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Lexy Hazle added another achievement to her already impressive athletic resume.
One of Elizabethtown’s most versatile female athletes in school history, Hazle was voted Offensive Player of the Year on the annual News-Enterprise/Coaches’ All-Area Girls’ Soccer Team after the senior striker helped the Lady Panthers (17-6-2) become the first girls’ team in area history to advance to the state tournament’s final four.
Hazle appeared on all six of the area coaches’ ballots, receiving 5-of-7 first-place votes and finishing with 28 out of a maximum 30 points.
John Hardin junior forward Anne Hare, who had 24 goals and six assists for the Lady Bulldogs (11-7-1), was the runner-up with 16 points and one first-place vote. Central Hardin senior Haley Ennis, who had nine goals and one assist for the Lady Bruins (9-8-3), was third with 12 points and one first-place vote.
“It’s a real honor to be selected to this and since I’ve been playing for so long, I’m glad to get this,” Hazle said.
Hazle had team highs in goals (28) and assists (23) in 25 games as Elizabethtown swept the 17th District and 5th Region tournament titles and beat Louisville schools Mercy and Assumption in the first two rounds of State before falling to eventual runner-up and 2011 champion Covington Notre Dame in the semifinals, 1-0.
“I love playing with Lexy because I can play the ball anywhere and she can go get it,” said Elizabethtown left wing Dani Wilson, the Area Sophomore of the Year. “She knows what runs others are making because she’s very smart when she has the ball. She can find us and find other players on the team without us even realizing she’s looking for us.”
As a freshman, Hazle was a starter on Elizabethtown’s State team. As a junior, she helped the Lady Panthers to the first No. 1 ranking in area history. As a senior, she was a finalist for the state’s Miss Soccer award, a first-team Coaches’ All-State Team selection and she played in the All-State games at the Elizabethtown Sports Park.
“I’m glad my career’s not over and I’m glad I’m still playing in college,” said Hazle, who will play for NCAA Division-II Bellarmine University. “I hope it just gets better.”
Soccer season marked Hazle’s ninth state tournament or championship appearance in four sports. She went to State twice in soccer, twice in cross country (she finished in the top 15 in Class 2-A in 2010), three times in tennis (with three doubles partners) and has been twice in track (she has one individual region championship in the 800-meter run in 2012 and one 2-A state championship in the 3,200 relay in 2012).
“I’ve always grown up just wanting to play every sport I can and trying to get involved in everything,” Hazle said. “But I like soccer the most.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR. After sharing the award last year with then-Elizabethtown senior defender Halle Pinkham – now a freshman starter and captain for D-I Murray State – Central Hardin senior goalkeeper Savannah Haberman had the award all to herself this year.
“I wanted to win it again so bad and after the season ended, I didn’t think I was going to get it again,” said Haberman, who plans to sign with Eastern Kentucky University early next year. “I was shocked when (Coach Hal) Bender texted me.”
Haberman finished with 21 points and three first-place votes. Elizabethtown senior defensive center midfielder Hope Palaly, who helped the Lady Panthers keep foes to 0.9 goals per game, was the runner-up with 20 points and two first-place votes. John Hardin central defender Shiann Washington, who helped the Lady Bulldogs keep foes to 1.3 goals per game, was third with 15 points and two first-place votes.
Haberman recorded eight shutouts, blanking every district foe except Elizabethtown – which she twice held to just one goal. She earned two shutouts against top-25 teams Greenwood and Boyle County and earned another against 11th District champion Meade County.
“I didn’t want to be the person who drops off after having such a great junior year,” said Haberman, who was a first-team All-State selection. “I wanted to keep the pressure on myself to be as good as I was. I wanted to be better, actually. I wanted to do everything that I did (as a junior) again.”
SOPHOMORE OF THE YEAR. Wilson came down with pneumonia as the postseason started, but the left wing was still effective. She had a match-high two goals in the region final and had the game-winning assist in the Lady Panthers’ state tournament quarterfinal.
“It was easy to get the ball to her because you could just hit it up and she could get to it,” Hazle said of Wilson, who had five assists and four goals in the postseason. “And it didn’t matter if she was sick or not, she still gave it everything she had.”
Wilson finished with 26 points and four first-place votes as earned the most-decisive victory out of the four individual honors. John Hardin’s Erika Ralston was the runner-up with 10 points, while Central Hardin’s Rachel Mobley was third with eight points and one first-place vote. Fort Knox’s Emily Stenman and LaRue County’s Rachel Wolf each received one first-place vote.
Wilson, who scored the game-winning goal on the road against Central Hardin in the regular season, finished with 11 goals and 10 assists in 24 games.
“I was more proud of the team this year. We did what no girls’ team ever has in this area. That was big and exciting for us and it was nice to prove people wrong,” Wilson said of playing in the final four. “It was definitely surreal. It was a great experience and I’m hoping to go back and experience it all over again.”
COACH OF THE YEAR. Following Jerry Crabtree’s resignation early in the season, Pat Black was named Elizabethtown’s interim coach. His first game, although it came before his official designation, was on the road against two-time defending region champion Central Hardin.
The Lady Panthers went undefeated in their first five games under Black and finished the season 14-4-2 under him.
“Coach Black knows how to make practices entertaining and make them fun,” Wilson said. “He can play with us and he can demonstrate the drills that he wants us to do. He can play with us and that was different because boys are bigger and they’re faster and they’re stronger. So to have to have that out there with us during practice, that was good.”
Black finished with 28 points and five first-place votes. Central Hardin’s Hal Bender was the runner-up with 22 points and two first-place votes. John Hardin’s Brittany Carter was third with five points.
During the All-State Games at the Elizabethtown Sports Park, Black also received the Kentucky Girls’ Soccer Coaches’ Association Public Small School Coach of the Year.
“Throughout the whole season, he had faith in us,” Hazle said. “He kept us calm and kept encouraging us to do better and play as a team.”
ALL-AREA TEAM. Earning first team honors were Hare, Haberman, Hazle, Ennis, Elizabethtown senior Emily Richardson, Washington, Wilson, Palaly, Elizabethtown junior Jesse Giles, Meade County senior Jennifer Rethmeier and North Hardin junior Lexy Lopez.
Named to the second team were Meade County senior Lindsey Fackler, North Hardin senior Ariana Martinez, Fort Knox junior Christina Rice, Central Hardin junior Mia Wiersema, Elizabethtown senior Abby Patterson, John Hardin senior Courtney Boyd, Central Hardin senior Olivia Thompson, LaRue County junior Shelbi Brooks, Wolf, North Hardin sophomore Dorothy Suzanne, Central Hardin senior Casey Gandy and Meade County sophomore Brittani Butler.
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com
GIRLS’ 2012 ALL-AREA SOCCER TEAM
Offensive Player of the Year
Lexy Hazle, Elizabethtown
Defensive Player of the Year
Savannah Haberman, Central Hardin
Sophomore of the Year
Dani Wilson, Elizabethtown
Coach of the Year
Pat Black, North Hardin
First Team All-Area
Anne Hare, John Hardin
Savannah Haberman, Central Hardin
Lexy Hazle, Elizabethtown
Haley Ennis, Central Hardin
Emily Richardson, Elizabethtown
Shiann Washington, John Hardin
Dani Wilson, Elizabethtown
Hope Palaly, Elizabethtown
Jesse Giles, Elizabethtown
Jennifer Rethmeier, Meade County
Lexy Lopez, North Hardin
Second Team All-Area
Lindsey Fackler, Meade County
Ariana Martinez, North Hardin
Christina Rice, Fort Knox
Mia Wiersema, Central Hardin
Abby Patterson, Elizabethtown
Courtney Boyd, John Hardin
Olivia Thompson, Central Hardin
Shelbi Brooks, LaRue County
Rachel Wolf, LaRue County
Dorothy Suzanne, North Hardin
Casey Gandy, Central Hardin
Brittani Butler, Meade County
Honorable Mention All-Area
Central Hardin: Kendra Ball, Rachel Mobley, Tori Skillman and Chandi Wilson.
Elizabethtown: Madison Conway, Jordyn Patterson, Sarah Puckett and Madison Smith.
FortKnox: Ashlee Kohler and Emily Stenman.
John Hardin: Brianna Anderson, Erika Ralston and Katie Sivulich.
LaRueCounty: Courtney Johnson and Kasey Wells.
MeadeCounty: Katelyn Cucino and Micaela Ray.
North Hardin: Kiera Jones and Madison Teeter.
The seven area head coaches were asked to nominate athletes for the individual awards and the All-Area Team. After all nominations were received, a ballot was emailed out to every coach. Voting was done on a 5-3-1 points scale for the four individual awards (Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sophomore of the Year and Coach of the Year), with five being a first-place vote, three being a second and one being a third. Voting was done on a 15-14-13-etc. scale for the All-Area Team. Players had to be nominated by their coach AND receive at least one vote from an opposing coach to earn honorable mention. Coaches were forbidden from voting for themselves or their athletes.