Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — For the third straight season, the Unioto Shermans took home the Scioto Valley Conference girls soccer crown, and for the third straight year, a Sherman has won the conference’s Player of the Year award.
Junior Abi Seals was awarded the honor, succeeding former teammate Jayla Campbell, who won the award in 2018 and 2017.
“I’ve been working really hard since freshman year,” Seals said. “I had a rough freshman year because I was working really hard and I didn’t feel like it was paying off. But I realized that I had to keep going and pushing through that. Now that I’m the Player of the Year, in my junior year, it’s amazing to me because I never thought I’d make it this far.”
Seals’ teammate Sydney Free, also a junior, was awarded the conference’s Goalie of the Year award, her second consecutive such honor. Free pitched five shutouts this year in a campaign where the Tanks are 9-6-2.
“Both are hard-working and very driven,” Unioto coach Jeremy Clark said when asked about Seals and Free. “Sydney is a great, vocal leader while Abi leads by example. They are great to coach. We’re excited for the tournament run.”
Unioto’s XiXi McKell, Jaidyn McKell and Sophia Garza also earned first-team all-SVC honors. XiXi McKell was imperative in the midfield, Jaidyn McKell was a cornerstone of a defense that only gave up two goals in league play, and Garza was a cornerstone of the midfield as well.
Westfall’s trio of Chloe Tanler, Madalynn Yates and Mahaley Farmer are also all-league selections after leading the Mustangs to an 11-4 record during the regular season. The Mustangs finished 3-1 in SVC play.
Tanler currently has 69 career goals, which is by far the program record. Yates, a senior, is Tanler’s partner in crime and is a University of Rio Grande commit, and Farmer has given Westfall scoring flexibility.
Piketon goalkeeper Natalie Cooper, Southeastern’s Sierra Mitten and Zane Trace’s Haynna Addy were also all-league selections.
The honor is Mitten’s second career all-league award, Addy’s third and Cooper’s first. Mitten and Addy both led their teams in scoring.
The league’s honorable mention all-league selections are as follows: Piketon’s Olivia MacCrae, Unioto’s Kylee Bethel, Zane Trace’s Lily Clark, Southeastern’s Eva Kingery and Westfall’s Lyndsey Yates.