A competitive girls’ soccer season between the four Wilmington high schools concluded with co-champions atop the Mideastern Conference after Laney and Hoggard played to a pair of stalemates during their two meetings this spring.
With the league’s seven coaches voting on postseason awards, Laney senior and UNCW signee Baley Edwards took home Player of the Year honors after helping guide the Bucs to a 10-0-2 division mark and 16-2-3 overall record.
“I feel very honored to be player of year,” said Edwards. “I’ve played on Laney since my freshman year and we haven’t always been the best team or the favored team. One thing I can say is that each year as a team we grew stronger and stronger. Being able to play with all my best friends all the way through freshman to senior year isn’t something that many people can say.”
While her senior campaign didn’t come to the conclusion she had hoped for, with an early round exit in the state playoffs, Edwards has been a model of consistency for the blue and gold across the midfield throughout her high school career.
She has collected nearly every postseason award since bursting onto the high school scene. Edwards is a four-time all-conference selection, who earned all-state recognition in each of the past two seasons. Over the past three years, she totaled 46 goals, including 17 tallies during her senior campaign.
A member of the Triangle Futbol Club Association outside of her high school side, Edwards has been one of the most recognizable names across the local landscape since her days of playing youth soccer.
In the fall, she’ll continue in her family’s tradition, joining her mom and dad, who both competed at the college level. Edwards will play under the direction of Coach Paul Cairney during her time at UNCW. The Seahawks are coming off an historic season during which they advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history.
“I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to play and spend time with all my teammates and I couldn’t have accomplished anything without them throughout my career,” Edwards added. “God and my family have really helped me through the good and bad times throughout my high school career. Being able to continue the sport I love for four more years has always been a dream of mine and I’m very blessed for this opportunity especially at UNCW, which has also been a dream of mine. I can’t wait to represent Wilmington.”
Laney’s leading goal scorer over the past two seasons, Haley Shand, was also named First-Team All-Conference, along with college-bound senior Alex Butorovich. Shand netted 21 goals in 20 appearances this year, while Butorovich had a team-high 12 assists.
Hoggard was neck-and-neck with the Bucs all season, finishing their spring with an identical 10-0-2 record in league play, with a 15-2-6 overall mark.
Tara Poteat took First-Team All-Conference as the junior defender helped stabilize a back line that went on to post 17 shutouts throughout the year. Siara Southerland and Karen Juarez provided the Vikings presence in the attacking third, while Emma Haywood gave her side a level of confidence with aggressive play in the midfield.
Tess Cairney and Carly Higgins were key assets in the success of the Ashley High School girls’ soccer team this year, while Abbey Campbell kept New Hanover competitive throughout much of the season. All three players were named First-Team All-Conference in addition to Topsail’s Hayley Childress and Carmen Pyrtle. Pyrtle notched 17 goals for the Pirates.
Player of the Year: Baley Edwards, Laney
Co-Coaches of the Year: Justin Schatz, Hoggard; Dustin Bienias, Laney
Team Sportsmanship Award: South Brunswick
- Baley Edwards, Laney
- Hayley Childress, Topsail
- Tess Cairney, Ashley
- Carly Higgins, Ashley
- Siara Southerland, Hoggard
- Tara Poteat, Hoggard
- Karen Juarez, Hoggard
- Emma Haywood, Hoggard
- Alex Butorovich, Laney
- Haley Shand, Laney
- Carmen Pyrtle, Topsail
- Abbey Campbell, New Hanover