If you were building a co-ed soccer team from The Herald’s 12-school coverage area, you couldn’t do better than making Clover’s Adam Watkins and Fort Mill’s Kimber Haley the first two picks.
Haley, who will play college soccer for Clemson, is a repeat winner of The Herald’s All-Area girls’ soccer player of the year award. Ten goals and 23 assists helped her cause for sure, but the way she played - smooth, never rushed, dictating the action from her central midfield role - contributed as well. It’ll be fun watching Haley take her game up a level with the Tigers in the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning this fall.
Watkins did much of the same from the Blue Eagles’ backline. He was the complete package for Graham Stafford’s team, organizing the defense, dominating 50-50 balls in the air, and also contributing 14 goals and eight assists to lead the team offensively. Watkins is an equally strong student and he’ll play college soccer beginning this fall at Bentley University, where he will grow his soccer game and his future career prospects at the elite academic institution located outside Boston.
Two coaches stood out this past spring. York’s Rick Johnson led the Cougar boys to their first region title and playoff victory in 13 years, while Indian Land’s Mark Bonda steered Indian Land to its first girls’ soccer state title in school history, capping a tremendous first season in the 3A classification. Johnson and Bonda are The Herald’s All-Area soccer coaches of the year.
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Cheryl Baggett, who helped York’s girls’ soccer program win 16 games this season after just two victories a year ago, is also worthy of a special shout-out.
Player of the year: Kimber Haley, Fort Mill
Coach of the year: Mark Bonda, Indian Land
Kimber Haley, Fort Mill - North-South all-star and Clemson signee scored 10 goals during her senior campaign and assisted on 23 more, many to her friend and sidekick, Meredith Christopher. Haley was an All-Region 4-5A and 5A All-State selection.
Meredith Christopher, Fort Mill - Elon signee and Clash of the Carolinas selection scored 26 goals and had nine assists. She was named All-Region 4-5A and 5A All-State.
Haley Hocking, Clover - junior midfielder made the 5A All-State team after scoring eight goals and assisting four. She also made All-Region 4-5A.
Aubrey Mowrey, York - Based on MaxPreps stats, Mowrey led the state in scoring this spring after bagging 53 goals. She was Region 3-4A player of the year and made the 4A All-State team.
Angela Pantuosco, Clover - All-Region 4-5A and Clash of the Carolinas pick was an anchor for the Blue Eagles from her defensive midfielder position.
Summer Bishop, Indian Land - 3A All-State junior scored 30 goals and assisted 10.
Kailee Erwin, Indian Land - junior midfielder earned 3A All-State honors after scoring 12 goals.
Emily Gerdes, Indian Land - 3A All-State selection scored 14 goals and assisted on six for the state champs.
Emma Thompson, Indian Land - junior keeper posted 15 shutouts and made several big saves in the 3A state final penalty shootout for the victorious Warriors.
Lauren Glowacki, Fort Mill - junior was the Yellow Jackets’ top defender and an All-Region 4-5A selection.
Annika Ford, Fort Mill - sophomore scored nine goals, assisted three and was named All-Region 4-5A.
J’menii Isaac, Clover - junior bagged 12 goals and assisted seven, making All-Region 4-5A.
Kelsey Long, Indian Land - junior All-Region 4-3A forward scored 20 goals and set up six more.
Grace Sain, Clover - sophomore defender was named All-Region 4-5A.
Kailah Marshall, South Pointe - sophomore smashed in 22 goals and had four assists en route to an All-Region 3-4A selection.
Reagan Hunter, Indian Land - junior was another key part of Indian Land scoring juggernaut, bagging 22 goals and assisting five.
Jade Consalvi, York - Cougars sweeper scored nine goals and was named All-Region 3-4A.
Haylee Myrup, York - sophomore All-Region 3-4A keeper allowed just eight goals during the regular season
Morgan Durant, Rock Hill - All-Region 4-5A keeper posted seven shutouts this season. She will play in college at USC-Lancaster.
Lindsay Molina, Nation Ford - All-Region 4-5A senior was the Falcons’ defensive MVP.
Liz Price, Clover - senior keeper was a North-South all-star selection.
Makayla Garner, Nation Ford - sophomore forward scored six goals and assisted four. Garner made All-Region 4-5A.
Ansley Rentz and Grace Walker, Northwestern; Adisan Funke, South Pointe.
Player of the year: Adam Watkins, Clover
Coach of the year: Rick Johnson, York
Adam Watkins, Clover - Watkins was one of the area’s most dangerous offensive players even from his centerback position in the heart of the Blue Eagles’ back line. Watkins scored 14 goals and assisted eight, earning unanimous region player of the year honors, as well as 5A All-State and Clash of the Carolinas selections.
Michael Smith, Nation Ford - Winthrop signee and Clash of the Carolinas pick was one of the best defenders in the state for the second year running.
Blake Baker, Nation Ford - Queens signee and North-South all-star was a dangerous offensive player in his attacking midfielder role. Baker scored 16 goals and assisted six more.
Will Martin, Nation Ford - Queens signee and Clash of the Carolinas pick scored 13 goals (including 11 in the first eight games of the season). Nation Ford’s region title chances were hampered when Martin pulled his hamstring and missed five games.
Zhenya Deller, Rock Hill - powerful right back was an effective offensive weapon for the Bearcats, scoring 10 goals and assisting seven. Deller signed with USC Lancaster and will also play in the North-South all-star game.
Sean Walsh, York - 4A All-State player had a very strong spring, scoring 24 goals and assisting 13. Walsh was the Region 3-4A player of the year.
Gavin McCraw, Fort Mill - junior keeper made All-Region 4-5A and was one of the best shot-stoppers in the area.
Aaron Koch, Fort Mill - skilled midfielder signed with Gannon University. All-Region 4-5A player that ran the show for the Yellow Jackets.
George Mendez, Rock Hill - North-South all-star scored eight goals and assisted on nine more.
Brad Young, Nation Ford - defensive midfielder made the North-South all-star game.
Joseph Banny, Fort Mill - sophomore defender was one of the best, quickest defenders in the area and an All-Region 4-5A selection.
Davis Hooten, Northwestern - athletic junior keeper committed to Michigan State bossed his penalty area all spring.
Jose Ariza, Clover - senior attacking midfielder scored five goals and assisted four.
Matt Ringler, Clover - Senior scored four goals and assisted two during All-Region campaign.
Ethan Pierce, Clover - No nonsense defender made All-Region and scored and assisted on a goal each.
Brock Manley, Northwestern - senior All-Region 4-5A striker led the line for the Trojans, was one of the more dangerous players in the area going forward.
Joey Parsons, Indian Land - 3A All-State defender was part of defensive group that posted 12 shutouts.
Bryan Aguilar, Rock Hill - Montreat College signee made the North-South all-star game and was an effective engine in the Bearcats’ midfield.
Juan Bravo, Indian Land - All-Region 4-3A sophomore midfield captained the Warriors, scoring three goals and dishing out 11 assists.
Gavin Dunlop, Indian Land - freshman forward scored 21 goals in 16 games, assisting on six more and earning All-Region 4-3A honors.
Mason Lane, York - senior centerback was top defender in Region 3-4A and chipped in with 12 goals and nine assists.
Zack Beardsley, York - senior forward scored 13 goals and assisted 10 in All-Region 3-4A campaign.
Gavin Shepard, Clover; Tommy Purucker, Fort Mill; Garrett Beard, Northwestern.