The Citizen will soon announce its choice for the 2017 girls soccer player of the year honor and the roster of all-star selections. Here is a look back at past recipients of the girls soccer player of the year award.
Girls Soccer All-Stars: Raenah Campbell returns to Skaneateles, leads Lakers by example
SKANEATELES — Despite her international experience, Raenah Campbell came back to the Lakers with the same attitude.
After spending two years back in Trinidad and playing for that country’s Under-17 and Under-20 teams, Campbell returned to Skaneateles for her senior season. She picked up right where she left off.
Campbell, The Citizen’s girls soccer player of the year, averaged more than a goal per game and was a leader on and off the field for the Lakers.
"What I loved about her was she came in — even with all the notoriety and success that she's had — and worked hard," Skaneateles coach Anthony Richmond said. "She was one of the harder workers at practice, which showed the others that they needed to do the same thing. She's a very good leader in that aspect in setting a good example."
Campbell recorded 24 goals and four assists in 19 games with the Lakers, who went 13-5-1 and advanced to the Section III, Class B semifinals. Still, what sticks out to Richmond is Campbell’s always-positive attitude throughout the season.
“She’s a fun kid,” Richmond said. “She’s hard-working, but if we lost she wasn’t mad or angry. She’s a great kid and a great leader. We were blessed with that.”
Campbell left Skaneateles after her freshman year and went to Trinidad with her family. As a sophomore, she attended an international school — one with a similar curriculum to schools in the United States — and then went on to Montverde Academy, a prep school in Florida, for her junior season.
"My parents grew up there and I was born there, and we would always go back and forth throughout the years," Campbell said of her time in Trinidad. "I'd always interact with my grandparents, friends, family and stuff like that. It was more about me being immersed into it with people my age and my peers. That was the different thing about living there as opposed to going for a couple weeks and then coming back."
Campbell played for Trinidad’s U17 team, and was pulled up to the U20 team for the first time last year. The big game experience at a young age could help her in the long run.
"I feel more comfortable with all of the experience I've had," Campbell said. "To be consistent is my one thing that I struggle with. I'm slowly working on that."
When Campbell returned to Skaneateles this year, she quickly bought into Richmond’s system.
"Every year I've had to acclimate to a new style, coach and team," Campbell said. "I've played under a lot of coaches, so having to get used to a new coach is something normal for me. You have to feel the coach out. See what they like and what they don't like, and go from there."
Campbell will have another new coach to get to know next season.
Campbell will continue her soccer career at Drexel University next fall. Her overall goals are still playing professionally and on the international stage.
"I started seriously contemplating college and professional (careers) and stuff like that after I got called up for the (Trinidad) national team," Campbell said. "Then it seemed real and I could go somewhere with it."
Girls Soccer All-Stars: Skaneateles' Catie Woodruff flies past competition
SKANEATELES | You can’t teach speed, and Catie Woodruff has a lot of it.
Countless times on the soccer field this fall, Woodruff scored goals – and she scored a lot of them – because she was simply faster than everyone else.
“I guess (speed) is my biggest strength,” Woodruff said. “It’s important to have foot skills, but at this level I don’t think everyone has the best foot skills. I used that to my advantage.”
Woodruff, The Citizen’s girls soccer player of the year, led Skaneateles to a 11-6-1 record and posted 21 goals on the season, which co-led the OHSL Liberty division. Whatever she did on a soccer field, she did it fast.
“You can’t coach that, either a player has it or they don’t have it,” said Skaneateles head coach Anthony Richmond. “It’s difficult for teams to try and contain her, because she has that ability to get away from it.”
Woodruff has played soccer since she was four years old, but wouldn't consider it her main sport. Woodruff committed to the University of North Carolina to play Division I women’s lacrosse.
“I definitely have been playing lacrosse a lot more over the last two or three years for the recruiting,” Woodruff said. “I only really played soccer in season – I didn’t really do anything out of season for soccer.”
Playing soccer only a few months per year normally puts a player at a disadvantage to their peers. Woodruff’s coachable attitude is what set her apart from the rest.
“The athlete has to be willing to learn more, and Catie was one of those athletes that wanted to be the best she could be,” Richmond said. “She was willing to accept coaching advice and really took it all in and applied it. She had the God-given talent to be a very good soccer player.”
This fall was Richmond’s first season as Skaneateles’ head coach and first opportunity to coach Woodruff. While he was grateful for the opportunity coach this season, Richmond isn’t without regrets.
“I wish I was there a couple years ago,” Richmond said. “She’s a legitimate Division I soccer player, as well as lacrosse. The first time I watched her, I said ‘this girl is very, very good.’”
Richmond even reached out to the women’s soccer program at UNC to explore the possibility of Woodruff becoming a walk-on for the Tar Heels.
“I wouldn’t put my name out there unless I really believed it,” Richmond said. “It would be great and it’s well-deserved.”
For now, Woodruff is staying active and preparing for her final season of high school lacrosse before departing for UNC. Since the high school season doesn’t start for a few months, Woodruff will continue working out and playing indoor lacrosse during the winter.
If this past season ends up being Woodruff’s last on a soccer field, she leaves behind no regrets.
“This season, I wanted to make it memorable and not have any regrets because it was my senior season and last season I’ll be playing soccer,” Woodruff said.
“I don’t think I would go back and do anything different, but I will miss playing soccer a lot.”
Girls Soccer All-Stars: Auburn's Breeze proves to be one of Section III's best players
AUBURN | Auburn High School senior Michaela Breeze finished her girls soccer career with a list of accomplishments a mile long.
The Maroons' star scored 26 goals last season, a school record. With 57 goals in her four-year varsity career, she will graduate in June as the school's third all-time leading scorer. Breeze scored six goals against Syracuse early in the season, good enough for another school record. All of those accomplishments, along with the fact that opposing teams scrambled to game-plan for her all season, earned her the CNYCL American Player of the Year.
Good luck getting her to talk about any of it though. The Citizen's girls soccer player of the year would much rather let her play speak for her.
"It was unexpected, (I scored) a lot more than last year but it was really good," Breeze said. "But without my teammates, I wouldn't have scored anything."
Breeze was the difference maker for the Maroons, contributing at least one goal in all eight wins this season, including decisive scores in two wins over Fayetteville-Manlius.
"She's our little dynamo out there," said Auburn head coach Tom Quest in September. "It's a testament to her that other teams game-plan around her. You can see, she draws a crowd wherever she goes, you listen to the other coach, 'Fifteen, where's 15?' She's a good player, everybody knows about her, everyone knows her number and she still scores so she's a workhorse for us."
Workhorse is right. Breeze, usually a year-round soccer player, works out for about six hours a week at Swagler Strength and Performance.
"Then we have practices, training and all of that stuff for the team," she said of her in-season training.
Breeze has become somewhat of a poster child for hard-working athletes at Swagler's - notably being able to squat an astounding 300 pounds.
"I haven't done it in awhile because (Jamie Swagler) doesn't want me to get hurt," Breeze laughed. "The last time I did it was before the season. I started going there when I was in eighth grade, so it builds up. I get nervous though, it's heavy."
As the weight on her legs has increased over the years, so have her goals. She had 10 in her sophomore year and then 18 more her junior year, a season where she was hindered by a leg injury down the stretch.
"The doctor said if I kept playing on (the injured leg), I could have broken it but I wasn't going to stop before a sectional game," Breeze said. "I went to physical therapy after the season ended. I went a few times and I was out for a month and a half. I might have cut it short a little. I got sick of waiting to play."
Usually after the varsity season ends, she moves right into indoor soccer at the Ultimate Goal and for the last couple of years, she is a coach for Auburn Arsenal Soccer. This year, she plans on adding girls varsity lacrosse to her resume.
But it's soccer that runs in her blood. Her mom, Jen, played for Bob Lee, now the modified girls soccer coach, and her younger sister Gracie is one of the players Michaela coaches in Auburn Arsenal.
Where Breeze is headed after high school is something she's still undecided on. With several colleges interested in her playing ability, it's not a decision she takes lightly.
"I think I want to go into nursing, but I don't know where," Breeze said.
Now removed from the varsity season for about a month, Breeze is still finding it different to not be playing soccer with the girls she's been teammates with since the second grade.
"It's weird," she said. "But without them and all my coaches, I don't know where I would be."
Leader of the Lakers: Wood leaves Skaneateles girls soccer in good hands
Girls soccer may not be Molly Wood's main sport, but that doesn't mean she doesn't put everything she has into it during the fall.
The Skaneateles senior was one of the Lakers' captains this season, and a big reason the team advanced all the way to the Section III, Class B quarterfinals. The nine goals and two assists Wood scored as a midfielder aren't indicative of her role on the team, which is why she is this season's The Citizen girls soccer player of the year.
"Being captain was a lot of fun," she said. "It made it so much easier to have all of the great players we had to pass to. It really helps to have really amazing players."
While planning to play lacrosse at Ohio State next year, Wood has fostered a love of soccer from an early age.
"It started in kindergarten," she said. "It always used to be my favorite sport. Now it's fun fall sport, it's been a good way to refresh myself."
Though she had a great end to her last regular season game with Skaneateles, scoring twice in a win over Jordan-Elbridge, the team didn't have a great ending to this year. After tying Westhill during the regular season, the Lakers fell to the Warriors 1-0 in the playoffs.
"It was rough," Wood said. "Westhill is a tough team, and if we had to lose, I'm glad it was to them. It's such a rivalry with them, it was amazing and so much fun. We know all the girls."
Leaving the team she has started for two seasons won't be easy, but Wood feels that she is leaving it in capable hands.
"Those girls are really good," Wood said. "Leaving it to (the junior class), they're very capable. Hopefully, they'll go on to win a sectional title."
Girls Soccer All-Stars
Molly Wood, Skaneateles
Wood scored nine goals and had two assists to help lead the Lakers this season.
Michaela Breeze, Auburn
The Maroons' standout junior led her team with 18 goals and five assists, including a hat trick at home against Central Square. She was an easy selection for All-Section III Class AA.
Catie Woodruff, Skaneateles
The Lakers' junior scored a team-high 12 goals and had five assists to lead the Lakers this season.
Emily Sweeney, Union Springs
The Wolves' standout senior was named to first-team all IAC after racking up a team-high 10 goals and four assists. She also scored in six games to lead the Wolves.
Tate Green, Skaneateles
The speedy Green doled out 12 assists and was second on the team with 11 goals.
Abbie Modafferi, C-M
Modafferi scored a team-high 11 goals and had three assists to lead the Blue Devils this year.
Lexi Mitchell, Auburn
Mitchell was all over the field for Auburn this season, scoring five times and adding six assists.
Alexis Rouse, J-E
Rouse paced the Eagles with 12 goals and two assists.
Ally Nicolosi, Auburn
The Maroons' goalie was outstanding this season, compiling 185 saves.
Kiersten Spears, Union Springs
Spears racked up 29 saves in one game this season, totaling 162 in all to help pace the defense.
Lauren Goodchild, Skaneateles
The Lakers defender scored three goals and had one assist this season.
Kyla Sears, Skaneateles
The standout defender also passed for two assists this ysear.
The Anchor: Hurley leads Lakers' turnaround
Rachel Hurley doesn't keep track of her statistics.
The Skaneateles defender found the back of the net only three times this season, but they certainly came in key situations. The senior’s late-game 35-yard strike broke a scoreless tie with Cazenovia in the final match of the regular season, and gave the Lakers their first league championship since 1982.
Hurley, chosen as The Citizen’s girls soccer player of the year, lists it with her team’s highlights, but leaves out the part about the goal.
“We all win together, we all lose together,” she said. “Whoever scores the goals, that’s great.”
There was a lot more winning together. Upon taking over a team that went 5-10 last year, first-year coach Todd Cook didn’t know what to expect.
“When I worked with the girls over the summer I knew I had talent, but I didn’t know what the league was like,” he said.
With Hurley anchored the defense and the team gave up 14 goals -- 28 less than the previous season -- to go 13-3-2 overall.
“She understood the system we played,” Cook said. “She’s tough, skillful and knowledgeable. Just from the defensive side, she was outstanding.”
Hurley, named to first-team all-league and fourth team all-state, was quick to give the credit for the team’s nine shutouts to fellow center back, Erica Nye, and goalie Mary Buck.
“Mary really played well this year,” Hurley said. “She had some amazing saves that were the difference between winning and losing a game. That made a big difference.”
Hurley knows how tough it can be between the pipes.
Last year, when Buck went down with a concussion against Marcellus, Hurley was tabbed as the new netminder. Taking a few pointers from her twin brother Connor, who used to play goal for the boys team, she did what she could to keep the Lakers in games.
“I didn’t fill Mary’s shoes by any means, that would be hard to do,” Hurley recalled with a smile. “But it wasn’t a complete disaster.”
With Buck back in the lineup this season and Cook as the new coach, Hurley was glad to be back out in the field, leading a Laker 180. Besides taking the team’s corner and free kicks -- which led to her three goals and three assists on the season -- she provided a positive atmosphere for some of the young and talented forwards.
“We had a lot of younger players around them and our senior leaders were great people,” Cook said. “They made the players feel comfortable and never were negative.”
“I just play the best I can,” Hurley said. “People encourage me, and if I’m having a bad game, my coaches tell me ‘Pick it up, you can do it.’ Everyone’s really positive and that really helps.”
Despite an exit in the second round of sectionals, the good vibes and the improved talent provided Skaneateles with a memorable season.
“We just had the right players in the right spots in the right system with the right attitudes,” Cook said. “They really believed that they could be an elite team.”
The Lakers continue to move forward next year without Hurley, but the seniors moving on to college left an impression on the program’s future.
“I don’t think they understood what they did here...They created a winning atmosphere that these young players are going to build on,” Cook said. “Who knows what the future brings a year from now, but if we go on to do better things, they have a lot to do with it.”
Head Chief: Sara Rocker named The Citizen girls soccer player of the year
POPLAR RIDGE - Last season, Southern Cayuga girls soccer player Sara Rocker didn’t have a season she was accustomed to. Being out with an illness for most of the year, hurt her game.
However, this season was different.
“This year was probably one of my best years,” Rocker said. “It was tough last year, this year it really came together.”
Rocker, a co-captain, scored 11 goals, was an IAC second-team all-star, IAC exceptional-senior and co-MVP of her team.
The turn-around season earned her The Citizen’s girls soccer Player of the Year.
“My expectations (for the season) were - I was going to play my hardest and score a couple of goals,” Rocker said. “I managed to do that and come out strong.”
The senior is proud of her accomplishments.
“They mean a lot to me,” Rocker said. “It’s not only my teammates that voted me, it’s other schools that recognize what I’m doing right and it means a lot.”
Part of the reason Rocker was able to score goals and earn recognition was her position change.
“Last year I played defense,” Rocker said. “It was a lot different this year playing attack. This is the first year I did that, I loved attack. I told my
coach, (Elishia Hoatland), I would go back on midfield - she was like ‘nope, you have to keep scoring those goals.’”
Against Union Springs she scored three goals.
“My hat trick at Union Springs was memorable,” Rocker said. “They weren’t the best of goals, but it really meant a lot to me because I never had that. My first feeling was, did that ball really go in? But then I was really happy because I scored.”
Not only was Rocker’s game coming together, but the team as well.
“Going into the season, we were mostly trying to come together as a family,” Rocker said. “Our main goal of the season was for our team to come together.”
In previous season the team was not as close nit. Something that would have made playing better, Rocker said,
“We just had people that were very mean to another,” Rocker said. “There was a lot of yelling in previous years.”
This year was much different.
“We have been arguing (in the past), so it was really good to come together,” Rocker said. “All of us were pretty close and we didn’t have any drama. We had a really good coach, who helped us through everything. If we had problems, she would come help us.”
Since the team make-up changed, Rocker said it was fun to play again.
The rejuvenation has brought the idea of playing in the future.
“I actually have talked to the coach at Elmira College, because I am interested in going there,” Rocker said. “She says she is really interested in seeing me play and I can do some overnights there, with some of the soccer players. If I’m interested in that, she could hook me up.”
A decision to keep the soccer career going has yet to be made. However, there are options.
“I think, I was talking about a JV soccer team because there is not that much commitment,” Rocker said. “But I would definitely be interested in playing soccer in college.”
Staff writer Nick Hollenstein can be reached at
282-2257 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at CitizenHoll.
THE CITIZEN ALL-STARS:
Abbie Modafferi, Cato-Meridian, midfield: As a sophomore, Modafferi scored five goals and assisted on one. She was also selected second-team all-league.
Sara Rocker, Southern Cayuga, attack: A team co-captain and co-MVP, Rocker had her best offensive season scoring 11 goals. She was also IAC second-team all-star and IAC exceptional senior.
Carly Davis, Skaneateles, midfield: Davis was selected the Lakers’ Offensive Player of the Year along with OHSL Liberty first-team all-league honors.
Emily Sweeney, Union Springs, midfield: The sophomore scored 10 goals and was IAC first-team all-star.
Kelsey Youmell, Jordan-Elbridge, midfield: The junior was OHSL Liberty Division second-team.
Anna D’Arrigo, Cato-Meridian, defense: D’Arrigo had a par of goals and assist in her freshman year as well as being named first-team all-league.
Carriel Schmitt, Southern Cayuga, defense: This season, Schmitt moved from offense to defense and was selected IAC second-team all-star. In 14 games, the junior played every minute.
Kaylee Williams, Moravia, defense: The senior received all-league honors, leading her team on defense.
Kathryn Haessner, Moravia, goalkeeper: The senior, co-captain made 245 saves and received all-league honors.
Gabi Scott, Auburn, goalkeeper: In all three of the Maroons wins, Scott recorded a shutout. She was also named team MVP.
Olivia Amoia, Tyburn Academy Katie Baldwin, Skaneateles Michaela Breeze, Auburn Mary Buck, Skaneateles Katie Cooper, Auburn Courtney Dahlin, Jordan-Elbridge Ana Duran, Tyburn Academy Bridget Field, Skaneateles Amanda Gabak, Union Springs Chelsea Hamilton, Skaneateles Christina Hrynyk, Auburn Jordan Keysor, Cato-Meridian Jessie Koop, Southern Cayuga Lizzy Marek, Tyburn Academy Allison Piedmonte, Cato-Meridian, Carly Ryan, Tyburn Academy Erin Tonzi, Skaneateles Emily Weichert, Tyburn Academy Brooke Whitman, Auburn
Mitchell’s all around play led Auburn
On a frigid day last week, you’d think Auburn girls soccer star Caitlyn Mitchell would be dreaming of the spring thaw so she could kick the ball around with her teammates.
The 17-year-old, however, was just waiting for the roads to clear so she could pack up her snowboard and hit the slopes.
During the non-blustery months, soccer is the senior’s first priority. An all-league and all-section selection, Auburn’s leading scorer is The Citizen’s 2010 Player of the Year.
Mitchell scored 12 points for the Maroons this year, six goals and six assists. Auburn used her all around talents after a slow start to turn the season around and qualify for a sectional spot.
Mitchell began her varsity career as a freshman and had to find her way.
“When I started on the team I was the only freshman,” she said. “I had no confidence in my abilities. As I got older I got more confidence in myself and found my position in a midfielder. I didn’t really have a position when I started.”
She was more offensive-minded as an underclassman.
“I liked playing forward, I liked scoring goals,” Mitchell said. “Then I liked playing midfield better. It wasn’t all about scoring.”
One of Mitchell’s favorite moments came as a freshman. In a postseason match against Fayetteville-Manlius, Auburn needed a shootout to advance to the next round.
When she was a junior, the Maroons upset Baldwinsville (2010’s state runner-up) in sudden death in sectionals.
Mitchell grew enough as a player to compete on the Empire State Games Central Region team last summer. She started all three games and tallied an assist.
Now the time has come for Mitchell to move on.
The senior is ranked third in her class, and will attend Hobart William Smith next year and study Biology.
As a member and captain of a senior-led team, she will miss all of her teammates she grown to know and befriend since she stepped onto the field as a grade-schooler.
“I’ll miss all of these girls when I go off to college next year,” Mitchell said.
Taylor-made to succeed with Auburn soccer
Laura Taylor was the senior who led the young Auburn girls soccer team to success, especially in the postseason, making her The Citizen girls soccer player of the year.
“It was exciting to be a leader this year and go so far, especially because we are such a young team,” Taylor said. “We worked hard all season and it showed.”
The Maroons ended up making it all the way to the semifinals of the Section III, Class AA Championships, even defeating top seeded Baldwinsville in the second round in an overtime battle where Taylor scored the lone and winning goal of the game.
“After that game against Baldwinsville, I saw how improved we were,” Taylor said. “That was the best moment of the season for me, that game, and just beating them, it was such a good feeling.”
Taylor scored all of Auburn's goals in the postseason, but does not take all the credit for the victories.
“I had the right people behind me that made it possible for me to play so well,” Taylor said. “Everyone wanted to keep playing, no one wanted the season to end. I think we proved that you don't have a team of all seniors or upperclassmen to win, it is about how hard you work for it and how much you want it.”
At the beginning of the season, Taylor said that she had no idea that they were going to make it as far as they did.
“I didn't expect us to go that far,” Taylor said. “When we started out, our whole defense was made of underclassmen and it seemed like we really had our work cut out for us. I never would have thought that we could have done as well as we did, but when we got out there and kept playing together, it was a whole team effort and everyone wanted to work their hardest.”
The Auburn forward looked back at her last season with Auburn, with five years of varsity memories.
“I will miss the girls and being together every day, having fun,” Taylor said. “It was a really good feeling to finish my high school career where we did. I know that I will keep playing soccer in college, I'm not sure where though, but I will take these memories with me wherever I go.”
Auburn's steady hand in net
After winning team MVP honors her sophomore and junior seasons, Auburn goalie Virginia Porten didn't know what she could do for an encore.
Finishing her senior campaign with 188 saves would have to do.
“When I heard at the banquet that I got 188 saves this season, I was surprised,” said Porten, The Citizen's player of the year for girls soccer. “I didn't know it was that many, but I am proud of that.”
Porten closes the book on her high school soccer career as a new kind of player, and perhaps a new kind of person as well.
“I really came out of my shell this year,” Porten said. “It was a big change for me because I am typically a quiet person. This season I had to take on a leadership role and talk to my defense a lot more.”
The team captain's steady play in goal helped propel the Maroons to the Section III, Class AA semifinals, where they were eliminated by Christian Brothers Academy.
“My coach stressed to me how important communication is,” Porten said. “All preseason we worked on getting me to be loud and clear and become a leader … It changed everything.”
Becoming a captain and a senior is what Porten also said helped her realize that she needed to be a little louder. But connecting with her teammates on a personal level is what made the transformation possible.
Porten attributes her success to her coach, Tom Quest, who she said really helped her improve.
“He helped me with my footing skills and technique and he bought a lot of videos for me to watch that really helped out,” she said.
Porten is pleased with her varsity career and especially with the lifelong bonds she made with her teammates.
“The season went better than I had initially expected it to,” Porten said. “I am really happy we made it to sectionals, that was one of my goals this season. This season was an amazing experience and I will never forget anyone or anything about it.”