Senior Leighann Bennett, who led the Dryden girls soccer team to a 15-2 record and a berth in the sectional semifinals, was named first-team all-state in Class B by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Bennett, who has committed to play at Binghamton University on scholarship next fall, garners first-team all-state accolades for the second time of her career. She was named MVP of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large North Division this season after being selected as co-MVP as a junior. The six-time IAC all-star and two-year captain finished her high school career with 100 goals and 55 assists, scoring her final one in the Purple Lions’ 3-1 loss to Seton Catholic Central in the Section 4 Class B semis.
Playing in the central midfield for Dryden, Bennett scored 23 goals and tallied 12 assists in 2012.
Bennett was not the only member of the Purple Lions to be recognized state-wide. Her younger sister, freshman Taylor, was named to the all-state fourth team. Taylor, a forward, was one of just two freshmen to earn all-state honors in Class B, and already has 81 goals and 29 assists in three years on varsity at Dryden. Her 33 goals this season was one short of sister Leighann’s school record.
The Lions are led by the Bennett sisters’ mother, long-time coach Janine Bennett.
“(Leighann) is the player on our team whose shoes will be very difficult to fill,” said Janine Bennett. “She can control the tempo of the game and has the technical and tactical skills that are taking her to play Division I soccer next year. I have been very fortunate to coach Leighann through her entire soccer career as it has been a big part of our life together and I am very proud of her accomplishments.”
“(Taylor) is a competitor among no other,” Janine Bennett added. “Her athleticism and drive sets her apart from others. I feel very fortunate to have Taylor for three more years at Dryden High School.”
In Class C, Lansing sophomore forward Shea McCartney was named to the all-state fifth team. She helped Lansing to a 13-3-1 record and a berth in the sectional semifinals, where the Bobcats fell, 1-0, to Elmira Notre Dame.
Notre Dame senior defender Rebecca Watts was a first-team pick as she led the Crusaders to a 15-3-1 record and a berth in the Section 4 Class C final.
And in Class D, senior forward Elena Holl of Marathon — MVP of the IAC North Small School Division — earned second-team honors after leading the Olympians to a berth in the sectional semifinals before falling to eventual champion Franklin, 2-0.