Cavender headlines Class AAA all-state
WHEELING — 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).
Weir’s Julia Gianni (23 goals, 18 assists) joins Keener, Frohnapfel and Manchin in the midfield.
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.
Joining her are Oak Glen goal-scoring machine Maggie Kovalcik (34 goals, 15 assists) and Herbert Hoover’s Taylor Bailey.
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 her are Winfield’s Julianne Pauley, Herbert Hoover’s Abbie Henry and Weir freshman Isabella Aperfine.
Along with Wayt, the second-team forwards are Oak Glen’s Reece Enochs, Winfield’s Ava Hall and Shady Spring’s Sydney Moneypenny.
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.