Bella Nalle named Player of the Year

Commonwealth Journal 2019 High School Girls Soccer All-County Team

Southwestern High School senior goal keeper Bella Nalle, who was named to her third consecutive All-County Girls Soccer Team, had 126 saves for the Lady Warriors in 2019. Nalle only allowed 17 goals scored in 18 games played, for an 0.9 average. Nalle also recorded seven shutouts, which ranked her in the top 30 in the state of Kentucky, and she gave anchored the 17th ranked defensive team in state (1.1 goals against average).

It was because of Bella Nalle's outstanding play in front of the Lady Warriors' goal that she was named the 2019 Commonwealth Journal High School Girls Player of the Year.

"Bella had a fantastic season anchoring one of the top ranked defenses in the state of Kentucky," stated Southwestern girls soccer coach Nick Stringer. "Her athleticism and instincts in the goal allow her to make saves on many chances that other goalkeepers would be simply getting out of the back of the net. But, it is her work ethic that separates her from other players."

"She set up additional goalkeeper practices this summer, challenging the underclassmen to attend and put in the work with her to get better," Stringer continued. "In my opinion, she has been the best defensive player in the county for the past 2 years and this season is the overall top player. While not asked to make as many saves this season, she was still always able to rise to the occasion when her team needed her most."

Pulaski County High School senior Ashlynn Pennington, who was named to her third straight All-County Team, led the Lady Maroons with 20 goals this season, and had 6 assists.

"She is an incredibly talented, versatile player," stated Pulaski County girls Soccer coach Vince Frantz. "In games against teams with a strong offense we played Ashlynn as a sweeper because of her exceptional defensive skills and speed. In the games we needed strong passes from the midfield we put Ash in the middle, and in the games that we needed a striker who could explode into space and put a ball in the net, we put her up top. Ashlynn was a critical component to the success we achieved this year."

Somerset High School senior Jocelyn May has been one of the better players in the county during her entire four years playing varsity soccer for the Lady Jumpers. May has been named to three All-County Soccer team during her illustrious soccer career at Somerset. May scored 10 goals on the year for the Lady Jumpers.

Pulaski County High School senior Bailee Franklin was named to her second straight All-County Team. Although Franklin played as a midfielder, she scored 10 goals and had 5 assists. Franklin was deadly on the Lady Maroons' long-range free kicks.

"We almost always played Bailee as a defensive mid because she was the best defender on the team," Frantz stated. "She had excellent passing skills, could shoot a ball from long distances, and had the best overall knowledge of where she needed to be. When playing against teams with stronger strikers, she had an instinct to play a more supportive defensive roll without any coaching from the sideline."

Pulaski County High School freshman Maddie Sexton made All-County in her first year on the varsity team. Sexton led the team with 11 assists and had 9 goals.

"Maddie is exceptional at playing the ball accurately at the right time and speed," Frantz stated. "She is a dedicated player who lives and breathes the game. She raised the bar with her passion, drive, and desire for excellence. We are very much looking forward to three more years with Maddie Sexton."

Somerset High School senior center midfielder Samantha Wesley finished out her high school soccer season on a high note with her first selection to the All-County Team. Wesley led the Lady Jumpers with 16 goals, and had four assists.

Somerset High School senior center midfielder Milli Moore closed out her prep career with a strong season and her first selection to the All-County Team. Moore led the Lady Jumpers in assists this season.

Somerset High School senior goalkeeper Olivia Stevens was named to her second All-County Team. Stevens recorded eight shutouts and allowed less than one goal scored per game.

Southwestern High School senior center back Keisha Caballero, who made her first All-County Team, was the leader of the 17th Ranked Defensive Team in state (1.1 goals against average)

"For the third season in a row, Keisha has been the leader of our defense," Stringer stated. "She is a tenacious defender who takes on more athletic forwards than herself by using her toughness, instincts, and determination. She completely controls games from her center back position with her ability to intercept passes, win 50/50 balls, and make strong tackles and then transition her team to the attack using a great run with the ball or an accurate pass. Keisha is the vocal leader of a state ranked defense where communication is as important as physical play."

Southwestern High School freshman center defensive mid Haylee Flynn made her first All-County Team in her first year on the varsity team. Flynn had 6 goals and 3 assists.

"Haylee was the engine that powered our team this season," stated Stringer. "In nearly every game, she was the best player in the middle of the field. Her ability to control the middle of the field with her ball winning, pass intercepting, tackling, and passing gave us the flexibility to switch our formation to a 4-3-3 and the advantage of using 3 forwards. Defensively, she protected our back four, sniffing out and breaking up counter attacks before they could develop. Offensively, she ignited our attack, receiving the ball from the back and finding our forwards in dangerous attacking positions. She was also a force on set pieces, scoring multiple goals with her head from corner kicks and free kicks."

Southwestern High School senior left back Elly Hutchinson made her first All-County Team and had two assists on the year fo the Lady Warriors.

"Elly was the "X factor" for our team all season," Stringer stated. "Her speed and strength created problems for the other teams attack and defense. Not only was Elly able to shut down the opposing teams attack on her side of the field, she was also a key piece of our attack using her powerful dribbling runs with the ball as well as her well timed overlapping runs down the sideline. She used her superior stamina to provide us with advantages in our numbers both defensively and offensively. Her determination and toughness were evident throughout the season, but never more evident than when she finished her senior night game playing with both a busted nose and a broken wrist."

Southwestern High School senior Alexas Walden made her first All-County Team with 12 goals scored and 2 assists

"Alexas had a fantastic senior season, leading us in goals," Stringer boasted. "She is a talented finisher who can score in a variety of ways: finishing freekicks, penalties, scoring from long distance, and headers. Alexas was finally given the opportunity to play her natural position and flourished."

Southwestern High School sophomore Bekah Clark was named to her second straight All-County Team. Clark scored 5 goals and had 10 assists.

"Bekah's stats are not indicative of her impact on the games," stated Stringer. "After a fantastic freshman season, she was the focus of every defense we played this year. She played many games this season with an opposing player exclusively marking her throughout the entire game. Despite these challenges, she remained the focal point of our attack either scoring, assisting, or drawing multiple defenders to open up opportunities for others on the field. She has fantastic acceleration while dribbling and great control to help keep the ball close to her even when drawing contact from her opponents. Almost to a fault, she is an unselfish player and willing passer. She would much rather assist a goal than finish a chance herself."

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