.)

Grade: Senior

Position: Midfielder

2011 Goals: 14

2011 Assists: 25

Notes: Awards. Honors. Rankings. Team performance. Etc.

Academics: A average

College: James Madison University

Extracurricular activities: 2010-11 Gatorade Pennsylvania Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Led the Cougars (15-4) to the second round of the 2011 Class AAA state tournament. 1993 Region III Olympic Development Program Team member. 2011 First Team All-State selection as named by the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association. 2010 and 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection.

Craig Reed, head coach of Downingtown East: “Kelly is the best playmaker and pure soccer player I have ever coached. Her technical ability, vision, ability to use both feet and aerial game set her apart from any other player in the state.”

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.

Emily Armstrong: Senior goalkeeper, Perkiomen Valley (Perkiomen, Pa.)

Kayla Cunningham: Junior forward, Whitehall (Pa.)

Lauren D’Amico: Senior forward, Hershey (Pa.)

Veronica Latsko: Sophomore forward, Peters Township (Peters, Pa.)

Stephanie Lobb: Senior midfielder, East (West Chester, Pa.)

Emily Morgan: Junior midfielder, Owen J. Roberts (Pottstown, Pa.)

Cassie Pecht: Senior midfielder, Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)

Taryn Tomczyk: Senior midfielder, Valley View (Archbald, Pa.)

Natalie Zelenky Junior forward, Mechanicsburg (Pa.)

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.