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VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: ATHENS' ROE, WAVERLY'S PICCO SHARE 'PLAYER OF YEAR' HONOR; ATHENS' WALKER, PITTS, TIOGA'S HANEY, SAYRE'S MERRILL RECEIVE OTHER TOP HONORS (2021-07-26)

Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — The Valley has been blessed with a string of Division I athletes, including several girls soccer players. Two more — Athens senior Emma Roe and Waverly senior Gabby Picco  share the 2020-21 Valley Sports Report “Player of the Year” honors.

Athens junior Hannah Walker is the “Defensive Player of the Year,” while Tioga freshman Elyse Haney and Sayre freshman Kendra Merrill share “Newcomer of the Year” honors, and Athens coach Rich Pitts is the “Coach of the Year.”

Roe led Athens back to the District 4 playoffs, but the Lady Wildcats came up short in their three-peat effort. Meanwhile, Sayre’s hopes were dashed in the third minute of the season when junior Roz Haney, a no-doubt future Division I player suffered a season-ending knee injury.

In New York, which played its season in March and April, Waverly played just six games, and Tioga played seven.

Also the 2020-21 “Offensive Player of the Year,” Roe is an electric presence on the field — a non-stop dynamo from one end of the field to the other for the Lady Wildcats. She scored 19 goals and doled out eight assists in 13 games. She will play at Wagner College in the fall.

Picco, a polished all-around player with a sky-high soccer IQ, consistently controlled the midfield and made all her teammates better. She scored six goals and had one assist. She will play at LaSalle University.

Physical, fast, and determined, Walker was a fierce defender for the Lady Wildcats, leading a defense that was very stingy.

Elyse Haney proved to be just what Tioga needed — a heady field general and facilitator who can control the middle of the field. She helped Tioga to its best record (3-3-1) in nearly 10 years.

Merrill displayed a nose for the goal, and the potential of becoming a big-time goal-scorer in the future for the Lady Redskins.

Coming off back-to-back District 4 titles, Rich Pitts directed a very young Athens team to a 9-2-1 regular-season mark, and back into the postseason, before the season came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Shamokin.

FORWARDS
Kendra Merrill, freshman, Sayre
Destini Sweet, senior, Tioga
Lea VanAllen, freshman, Waverly
Mya Thompson, freshman, Athens
Fifth Forward: Addison Westbrook, 8th-grader, Waverly.

MIDFIELD
Gabby Picco, senior, Waverly:
Emma Roe, senior, Athens:
Hannah Blackman, senior, Athens:
Elyse Haney, freshman, Tioga:
Fifth forward: Alli Thoman, sophomore, Athens.

DEFENSE
Hannah Walker, junior, Athens:
Kennedy Westbrook, sophomore, Waverly:
Cassie Birney, senior, Tioga:
Paige Robinson, freshman, Waverly:
Fifth defender: Eve Wood, senior, Tioga:

GOALKEEPER
Kaitlyn Clark, senior, Waverly:
Honorable mention: Gabby Foley, junior, Tioga.

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