The window on the Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.
Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our USA TODAY team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior midfielder, Highland (Gilbert, Ariz.)
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Best known for her dangerous flip throw-ins that have led to several Highland goals, DeGracie surpassed last year’s season totals of three goals and 41 assists. She is the state’s returning Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
2012-13 Team record: 21-2-2 (Division I)
2012-13 Team standing: Div. I state semifinals vs. Desert Vista (Phoenix, Ariz.) on Wednesday
2012-13 Goals: 8
2012-13 Assists: 46
Collegiate destination: University of Miami (Fla.)
Senior forward, Xavier College Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Dooley is the leading scorer for Xavier Prep, which is slated to face top-seeded Pinnacle in the state semis. Dooley, the 2012 Phoenix News Player of the Year, is a two-time Division I First Team All-Arizona selection.
2012-13 Team record: 15-3-3 (Division I)
2012-13 Team standing: Division I state semifinals vs. Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.) on Wednesday
2012-13 Goals: 24
2012-13 Assists: 10
Collegiate destination: University of San Diego
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. These three below have been in the conversation throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
Jorian Baucom: Junior forward, Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Ashley Duran: Senior forward, Cactus (Glendale, Ariz.)
Ashley Hatch: Senior forward, Highland (Gilbert, Ariz.)