One last honor: VanKirk, Petito turn the tassel

One last honor: VanKirk, Petito turn the tassel


One last honor: VanKirk, Petito turn the tassel


Bayside South Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year Payton VanKirk, left, and Jillian Petito.

Bayside South Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year Payton VanKirk, left, and Jillian Petito.

There’s no option for a redshirt or a fifth year.

And that hasn’t quite hit Bayside South Defensive Player of the Year Jillian Petito.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that next year we’re going to college,” Petito said. “I feel like we just ended lacrosse, and we’re getting ready for soccer season in the fall. I don’t think it’s really going to hit me until August that we’ll never play with each other again.”

Petito’s recently-graduated teammate, Payton VanKirk — the Bayside South Offensive Player of the Year has come to terms with the end of the group of seniors high school careers.

It did end with a valiant loss in the 3A/2A state championship game and now one last honor before Petito becomes a goaltender for Mount St. Mary’s and VanKirk a midfielder for University of Maryland Baltimore County.

“It’s bittersweet obviously,” VanKirk said. “When the season ended, it was a heart-breaking loss, but we were all so happy and felt so blessed to be at the game.”

VanKirk scored 60 goals and dished out 25 assists in her senior season. Petito, who earned her second-straight POTY award (she was co-defensive player of the year with Ally Beck last season), came up with countless double-digit save games in her career.

Teams can’t win big games without goalkeepers like Petito, Stephen Decatur head coach Bob Musitano said after the 7-6 semifinal win against Hereford when she had 10 saves.

Mustiano said the same all season about VanKirk too, calling her a leader and coach on the field. Of course, Stephen Decatur did have eight players on the All-Bayside South First Team. Parkside graduated its talented senior class with four on the first team and James M. Bennett and Cambridge-South Dorchester each had one.

“Our offense this year was such a threat,” VanKirk said. “We really had such a strong offense that it made it so much fun. We had so many goals that were so cool, so different.”

Petito credited her young defense that really meshed well together and helped the state finals run.

The year prior, Petito had worked with a mostly veteran defense.

But this year, she stepped her leadership role and brought everything in one motion together.

“I thought it was nerve-wracking at first, but Jillian really took the younger girls under her wing and really helped them,” VanKirk said. “I thought that made our defense stronger — having her leadership and Ally Beck.”

“This year, Ally and I had to help the younger girls a lot,” Petito said. “It was just working at practice and answering questions.”

But like many of the athletes on Delmarva, high school sports are done and there won’t be more games.

But that doesn’t mean a few of the Decatur girls won’t play each other. VanKirk and Blair Yesko, who will play for Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, will get to play against Petito at The Mount.

Bayside South Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year Payton VanKirk, left, and Jillian Petito.

Bayside South Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year Payton VanKirk, left, and Jillian Petito.

“It will be weird,” Petito laughed.

“I hate shooting on her,” VanKirk said.

“I know where she shoots every time,” Petito added.

Maybe they’re all ready to move on after all.

On Twitter/Instagram: @DTimes_Marshall

All-Bayside South First Team

Alivia Roskovich, Parkside

Blair Langeler, Parkside

Maria Gianelle, Parkside

Emily Davis, Parkside

Allie O’Leary, James M. Bennett

Ally Beck, Stephen Decatur

Jillian Petito, Stephen Decatur

Payton VanKirk, Stephen Decatur

Blair Yesko, Stephen Decatur

Elle Bargar, Stephen Decatur

Peyton Townsend, Stephen Decatur

Claire Porter, Stephen Decatur

Lexie VanKirk, Stephen Decatur

Brooke Webster, Cambridge-South Dorchester

Bayside South Offensive Player of the Year: Payton VanKirk

Bayside South Defensive Player of the Year: Jillian Petito

All-Bayside South Second Team

Blair Vilov, Parkside

Kelsey Nock, Parkside

Alexis Nock, Parkside

Madeleine Peters, James M. Bennett

Keegan Marsh, James M. Bennett

Gabby Haisington, James M. Bennett

Jane Turner, James M. Bennett

Brittany Schmidt, James M. Bennett

Brigette Ardis, Stephen Decatur

Jillian Metricic, Stephen Decatur

Victoria Kerkovich, Stephen Decatur

Christina Romano, Stephen Decatur

Ashley Pete, Cambridge-South Dorchester

Gabby Lanso, Wicomico

Kasil Nicales, Wicomico

Mairin Jabagat, Wicomico

Maddy White, Wicomico

Honorable Mention

Dara Gregory, James M. Bennett

Jaibyn Hull, James M. Bennett

Rachel Florek, Stephen Decatur

Sara Metricic, Stephen Decatur

Hallie Edmunds, Stephen Decatur

Erin Smith, Stephen Decatur

Jordan Klebe, Stephen Decatur

Paloma Sterrett, Cambridge-South Dorchester

Shelby Moffic, Wicomico

Bailey Truitt, Wicomico

Alexis Taylor, Wicomico

Kristin Waro, Wicomico


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