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November 20, 2013

GIRLS' SOCCER: PLAYER OF THE YEAR, FLOYD CENTRAL SENIOR LAUREN WYATT

Senior scored 23 goals, had 11 assists

FLOYDS KNOBS — With so much talent in Southern Indiana, choosing the Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year is a difficult task.

Not this year.

Floyd Central senior Lauren Wyatt scored 23 goals, had 11 assists and helped the Highlanders win a sectional championship for the first time in three years.

As New Albany coach Tim Quakenbush put it, Wyatt was “hands down the best player in the area.”

Wyatt is a great athlete and a competitor. What made her special in four years at Floyd Central was her ability to finish shots.

In four years, she scored 36 goals for the Highlanders.

“We felt this team overachieved a bit,” Floyd Central coach Lewie Stevens said. “Part of that was that Lauren is a great finisher.”

“You only have so many opportunities in a game,” Wyatt said. “Once you get a chance to finish a shot, you need to finish it. I tried to do that.”

In the biggest game of her senior season, Wyatt did just that.

With the Highlanders down 1-0 at the half against two-time defending state finalist Providence, Wyatt scored a pair of second-half goals to force overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, Wyatt led off the penalty kicks and got another shot past first-team All-Area goalkeeper Autumn Meyer. The Highlanders went on to a 4-3 victory in penalty kicks.

“After beating Providence, that was one of the greatest feelings ever,” Wyatt said. “It was a great releif.”

Two days later, Wyatt and the Highlanders beat Jeffersonville 5-0 to clinch their first sectional title since 2010.

“It was the best feeling ever,” she said. “This was my second sectional championship. The fact that we got it our senior year, that was awesome.”

“This really was a fun team to coach,” Stevens said. “The whole was greater than the sum of our parts. They had good chemistry and played well together. That’s a testament to Lauren and our other senior leaders.”

The win over Providence was Wyatt’s fourth game with multiple goals, including four in the season-opening 5-1 win over Bedford North Lawrence.

Five times, she scored at least one goal and had at least once assist, including one goal and four assists in the Highlanders’ 8-1 regular-season victory over Jeffersonville.

“She’s athletic and she’s soccer smart,” Stevens said. “She’s not just a person who can finish. She’s a person who reads the game well. Whether it’s getting a pass and making a pass or getting a pass and making a goal, she knows what to do with the ball.”

“I think I read the game pretty well,” Wyatt admitted. “I love being unselfish. There are times to be selfish and times to be unselish.”

Wyatt will take her unselfish game to Indiana State and Terre Haute next fall. Wyatt said she can’t wait for the next challenge in her soccer life.

“I’m very excited about playing at the Division I level and playing with people who love soccer as much as I do,” she said. “It’ll be a lot different, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

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