Hannah Datz is one of those type of players that every coach would love to have on his or her team.
She is a smart player and works hard, but most of all, she is unselfish — always putting the team first.
Datz, a four-year starter, has helped lead the Granville girls soccer program to new heights.
As a midfielder, Datz broke the single-season school record with 25 assists. The previous record was 19. She also played a major role in helping freshman Nikki Cox break the school record for most goals in a season with 29.
“Hannah is a very unselfish player that could have scored more, but was more than willing to set other people up,” Granville coach Scott Forster said. “She did whatever she could to help the team win, and she knew her role was to give other people scoring opportunities.”
Datz, who also scored eight goals, is The Advocate’s 2012 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“This just proves to me that hard work does pay off,” Datz said. “We all put the work in during the offseason, and we came together as a team, which was neat because we had a lot of talented younger players that mixed in well with experienced players.
“It’s great to get individual stuff, but the team’s success meant more to me.”
Granville finished 14-3-2, including regular-season wins against DeSales and New Albany. The Blue Aces also tied Bexley.
That was good enough to win a share of the Mid-State League-Ohio Division title. Granville also earned the No. 1 seed in the Division II tournament, which was a first in the program’s history.
Granville cruised through its first two tournament games, including an 8-2 win against Bexley. The Blue Aces lost a heartbreaker in the district finals, falling to DeSales, 1-0 in overtime.
Through it all, Datz was the player that was the glue for the Blue Aces from her mid-field position.
“She has great ball skills, and she is in complete control of the ball at all times — and she is very creative,” Forster said. “Her field vision is awesome, and basically, she just outworks and outsmarts whoever she plays against.”
Datz realized early on that although Cox was a freshman, she was going to be a key in the Blue Aces’ success.
“We all knew that Nikki would play a big part in the team,” Datz said. “I wanted to do my best to get her involved. I had no problem getting her the ball. We really clicked on and off the field.
“We both have a love for the game, and we kind of speak the same (soccer) language. It got to the point where we could just look at each other and knew what the other was thinking.”
After winning 15 games in 2011 and falling 1-0 to DeSales in the district final, the expectations were high heading into the season.
Granville beefed up its schedule, which included several Division I teams, to prepare it for the tournament.
Forster said one of the big reasons the Blue Aces met their expectations was the leadership and willingness to be a team player that Datz showed.
“She will be hard to replace because she led by her actions,” Forster said. “She is not a real vocal player, but when she talked, it was meaningful and always positive.”
Datz said one the big things she is most proud of is how far the program has come in the past four years.
“We knew we had a talented team coming into he season, and it was neat to see us put it all together,” Datz said. “We came up a little short of winning a district title, but the girls know what it takes and the work they have to put in.
“I’m going to miss playing with these girls, but it’s been amazing to see the progress and growth of the program the last four years, and it’s only going to get better.