MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Santa Barbara High’s Megan Flynn played with grit, determination and gusto.
Those qualities helped her score 15 goals and lead the Dons from a winless season a year ago to a Channel League championship, an 11-4-3 overall record and a CIF playoff berth this winter.
“Megan was just massive,” Dons coach Jeff Johnson said. “She started the campaign strong and she ended strong. We really didn’t score goals last year; this year she was just an impact player in the sense of being a game changer or big playmaker. She always seemed to find a way to be a game changer.”
Presidio Sports is pleased to honor Flynn as the Player of the Year on the All-City Girls Soccer Team.
Flynn is joined on the All-City Team by Santa Barbara teammates Katie Joseff, Hannah Brisby and Annie DeBruynkops.
The other members of the team are: Rachel Smith, Jamie Benedetto and Addy Willett of Dos Pueblos; Gabby Koepenick of Bishop Diego; Caroline Vance, Hannah Harris, Emily Allen and Olivia Jones of San Marcos, and Alexa Benitez of Carpinteria.
Flynn flourished during her senior season. Johnson described her improvement from her junior year as “massive. Her senior year was sort of her coming-out party,” he said. “The success of the team depended on her ability to find the back of the net. Thankfully for us, she stepped up.”
Flynn scored a lot big goals this season. Two of the biggest came in league matches. She scored in the 70th minute to beat San Marcos 1-0, and she pounced on a ball in the box and put it away to lift the Dons to a stunning 1-0 victory over perennial league champion Buena.
Johnson said Flynn had a relentless work ethic and possessed the strength and toughness to take hits and keep going.
“Her work ethic proved worthy for us,” he said. “Her mentality to keep persevering, relentlessly trying to work harder than her opponents in the game just paid off.
“We’re grateful for her contributions this year.”
The high school All-City teams are selected by Presidio Sports to recognize the top high school student-athletes competing on the South Coast from Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria.
Based upon on-court performance and team leadership, each All-City selection will receive a special award certificate and be recognized online at PresidioSports.com and in print in the Santa Barbara Sentinel.
PRESIDIO SPORTS’ ALL-CITY GIRLS SOCCER TEAM
MVP: Megan Flynn, Santa Barbara
Katie Joseff, Sr., Santa Barbara: A tireless worker, Joseff went on a tear after recovering from an early season injury. She scored 10 goals and played all over the field. “She’s the one getting in on the tackles for us,” said Johnson. “She works so hard. What you get out of her you can’t buy that; she works as hard as 2-3 players. She’s got a great shot, she’s fast and can defend.”
Annie DeBruynkops, Sr., Santa Barbara: The senior outside defender stepped up to make big plays for the Dons. One of the biggest came against San Marcos. She raced back to cover for the goalkeeper and made a sliding stop of a shot at an open net. “Two words stand out in describing Annie: courageous and opportunistic,” said coach Johnson. “She was very difficult to get behind because of her speed. She kept the back line solid and made big plays offensively and defensively.” She scored five goals, including two game-winners.
Hannah Brisby, Jr., Santa Barbara: The Dons benefited greatly from the playmaking ability of this First-Team All-Channel League player. “She was probably one of the best servers of the ball in the league,” Johnson said. Brisby took corner kicks for the Dons and added timely scoring, including a late equalizer against Moorpark. Brisby’s corner kicks proved to be a weapon as the Dons scored two of their three goals in a big win over San Marcos off of Brisby’s passes. “She is very skillful in tight spaces and was very composed on her goals that came in crucial times during the matches.”
Gabby Koepenick, Sr., Bishop Diego: The forward went on a goal-scoring tear in Frontier League and led the Cardinals to 10 wins and a CIF playoff berth. Koepenick scored goals in her last six league matches. “She was always composed in front of the goal,” said coach Tess Binkley. Overall, she was one of our biggest assests.”
Rachel Smith, Sr., Dos Pueblos: A four-year captain, she played all key positions in the field. “Rachel is a player that any moment can change the outcome of the game,” coach Pato Guerrero said. “Technically she is great; she is like another coach on the field.” Rachel is going to play at the next level at USC.
Jamie Benedetto, Sr., Dos Pueblos: She has everything a soccer player needs to have: speed, technique and vision of the field. “When Rachel was not playing, she put the team on her shoulders,” said coach Guerrero. She played all roles on the team: defense, midfield and forward. She is going to play at UC San Diego.
Ady Willett, Soph., Dos Pueblos: The athletic Willett was the leading scorer this season with 20 goals, and she played half the season as a defender. “Ady is one of those players that is very coachable and her work ethic is great,” said Guerrero.
Caroline Vance, Sr., San Marcos: A 4-year varsity starter and 2-year captain. Caroline is the heartbeat of the team, coach Macie Berlin said. “Defensively she is patient, strong, and disciplined, and offensively she is quick, had great ball control, and sees the field as good, if not better, than any coach on the sidelines. Caroline is the glue of the Royals because of her leadership and dependability.”
Hannah Harrah, Jr., San Marcos (GK): Hannah was one of two talented goalkeepers on the Royals squad. “Hannah is the whole package: she’s vocal from the back, she is technically sound with her entire body, and she will save one, if not two goals that you would not assume a high school goalkeeper could save,” said Berlin. She is also a threat on the field, scoring one goal this season, assisting one. Hannah has verbally committed to Loyola Marymount in 2015.
Emily Allen, Soph., San Marcos: “She is every coach’s dream player, not just because of her talent but because of her game intelligence and adaptability,” said Berlin. “You ask her to do something and she does it better than you’d hope for. She is mentally tough, which was radiated quietly through the grace in tearing her ACL in the third minute of our first-round CIF game.” Emily had eight goals and one assist.
Olivia Jones, Fr., San Marcos: “Olivia is a great, young, fierce player,” said Berlin. “She is a raw talent and has lightning-quick speed. Coupled with her fearlessness, she’s a force to be reckoned with.” Olivia had 5 assists and 7 goals for the season, assisting or scoring in almost every game.
Alexa Benitez, Soph., Carpinteria: “Her value to the team is not described in numbers but by her effort, heart, commitment and on-the-field leadership,” said coach Charles Bryant. Alexa played in a wide midfield position and the Warriors went to her side frequently. She also was an outstanding defender, often anticipating what an opponent was going to do. “That type of intuition is very rare, and I have not seen the likes of it in decades,” said Bryant. Benitez was the only Warrior named to the Tri-Valley League’s First Team.