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2020 Girls Soccer All-Area Team: Two Oxford forwards named Co-Players of the Year

“Great moments are born from great opportunities.”

It’s an old Herb Brooks quote from the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team’s Miracle on Ice.

But when Oxford girls’ soccer head coach Hunter Crane is asked how he’ll remember his two forwards from this season, that’s the quote that rings true. Oxford senior Kathleen Myers and junior Carissa Strum are the EAGLE’s 2020 All-Area co-players of the year. Sure, they had eye-popping numbers, but it’s their play on the big stages that stood out.

“You look at big moments, and both of these girls showed up in big moments. They both just produced all season long,” Crane said. “When you needed a goal, we looked to both of those girls as the ones we were going to go to. They just did so much for the game and they led our team so beautifully.”

It’s hard to really pick one girl out from the other. Myers was the All-District Offensive Player of the Year. Charissa was the Most Valuable Player. Myers led Oxford in scoring with 22 goals and added 14 assists of her own. Strum finished just one goal behind Myers (21), but led the team with 23 assists. Both captains this season, Myers will be going to Southeast Louisiana to play soccer following her upcoming graduation.

The biggest moment that stood out for Oxford this season came at home against rival Tupelo.

With only 10 minutes to play, Oxford trailed 3-1 to the Golden Wave on their home turf. Myers then went off, having the 10 minutes of her life, scoring three goals in the final minutes to win the game for the Chargers.

“Honestly, I really didn’t even know how I was still moving – I had a cramp earlier,” Myers said. “But I scored the first one, and it kind of gave us some energy. When I got the second one, we’re all just saying ‘only one more.’ Right before the third one, I only had to beat one girl, and just the energy just came to me and we put it away. It was a fun game.”

Strum had some game winners in her own right this year, including a free kick in overtime during the playoffs. She plays more of a point position for the Chargers – the team fed the ball to her and everyone worked off of her. Her unselfishness in that position is what leads to 23 assists on a season.

Both girls spoke about a different level of fluidity with the offense this season. Things were different; they were asked to play different roles, and truly they excelled.

“In our past years, it was sort of we worked the ball up the field as a team then one person does it themselves and scored,” Strum said. “This year, we all went down the field together and we were all a part of the passing and finishing. A lot of me and (Kathleen’s) goals came from crosses and finishes from each other.”

Their intertwined play up top for Oxford contributed a big part to the team’s 15-3-2 record on the season, and has earned them Co-Player of the Year honors.

The Rest of the Team:

F: Hudson Lindsay (Lafayette Sophomore)

If a Commodore had to win Player of the Year, it would have been Lindsay. The sophomore scored 24 goals on the season, leading the team in a big way.

“All of a sudden, she was so much more confident both on the field and off,” said Lafayette head coach Melinda Scruggs. “Hudson can be her own worst critic at times. So this year she was able to say, yes I’m going to make mistakes but what can I do about those? She worked a lot harder and you could tell she was growing up this season.”

F: Carissa Strum (Oxford Junior) and Kathleen Myers (Oxford Senior)***

MF: Grace Freeman (Oxford Sophomore)

One of the more versatile Chargers, Freeman played all over the field for Oxford this season. The sophomore scored 15 goals this season, including a 5 goal outburst in a 9-2 win over Starkville.

“She just had more of a nose for the goal this year than she did as a freshman,” Crane said. “We had her as a midfielder and then later moved her to forward some, too. But when she was on the field, we looked a lot more dynamic because people weren’t able to try and just take away two players from us offensively. They had to watch all three of those girls.”

MF: Katelin Johnson (Lafayette Junior)

Johnson finished the season both second on the Lafayette team in goals (14) and leading the team in assists (14).

“She’s a workhorse. She’ll go until she can’t go anymore,” Scruggs said. “She’s going to come in fit and work her butt off, but she has a sort of speed that’s almost hidden. This season, she worked really hard at making her crosses a lot better, and that’s where a lot of her assists came from.”

MF: Lucy Wilson (Lafayette Junior)

The EAGLE’s 2019 Player of the Year moved into a much different road this season, playing more of a facilitator than a scoring role for the Commodores. She still scored 13 goals and added seven assists.

“Lucy is just a very versatile player and she’s very smart. She knows the game of soccer probably better than anyone on our team,” Scruggs said. “She knows where the ball needs to know next; she’s already made her decision. She has very good touch and ball skills. Literally, if I wanted to play her at center back, which I’d never do, she’d go in and do it. She’s an ultimate team player.”

D: Sara Grace Moore (Lafayette Senior) and Avery Treloar (Lafayette Junior)

On a relatively young Lafayette team, the back line was where they found experience and leadership.

“Our backs as a whole were really solid. We had three seniors and then Avery will be a senior next year,” Scruggs said. “Those girls had to be the core leaders this year, just because of their age. Those girls have been around the longest and been through it all. The main thing with our back line this year was they were so consistent.”

D: Maria Jones (Oxford Senior)

“She’s probably the most talked about but least decorated girl on our team. Being the defender, she won’t get the stats,” Crane said. “Her decision making and awareness and control of the defense was really, really big for us this year. Her recovery ability and speed is something that was just unmatched.”

D: Maggie Sudduth (Oxford Senior)

Sudduth had originally been an offense player – a forward and then a midfielder. Going into her junior season, the team moved her to defense, where she really figured it out her senior year in the outside backer role for the Chargers.

“It’s weird. Maggie was always a great athlete, but actually the best athlete that I’ve ever seen her be was during the powder puff game her senior year. She was absolutely dominating people. It was crazy,” Crane said. “For us she was just so versatile. Having that offensive mentality helped us at outside back.”

GK: Caitlyn Rhea (Lafayette Junior)

“For Caitlyn, like some of our other players, we just had to build up her confidence. For a long time, she was very quiet and shy,” Scruggs said. “One of the things we had to preach to her was how important it was as a goalkeeper to be demanding and to give directions. And that’s something she really improved on this year. Then technically, she’s done a great job – she’s better with her hands and she’s able to punt the ball out a lot further than she used to be able to.”

Honorable Mention: Bayleigh Moore (Lafayette Senior), Ivy Dennis (Oxford Sophomore)