Red Devils’ Otto Named All-Valley Girls’ Soccer Captain
It wasn’t that long ago when former St. Clairsville soccer standout Jaclyn Dutton rewrote the St. Clairsville record book with a scoring barrage that no one thought would ever be touched.
Now comes Alyssa Otto.
In her junior season, Otto had a season to remember and has quickly drawn comparisons to the Red Devils icon, who coincidentally is an assistant coach with the team.
Dutton was a former two-time All-Valley captain and this season, Otto joins that prestigious club as today she is named the captain of the The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register’s 22nd All-Valley Girls’ Soccer Team.
“It means a lot to me and makes me feel like I’m a leader on the field,” Otto said. ” I couldn’t do it without my team behind me. Having a good team behind me really pushes me to be my best.”
Otto, who is making her third appearance on the All-Valley team, just keeps getting better and better. In her sophomore season, she had 41 goals.
This season, she blew that number out of the water with 62 goals, bringing her total to 103 for her career. Not bad when you consider she sat out the second half of a lot of games because they were out of hand. She also added 14 assists.
According to maxpreps.com, Otto is the second leading scorer in the nation, trailing only Madison Luttrell of Covington High School in Tennessee (70 goals, 156 total points).
Otto led her team to the OVAC Class 4A championship game, but lost to Oak Glen. With a young team and Otto coming back to make another assault on the Red Devils record book, there is going to be a lot of optimism next fall in St. Clairsville.
“We expect to be better,” Otto said. “We are going to keep working hard and keep going. I think next season is going to be great for us.
“I have practices in the winter and push them to be their best. We go out in the summer and work and I think me growing as a leader is going to help us grow as a team. I have a lot of passion for the game and I love being out there with my team. I want to be the best I can be.”
The two-year captain and two-time team Most Valuable Player was also named first team All-OVAC, All-Eastern District and All-Buckeye 8. She was selected as the OVAC Class 4A Player of the Year.
When your leading scorer is a freshman, your program has a bright future. That is the situation Weir is staring at with Isabella Aperfine. In her first season with the Red Riders, the young forward who Coach Jeremy Angelo said has a “never give up attitude” scored 24 goals to go along with eight assists. She was named first team All-OVAC and second team all-state by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Claire Dieffenbaugher may not have gotten all the headlines as some of the other players featured on the All-Valley team, but she meant as much to her team as anyone in the valley. The senior midfielder did it all for Wheeling Central, solidifying the midfield for the OVAC Class 1A/3A champions. The Maroon Knights captain scored five goals and recorded eight assists. She was selected first team All-OVAC and played in the OVAC All-Star Game, while also being named the second team all-state captain.
Aperfine isn’t the only freshman in Hancock County that made a name for herself this soccer season. Reece Enochs burst onto the scene this season with Oak Glen and formed a formidable scoring duo with fellow All-Valley teammate Maggie Kovalcik as the team captured the OVAC Class 4A championship. In her first season with the Golden Bears, Enochs scored 34 goals — two in the OVAC title game victory — and added 13 assists on her way to becoming first team All-OVAC and second team all-state.
With great foot skills and field vision, Julia Gianni can play anywhere on the field and play it well. When Angelo and the Red Riders needed a big play, it was Gianni who came through, including scoring a game-winning overtime goal to beat Wheeling Central in the sectional tournament.
Her team-first attitude will serve her well next season as the Red Riders will have their eyes set on making the trip to Beckley. Gianni scored 23 goals and added 18 assists on her way to being named first team all-state and All-OVAC.
For most of the season, Wheeling Park was the No. 1 ranked team in Class AAA in West Virginia, a mark achieved by an impressive record, especially when considering the schedule. In those big games, Morgan Glass was at her best. With 13 goals and 13 assists, Glass was the model of consistency. Wheeling Park captured its first OVAC 5A championship since 2014 with a 2-0 victory against University at Wheeling Island Stadium. In that game, it was Glass who got the Patriots on the board 65 seconds in with what proved to be the game-winning goal. She later assisted on an insurance goal. Glass was named first team All-OVAC and second team all-state.
Soccer is in Allison Julian’s blood. The daughter of boys’ coach Mario Julian, Allison has been around the game of soccer all her life. On a team loaded with superstars, Allison Julian was the playmaker. There was nothing she couldn’t do on the pitch and her hard-nosed play often set the team up for scoring chances.
Julian was second on the team with 14 assists while also scoring five goals for Coach Carrie Hanna’s squad. Julian was named first team All-OVAC and honorable mention all-state.
Along with an OVAC 4A championship — in which Maggie Kovalcik had the game-winning goal — Oak Glen made school history by capturing its first sectional title. While it is pretty hard to top Enochs’ numbers, Kovalcik just managed to edge out her teammate as the scoring leader, totaling 35 goals and 15 assists. The Golden Bears came up a victory short of earning a trip to Beckley for the state tournament, but with Kovalcik back for her senior season, another first could be headed that way for Oak Glen. Following her solid season, Kovalcik was selected first team all-state and All-OVAC.
One of the most dangerous goal-scorers around, it was Lauren Schultz that often made the headlines for the Patriots this season. She the focus of many opponents, but it didn’t matter. Schultz had that desire to score and when she had the chance to put the Patriots on the scoreboard, she almost always came through. Schultz, who is going to continue her academic and athletic careers at Memphis, was a goal-scoring machine, leading the Patriots with 27 goals and also added 12 assists. She was also named first team all-state and All-OVAC.
She may not be the leading scorer. She might not have the most assists. But there is no doubt that Jada Taylor is who made Wheeling Park go.
A team captain and the leader of the midfield, Taylor was all over the field and not afraid to mix it up. She set up most of the offense and her through passes were as good as anyone in the valley.
With her big leg, she was also a dangerous threat on free kicks. Making her second straight appearance on the All-Valley first team, Taylor scored 11 goals with nine assists during her final campaign, earning her first team all-state and All-OVAC, as well as being named the OVAC Class 5A Player of the Year.
Kenadee Wayt is best known for track, and that speed has come in quite handy for her in soccer. Excellent with the ball at her feet, she can usually blow past an opposing defender, making her one of the most dangerous weapons in the Ohio Valley. Once she gets past the defense, she knows how to finish. The junior forward, making her second straight appearance on the All-Valley first team, scored 32 goals and added five assists — 70 percent of the team’s scoring. She was named first team All-OVAC and the OVAC Class 1A/3A Player of the Year, as well as second team all-state.
No, St. Clairsville wasn’t just the Alyssa Otto Show. In fact, Macy Malin was able to stand out on her own. The team’s starting center midfielder, Malin’s job was to set up the Red Devils forwards and came away with 28 assists. She wasn’t bad at putting the ball in the back of the net either as evidenced by her 18 goals.
“She has the best field vision that I’ve ever seen in my 30 years around the sport,” St. Clairsville coach Wes Stoner said.
The third freshman on the All-Valley team, Malin was also selected first team All-OVAC.
Linsly may have found its newest superstar in Athena Mariano. The speedy forward was able to score goals from unlikely positions and according to Coach Chelsea Miazgowicz, someone “you can always count on to score.”
And lucky for the Miazgowicz, Mariano is just a sophomore so her best may be yet to come. This season, Mariano broke out with 20 goals to go along with six assists. She was also selected first team All-OVAC.
The leader of the Linsly defense, Clare Miller saved her best for last with an outstanding senior season. Whether it was helping to chase down opponents or lead the offensive attack by moving up the defenders, Miller was in command on the pitch. The Cadets finished runners-up in the OVAC Class 1A/3A this season, but the senior sweeper leaves the school with a strong legacy, having a hand in two OVAC championships and an overall record of 43-19-5. Despite being a defender, Miller scored four goals and added seven assists. She was also named first team All-OVAC.
Harrison Central got a soccer program off the ground a few years ago and it has been tough sledding for the most part. This season, the Huskies finished with their first .500 season to go along with a sectional championship. In that sectional title game, Sydney Star did what she has been doing her entire career — scoring. She netted two goals and added two assists in a 4-0 victory against Sandy Valley.
The junior totaled 25 goals and 15 assists and becomes the first Harrison Central player to be selected to the All-Valley first team.
Isabella Aperfine, Weir
Claire Dieffenbaugher, Wheeling Central
Reece Enochs, Oak Glen
Julia Gianna, Weir
Morgan Glass, Wheeling Park
Allison Julian, Wheeling Park
Maggie Kovalcik, Oak Glen
Alyssa Otto, St. Clairsville (captain)
Lauren Schultz, Wheeling Park
Jada Taylor, Wheeling Park
Kenadee Wayt, Wheeling Central
Macy Malin, St. Clairsville
Athena Mariano, Linsly
Clare Miller, Linsly
Sydney Star, Harrison
Sarah Brown, Steubenville
Lauren Ferralli, Edison
Graceylyn Hanna, Wheeling Park
Mikayla Hendershot, St. Clairsville
Kali Krynicki, Madonna
Kelsey Lewis, Indian Creek
Brooklyn Loveland, Oak Glen
Abigal Myers, Oak Glen
Seana Ragusa, Steubenville
Logan Spencer, Magnolia
Katie Stakem, Wheeling Park
Taylor Quickle, Weir
Makayla Virden, Madonna
Laken Ward, Harrison
Ireland Wayt, Wheeling
Brooke: Sierra Sesto, Allie Myers
Edison: Courtnie Bube
Harrison Central: Mikaela Tobin, Taryn Graham
Indian Creek: Rachel Cooper
John Marshall: Erika Kolb, Lainey Brown
Linsly: Emma Campsey
Madonna: Emily Rovira
Magnolia: Alex Berger, Lauren Anderson
Oak Glen: Jillian Williams, Natalie Szpryka
St. Clairsville: Jaeda Nowak
Steubenville: Mary Marshall, Melanie Mamula
Steubenville Catholic: Rebecca Bodo, Deanna McGinnis
Tyler Consolidated: Amanda Reynolds
Weir: Abriana Fuscardo, Alexis Adams
Wheeling Central: Maria Murphy, Riley Blaha
Wheeling Park: Mattie Jebbia, Mattie Jebbia