Following a perfect conference season, the team’s fourth consecutive Southwestern Conference championship and third straight Regional championship, the Collinsville High girls soccer team is busy collecting post-season awards.
Junior midfielder Sophia Sharos earned All-State honors and fellow captain Matty Merlak, a senior, was named to the All-Section 12 team by the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association. Both earned first-team All-Southwestern Conference honors. Three teammates were Third-Team All-Conference selections.
Head Coach Clay Smith was the Illinois Class 3A Coach of the Year by the IHSSCA. He was also a finalist to be nominated for the national coach of the year.
Smith, in his fourth season as head coach of the Lady Kahoks, was named the Section 12 coach of the year in 2013 and was a finalist for the statewide award.
Smith’s teams have won three Regional championships and two Sectional championships while going 64-22-6. Smith deflected all praise to his players.
“The only reason I get nominated is because my players are so good,” Smith said. “It’s nothing that I’m doing.”
The Lady Kahoks soccer team has had at least one All-State player in each of the past four years. Merlak, a four-year starter on defense, also deserved the honor this year, Smith said.
“She is an All-State selection in my book,” Smith said. “I just couldn’t get her the votes.”
Merlak missed several games this year due to injury. Her absence was noticed, Smith said.
“We were a different team without her on the field, that’s for sure,” Smith said. “She will be missed.”
Sharos led the team with 34 points on 14 goals, including seven game winners, and six assists. She was second in conference scoring to Sydnee Carroll of Belleville West (44 points).
A pair of freshman and a late charging junior earned Third-Team All-Conference honors. Junior forward Mikayla McCarthy had a difficult start to the season but came on strong at the end, scoring nine goals in the Lady Kahoks final five games. She finished third on the team in scoring with 23 points on 10 goals and three assists.
“She (McCarthy) struggled a bit, but turned it on at the right moment,” Smith said.
Freshman forward Emily Holten and fellow freshman Andrea Frerker were third team All-Conference. They deserved second-team votes, Smith said, but they should be proud of the honor.
“Getting a third-team vote as a freshman is great,” Smith said.
Holten finished second on the team and fifth in the conference in scoring with 12 goals and eight assists for 32 points. She also netted a hat trick in the Lady Kahoks 5-0 Regional championship win over Belleville West.
Frerker tied for the conference lead with 10 assists and finished 10th in scoring. The midfielder scored five goals on the season.
All- Southwestern Conference teams
|Jane Ann Crabtree||So||Edwardsville|
|Leanne Smith||Jr||Granite City|
|Taylor Vollver||Jr||Belleville West|
|Mackenzie White||Sr||Belleville West|
|Sydney Todesco||Sr||Belleville East|
|Ashleigh Briggs||Jr||Granite City|
|Rylan Lopez||So||Belleville East|
|Sydnee Carroll||Jr||Belleville West|
|Lexi Grote||Fr||Granite City|
|Gabbie Hartin||Jr||Granite City|
|Lauren Burkett||Sr||Granite City|
|Kacie Kinnikin||Fr||Belleville West|