Prep soccer’s Players of the Year include scorers, goalie

The girls’ soccer teams in Division II will no doubt be happy to see Jenna Glad graduate at the end of the year.

The senior midfielder led Catalina Foothills High School to its third straight state championship this year and was just named the girls’ Big Schools Player of the Year by The Arizona Republic.

But the boys’ teams in Division I aren’t so lucky.  They will have to put up with Brophy Prep‘s scoring machine, Riggs Lennon, for another year.

The junior forward piled up 51 goals this season, despite being a marked man on the field.  Teams were ready for him this year after he was named the boys’ Big School Player of the Year as a sophomore, when he scored 35 goals.

He just earned that award again, for the second straight year – and has a chance now to accomplish something few others have, three consecutive Player of the Year honors.

Where Glad, who had nine assists this season to go with 14 goals, was a control-the-ball type of player who looked to distribute the ball and didn’t have to do all the scoring herself, Lennon knew his team counted on his big foot to come through in the big games.

Not that Glad didn’t do her share of the scoring when it counted.  She contributed a goal in each of the three championship games.

Lennon scored six goals during this year’s playoffs, including one in the championship game, as the Broncos worked their way through the state tournament.  But it wasn’t enough in the final game as Hamilton High School beat Brophy, 2-1, for the title, thus avenging the previous season when Brophy beat the Huskies in the final.

Glad, on the other hand, pulled her Tucson school through in the finals with a critical score off a header in the late stages of the game.

While it takes scoring to carry a team to a state title, one other thing is also critical to success: keeping the other team out of the net.  And that was what Jonathan Atencio excelled at this season in helping his Cortez High School to the Division III championship.

The senior goalkeeper, who contributed a big-time save in the title game to cap off a prep career that was outstanding through all four years, was named this year’s boys’ Small School Player of the Year.

And, on the girls’ side, the Small School Player of the Year also led her team to a state title – but from a position on the field that gives tenders like Atencio the cold sweats.

Kelsie Roberts delivered 49 goals from her forward position to lead Estrella High School to the Division III girls’ championship.  The senior closed out her prep career with 165 goals and, during those four years, helped the Wolves to four state titles.

She put her own exclamation mark on a stellar career by scoring two goals in this year’s tournament final to lead her Goodyear team to an upset of Tucson’s Palo Verde High School.

Like Lennon, Roberts has also won two Player of the Year awards, the first coming during her sophomore season.

But, unlike Lennon, she won’t have a chance to make it three.

And that’s good news to the other Division III teams who have been waiting in line for a state title.