BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Small but swift and the worst nightmare for area goalkeepers, Culver senior Giselle Villegas is the RTC Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
The one number you need to know regarding Villegas is 49. She scored 49 goals this season, and the team went 49-17-3 in her four years as a varsity player.
Villegas finished second in the state in goals behind Monrovia’s Emery Newlin. She was one of only four players in the state to score at least 40 goals.
Otherwise, the story of the year in girls soccer was the ascending program at Trinity Greenlawn, which raced by Rochester, Argos and Bremen by a combined score of 18-1 to win Class 1A, Sectional 35.
They are looking like they will be a significant obstacle for years in Class 1A.
We would like to thank area coaches for sending us stats and answering our questions throughout the season. However, this list is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility.
Giselle Villegas (Culver) (Player of the Year) – Villegas does not always need the ball to score, and she typically played the left flank. The defensive attention she received opened up opportunities for players like Maddy Hamilton and Kassidy Banks. Villegas was extremely fast but could also stop on a dime and change directions.
Lilly Hines (Argos) – Hines had another banner year, winning top offensive player, and MVP awards at the team awards banquet and winning Top Team Player and All-District Second Team honors from the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association. She was asked to do more than ever this year, shepherding along a young roster while being asked to score more herself.
Kassidy Banks (Culver) – Banks had 29 goals and 18 assists as a junior after a knee injury limited her to four games as a sophomore.
Maddy Hamilton (Culver) – Hamilton stepped in for older sister Kaylee Hamilton at the center midfielder spot after Kaylee graduated and had seven goals and 15 assists. She made sure the ball got to the feet of Villegas and Banks while sacrificing some of her own scoring.
Rylee Thompson (Tippecanoe Valley) – Along with Julie Ruiz, Thompson was one of Valley’s key freshmen. She had a goal in a loss to South Bend Clay and in a win over North White, which might have been the team’s best performance of the season.
Avarie Hines (Argos) – Lilly’s younger sister was named the team’s most improved player at the team awards banquet. She’s more of a defensive-oriented player than her sister but a key part of the Argos freshman class.
Samantha Umbaugh (Argos) – Umbaugh was Argos’ top defensive player and seemed comfortable with a more physical style of play.
Audrey Wagner (Rochester) – Wagner was the key defender for the Lady Zs. She was the last line of defense and used her speed and strength to slow down opponents’ advances into the defensive zone.
Hayna Willis (Argos) – Willis has the best scoring knack of the Argos freshmen.
Eliana Andrzejewski (Culver) – Andrzejewski was a productive freshmen with six goals and three assists.
Morgyn Barcus (Argos) – Barcus was one of the top midfielders for the Lady Dragons and emerged as a junior.
Carlie Rex (Argos)
Eriahna Vela (Culver)
Juli Ruiz (Tippecanoe Valley)
Alydiah Leed (Argos)
Mylee Heinzmann (Rochester)
Katie Schouten (Culver)
Ava Stackhouse (Argos)
Jetta Hughes (Tippecanoe Valley)
Amiyah Williams (Culver)
Taylor Navara (Rochester)
Jimena Ruiz (Tippecanoe Valley)