All roads in GHSA girls soccer run through Fayette County. This season was no different as every team made the state playoffs and three teams made the Final Four.
The Class AAAAA state championship again had some Fayette flavor as rivals Whitewater and McIntosh battled for supremacy. Both teams played an epic title game at Mercer University. After playing to a 1-1 draw, Whitewater pulled out a 3-1 win in penalty kicks and won their first title since 2007.
Starr’s Mill, Fayette County, and Sandy Creek also made postseason trips. Starr’s Mill reached the Final Four after going 14-5-3 on the season. Sandy Creek advanced to the Sweet 16, and Fayette County fought hard in a tough first-round matchup. Our Lady of Mercy also had positive moments in a difficult season.
As the teams look forward to next year, it is time to hand out some postseason recognition. The sheer amount of talent made for tough choices, and that speaks to the strength of every team in the area.
Without further ado, here are the All-County award winners.
The Player of the Year goes to Whitewater senior forward Abbie Crane. The dynamo goal-scorer scorched opposing teams with 32 goals and 5 assists. She also earned top honors as the 2018 Region Player of the Year as the captain of the Wildcats.
Whitewater head coach Randy Hayes gave Crane the ultimate praise following her successful season. Hayes praised her ability to create off set pieces and her use of elite speed to control the tempo of the game.
“She is the best player,” Hayes said. “Even when not scoring, she is a very dangerous player who elevates those around her.”
Crane earned a scholarship to play at North Georgia next season. She will go down as one of the best forwards in Whitewater history.
Hayes is honored as our Coach of the Year. It was a tremendous season for Whitewater that culminated in a state title. The Wildcats finished the season on a 13-game winning streak and finished with a 19-5 record. As a unit, they scored 98 goals en route to one of their best seasons in school history.
Hayes earned state recognition as the United Coaches Georgia Soccer Coach of the Year. He has some talented players returning next season to help Whitewater defend the state title.
The Freshman of the Year goes to Starr’s Mill forward Chloe Thompson. It is rare for a freshman to dominate on the varsity level, but Thompson proved she is an exception. She put together 15 goals and 12 assists for the Lady Panthers this season. She shouldered a lot of the offense as a lead scorer and has a bright future ahead of her. Thompson also made the All-Region team this season.
The All-County First Team is filled with a dynamic collection of players.
McIntosh’s Emma Whitson headlines the first-team defenders. She is joined by Fayette’s Isabelle Odutola and Sandy Creek’s Hannah Ohlmeier.
Whitson was an All-Region selection and a key member of a stingy Chief defense that allowed 13 goals all season. Odutola is an instinctive left back that scored 6 goals and collected 3 assists. Ohlmeier makes the list after dominating Class AAAA competition. She is a region co-defensive player of the year as she scored 2 goals and controlled the pace on the back line.
The first-team midfielders are led by McIntosh’s Kimmy Edgeworth, Fayette’s Melanie Mikoy, and Whitewater’s Madison Wright.
Edgeworth was a senior leader and a force attacking 50-50 balls for the Chiefs. Mikoy was the go-to scorer for the Lady Tigers as she knocked in 21 goals and 13 assists. She has a full-ride scholarship to The Citadel. Wright was consistent and versatile in the middle. She played all over the field and a lethal scorer off set pieces. She added 20 goals and 5 assists, including a hat trick against Starr’s Mill in the Final Four.
The first-team forwards are Sandy Creek’s Micaiah Slaughter, Fayette’s Shannon McGregor, Starr’s Mill’s Sarah Evans, and McIntosh’s Tariah Miller.
Slaughter improved throughout the season and earned region co-offensive player of the year honors. She scored 12 goals and 5 assists and paced the Lady Patriots as the primary scoring option. McGregor took on a similar role for Fayette. She scored 14 goals and had 9 assists on the season. Evans was one-half of the terrific freshman duo at Starr’s Mill. She had 15 goals and 2 assists. Miller improved as a powerful striker for McIntosh.
The first-team goalies are Abby Weaver of Starr’s Mill and Abby Grandea of Whitewater.
Weaver saved 44 goals and was a part of 12 shutouts. She also posted a 0.61 goals allowed average. Grandea saved her best performance for last. She fueled the Wildcats to championship glory with several timely saves against McIntosh. She finishes the year with 50 saves after coming back from a knee injury.
The All-County Second Team is just as powerful. It is filled with starters that can headline any soccer squad.
McIntosh defender Katelyn Galbraith headlines the second team. She is joined by Starr’s Mill defenders Rachel Davison and Sara Biddle. Whitewater’s Bailey Vessell rounds out the list.
Gailbraith was a force on the back line as she ran down several goal-scoring attempts. Davison made the switch from center back to midfielder early in the season, however her elite skills still land her as second-team defender. She scored 2 goals and 4 assists. Biddle had a solid senior campaign as a captain. She scored 1 goal and helped post 12 shutouts. Vessell scored 7 goals and had 1 assist.
The second-team midfielders are Whitewater’s Jolie Ryff, Starr’s Mill Meritt Parker, and McIntosh’s Hannah Ellison.
Ryff was a 2018 captain and finished with 8 goals and 5 assists. Parker also had 8 goals and 8 assists. Ellison added to her team with her leadership and tenacity to win 50-50 balls.
The second-team forwards are Fayette’s Kristyn Spears, Sandy Creek’s Analucia Yanar, and Starr’s Mill’s Sophia Varmeziar.
Spears was strong in her freshman year. She scored 15 goals with an assist this season. Yanar added 6 goals and 5 assists as a member of the Patriots. She also made the all-region team. Varmeziar was another talented freshman that played a lot of positions. She finished with 7 goals and 5 assists.
Starr’s Mill goalie Zoey Stellman and McIntosh’s Emily Lopez are the second-team goalies. Stellman had a good campaign with 59 saves and a 1.10 goals allowed average. Lopez was strong before getting hurt in the regular season finale. She was the anchor of the Chiefs.
There are several players that deserve recognition as well. These players earn honorable mention for their work.
Starr’s Mill players Macey Voorhies, Mary Jane Gagliano, and Darby Olive are honorable mentions. They are joined by McIntosh players Mackensi Rohn, Natalie Keohane, and Lauryn Phillips. Whitewater’s Camille Messina, Ashley McMahon, and Molly Downing make the list. Fayette’s Joi Palmore and Our Lady of Mercy’s Malorie Hennierode round out the team.
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