By RYAN VANDERSLOOT
When the York-Adams League girls’ soccer coaches recently voted on the Division I and Division II players of the year, it became clear that offense wasn’t valued any more than defense.
The result was a sharing of the honors in both of the league’s top two divisions.
Dallastown’s Meagan Newmister (17 goals, 10 assists) and Red Lion’s Kylie Strong, a center-midfielder, shared the Division I honors.
In Division II, Dover teammates Maxine Herman (26 goals, 16 assists) and Brooke May, also a center-midfielder, shared the award.
As for Division III, Fairfield’s Hannah Logue took the honor.
Division I: Newmister has always been one of the Wildcats’ best offensive weapons since playing varsity in her freshman year. While she earned first-team all-star honors for Division I the past two years, the Millersville-bound standout made it a goal to earn a higher honor this season.
“This was a goal I set for myself this year,” she said. “The past three years I did get the honor of being an all-star, so I thought that if I could finish it off with a Player of the Year that would be awesome.”
Newmister was also a big help with her leadership. She was a role model for Dallastown’s first-year head coach, Morgan Mickley, whose club shared the Division I title with Central York.
“She was one of the reasons that I was so excited to take over the program,” Mickley said. “Working with her the three years prior (as an assistant coach), I wanted to be a part of her senior year. She’s everything that a coach dreams for.”
For Strong, winning the Player of the Year award was a bit more unexpected. Playing a position that doesn’t always accumulate huge numbers in terms of goals and assists, Strong was a cornerstone that helped the Lions to a third-place finish in Division I with an 11-6-1 record overall.
“I was really honored,” Strong said. “I was so excited, especially coming from Red Lion. It isn’t often that someone gets nominated from Red Lion, so this was just awesome. I remember playing varsity from freshman year and to come all the way to being a senior and being named Player of the Year … I couldn’t really ask for anything more.”
Like Newmister, Strong, a Drexel University recruit, was perhaps the most noticeable leader on her squad, albeit in a little different way.
“I was kind of a loud-mouth,” she said. “I talk a lot. I’m constantly yelling at people, and it’s OK if they yell back at me. So I think it’s really all about communication.”
Division II: Dover dominated the York-Adams League this past year, winning both the Division II and league playoff tournament with an unbeaten record. The fact that two members, such as Herman and May, were honored was not a huge shock to Eagle coach Bret Altimore, although his team wasn’t lacking other candidates, too.
“Both were captains their junior and senior years, and that leadership really helped our team,” said Altimore, whose team finished with a 22-2 record overall. “Brooke was like a huge presence on the field as far as giving instruction. And her experience was tremendous for our three (defensive) backs. We had a freshman to her right and a junior to her left and Brooke really anchored that down.
“When you look Max, you’ll see that she was the all-time leading scorer (93 goals, 71 assists, 257 points) in Dover High School history. The points that she totaled were just amazing, plus she had 71 assists. So her offensive prowess was a huge help to us as well.”
Winning the award was especially sweet for May, a third-generation soccer player in her family. Her father, Mark, won the Player of the Year award as a center-midfielder for Dover back in 1990. Her uncle, Brian, was also a standout who actually played soccer professionally. Then there was her grandfather, Larry, who also played at Dover.
And you can’t forget about her mom, either.
“(My dad) taught me pretty much all of what I know about soccer,” Brooke May said. “He played center defense just like I did. Well, I should say that I played the same position as him. And, as for my mom, well she’s my biggest fan.”
May, who will continue her career next year at Kutztown University, nevertheless was still a bit surprised to be honored by the coaches.
“It is probably one of the proudest moments of my life when I found out,” she said. “Not only is it a great honor, but to be able to follow in father’s footsteps is really special too.”
Herman, who is also a standout girls’ basketball player at Dover, was both humbled and modest about the recognition.
“It made me feel very proud of myself,” said Herman, who will attend Lock Haven University next year. “But not only me individually, but also as a team, because I got there because of all the members of my team.”
Perhaps what was most impressive about Herman’s scoring was her consistency. While the Eagles won the league title the past two years, she also racked up around half of her points as a freshman and sophomore, when her team wasn’t as highly decorated.
Despite that, Herman refused to take complete credit for her historic soccer career at Dover.
“It’s all because of how well we worked together as a team,” she said. “There were no individuals. We were all together and played as a team.”
Dover was also playing for a higher cause this season. One of their teammates, junior Maddie Hill, is battling myelodysplastic syndrome — a blood disorder involving the bone marrow. Hill served as an inspiration for the Eagles’ team.
Division III: Logue, meanwhile, helped lead the Green Knights to a second-place finish in Division III with a 10-2 league mark. Fairfield also advanced to the District 3-A semifinals, where the Knights bowed out to Halifax, to complete the season with a 14-4 record overall.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.