OG’s Kovalcik, Weir’s Gianni Are 1st Team All-State
Central’s Dieffenbaugher second team captain
Oak Glen junior Maggie Kovalcik put together another successful season in a Golden Bears uniform. Being able to find the back of the net with ease, she finished her third varsity season scoring 34 goals and dishing out 15 assists. Kovalcik also led her team to a 4A OVAC championship with a victory over St. Clairsville. With all her accomplishments this year, she was named W.Va. Class AA/A First Team all-state. Weir’s Julia Gianni joins her as the other local player on the all-state squad after compiling 23 goals and 18 assists.
Wheeling Central won the OVAC Class 3A/1A title behind the impressive duo of Claire Dieffenbaugher and Kenadee Wayt.
Dieffenbaugher, the Maroon Knights’ do-it-all midfielder, was selected as captain of the second team. Joining Wayt and Dieffenbaugher on second team are Weir’s Isabella Aperfine and Oak Glen’s Reece Enochs.
When Sydney Cavender walked onto the pitch at Winfield, there was already a history of winning. Two straight state championships in Class AAA were already in the trophy case.
She came in as a defender, but Coach Marshall Hoff saw something else in her. He moved her to striker and the rest is history.
Cavender helped lead the Generals to three more state championships and her senior season saw her score 40 goals. For her efforts, she was named captain of the W.Va. Class AA/A all-state soccer team as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“When you look across the state, there are a lot of good players and I was lucky to have someone the caliber of Sydney,” Hoff said. “She is a quiet leader. Her play is a lot louder than she is.
“She is relentless.
If you had to pull the layers back and find that gift that made her stand out, it is her strength and agility. The way she was able to work in traffic was something special.”
It wasn’t all goal scoring. She also picked up 11 assists.
“I always praise that ‘it doesn’t matter the who, but how’ and she has bought into that,” Hoff said.
“Her unselfishness to drop off a pass. The best way to explain her is a kid that truly cares about her team.”
Winfield saw its run of five straight championships come to end this season, losing in the semifinals to Charleston Catholic.
It is also represented on the first team by sophomore midfielder Peyton Frohnapfel (19 goals, 11 assists) and senior defender Cami Frye (three goals, three assists).
“Peyton is a name to watch for in the future,” Hoff said. “She is a very special young lady. She has the ability to take balls and turn them into big plays.
“Cami, she and Sydney helped fill that captain role. She took over on defense when she needed to. We gave up less than 10 goals during the season and that was in large part to her. She made everyone around her better.”
Robert C. Byrd captured the AA/A state championship, the first non-cheerleading state championship in school history, beating Charleston, 3-2, in overtime.
The Flying Eagles were represented on the all-state team by junior forward Ashton McKane and defender Lucy Thompson.
The runner-up Irish placed two players on the first team in junior forward Mills Mullen (24 goals) and senior midfielder Jordan Keener.
Oak Hill junior Courtney Smith (41 goals) rounds out the forwards.
Fairmont Senior was the fourth team represented at the state tournament in Beckley and is led by two first-teamers in senior defender Kylie Bushko (defense allowed just 13 goals) and senior midfielder Sophie Manchin (16 goals, eight assists).
Junior defender Lacy Bryant (three goals, seven assists) is the final defender and and is joined by her teammate, Rory Marple (10 shutouts), as the lone first-team goalie.
Just a junior, St. Joe senior McKenzie Moran has given a verbal commitment to continue her academic and athletic careers at Gonzaga. Moran earns a spot as a utility player.
Herbert Hoover’s Taylor Bailey rounds out the First Team.
On second team are Winfield’s Julianne Pauley and Herbert Hoover’s Abbie Henry.
Winfield’s Ava Hall and Shady Spring’s Sydney Moneypenny are the other forwards.
Grace Cole (Winfield), Lindsey Carr (Charleston Catholic), Savannah Smith (Bluefield) and Peyton Brown (Sissonville) are the defenders.
St. Joe’s Abby Lee is the second-team goaltender.
Rounding out the utility spots are East Fairmont’s Kiera Hill, Robert C. Byrd’s Casey Underwood (who scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the state title game) and Liberty Harrison’s Makatlyn Tucker.