At first glance, Alyssa Irwin’s stats jump off the page.
She recorded 22 goals and six assists on the season, including 12 goals and three assists in 10 Foothill League games, helping lead Hart to a perfect 10-0 league record.
However, it wasn’t just her goal-scoring ability that set her apart this year, but her overall effect on the game that earned her the Foothill League Player of the Year award for the 2018-19 girls soccer season.
“She didn’t just impact the game with goals, she dominates in the air. She’s a big part of our set pieces offensively and defensively, she really dominates the game in that area too,” Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovitch said. “Just the way she plays, she fits very well into the system. She’s always working hard, she doesn’t hesitate to put her body on the line, she’s very aggressive.”
Irwin’s accomplishment marks the sixth consecutive year a Hart player has won the Player of the Year award, which is fitting considering the Indians have won six consecutive league titles without losing a league game.
The difference between Irwin and her predecessors?
The five players who won the award before her were all seniors.
Irwin received the honor as a junior.
“I didn’t know it was rare for a junior,” Irwin said with a laugh. “I was super excited because obviously this has been a really successful year for me and the team and it felt really good to get that recognition.”
“It doesn’t happen very often in our league where a junior gets Player of the Year, so credit to her,” Mitrovitch said.
Irwin had several league games with multiple goals including both contests against second-place West Ranch and the final game of the regular season against third-place Saugus, a 2-1 victory that clinched Hart’s undefeated league season.
She also scored Hart’s lone goal in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs against El Dorado.
“She had a tremendous impact all year, with the ball, off the ball,” Mitrovitch said. “So many of those tough games she came through. She had a great impact in a lot of our games and game-winning goals all year long, including our CIF game. I’m really happy to see how things played out for her because she had an established season.”
Irwin credits her teammates for her exceptional campaign, saying she never would have had so many opportunities at goal without their unselfish play and ability to find her in the right spots.
She showed a great connection particularly with midfielders Stefani Woll (who assisted her on nine goals), Elizabeth MacArthur and Caitlin “Patty” Pieper.
“I feel like all of the balls that have been played to me have been really good and it’s so much easier for me to finish. That’s the reason I got so many goals,” Irwin said. “Because of Stefani’s amazing corners I was able to use the skill that I have of heading the ball and because of all the amazing through balls from Patty, Lizzie and Stefani I was able to get opportunities to score.
“Without them, I never would have gotten those opportunities to score and I wouldn’t have been able to show that I can score.”
With one more year left in her varsity career, Irwin is determined to win her fourth consecutive league crown and hopes to help lead Hart to a deeper run in the playoffs next season.
And after high school, she would like to continue her athletic career at the next level, something her coach believes is in the cards.
“I would love to play in college because I love soccer. As of right now it just depends on who wants me and where I can go and contribute to the team,” she said. “So I’m just weighing my options and waiting to see what happens with that.”
Stefani Woll, Jr., Hart
Kaycie Priske, Sr., Hart
Jensen Shrout, So., Hart
Kaylani Miranda, Sr. West Ranch
Leanna Kane, So., West Ranch
Lizeth Gutierrez, So., West Ranch
Shaina Berdin, Jr., Saugus
Aubrey Finicle, Sr., Saugus
Isabelle Goralsky, Jr., Valencia
Quinnlan Reynolds, So., Valencia
Aubrey McKessy, Jr., Canyon
Kella Okereke, So., Golden Valley
Caitlin Pieper, Sr., Hart
Elizabeth MacArthur, Sr., Hart
Tatum Summerfield, Sr., West Ranch
Amanda Baumgartner, Jr., West Ranch
Brooke Chambers, Sr., Saugus
Alana Berens, Sr., Saugus
Lauren Huntsinger, So., Valencia
Cory Greer, Jr., Valencia
Sierra McCormick, So., Canyon
Shelby Cooper, Sr., Canyon
Emily Perez, Sr., Golden Valley
Mariah Garcia, So., Golden Valley
Jacqueline Morrison, Jr., Canyon
Shaden Moran, So., Golden Valley
Jessica Deegan, Jr., Hart
Nicole Frazier, Sr., Saugus
Jessica Raffi, Sr., Valencia
Cassidy Imperial-Pham, Fr., West Ranch