After leading her team to another undefeated season and another Division III championship Peoples Academy senior Katie Stames is once again Vermont’s high school girls soccer Gatorade player of the year, the company announced Thursday.
With the honor, Stames became the fourth Vermonter to win the honor in back-to-back years, joining Colchester’s Lauren Bernard (2011, 2012) and Kristi Lefebvre (2000, 2001), and Essex’s Natalie LeClair (2008, 2009).
Stames, the Free Press’ 2013 player of the year as well, racked up 35 goals and 23 assists as she led the Wolves to their third consecutive state title and 18-0 campaign to extend the program’s winning streak to 50 game.
She finished her career with 107 goals and 57 assists.
The 5-foot-4 forward will play for St. Lawrence University in the fall.
In 15 games this season, the Essex girls hockey team has been on lockdown defensively.
The Metro Division-leading Hornets have allowed just five goals all season, pitching 11 shutouts in the process.
Leading the defensive effort are goalies Victoria Gibson and Vika Simmons.
“Victoria (Gibson) has been unbelievable and Vika (Simmons), when she has gotten a chance, has been almost as good,” coach John Maddalena said.
Essex has focused on defense as a team to back up the two stalwarts in net. Honing puck-control breakouts has helped the team improve on what Maddalena said was a weakness last season.
“This year, we are a little bit more experienced,” the coach said. “Our defense has done a better job of breaking the puck out and our offense has done a good job at controlling the puck.”
That said, Maddalena added that the Hornets (12-1-2) are still looking to improve their defense as the season winds towards the playoffs.
“We have been focusing on lowering the number of shots that we allow,” Maddalena said. “We have been working really hard on playing defense stick on stick so they can’t get a shot away.”
Essex will have to rely on the strong defense as they wrap up the season with a tough stretch that includes games against BFA-St. Albans, Spaulding, Champlain Valley-South Burlington and Colchester.
PARO LEAVES MOUNT ANTHONY
Mount Anthony field hockey coach Laura Paro has stepped down after 17 years in charge of the Patriots’ program. Paro was the second longest-tenured field hockey coach at MAU and leaves the team with a 124-108 record.
The longtime coach led the Patriots to Division I semifinal appearances in four of the last six seasons, including a Final Four trip this year, where they fell to eventual state champ Essex.
Paro will wrap up her Vermont coaching career this summer when she leads the Vermont all-stars team in the annual Twin State game against New Hampshire.