December 9, 2013

Girls’ soccer player of the year: Symonds at the center of team’s historic season

Windham junior Cassie Symonds was the scrappy key to the school’s first Class A girls’ soccer title.

By Mark Emmert memmert@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

It was a historic season for the Windham girls’ soccer team, and junior Cassie Symonds was in the middle of all of it.

click image to enlarge

Windham junior Cassie Symonds, left, established her place on the field – which turned out to be everywhere, as she combined defense and offense in an undefeated season.

John Patriquin/StaffPhotographer

Girls’ All-State Soccer Team

Amanda Arnold, Thornton Academy senior, forward: Scored 21 goals and added 20 assists during regular season.

Kathryn Clark, Cape Elizabeth junior, striker: Led Capers to first Class B state championship.

Meghan Cushing, Gorham senior, midfield: Led her team to an 11-5 season and a berth in the Western Class A quarterfinals.

Pilar Elias, Waterville senior, striker: Scored 45 goals to lead the Panthers to their first Eastern Class B title after moving from Class A.

Alexis Elowitch, Deering senior, back: Spearheaded a defense that allowed only 11 goals on the season.

Ainsley Jamieson, Scarborough junior, back: A tenacious defender who also contributed three goals and two assists. 

Sydney Martin, Scarborough senior, goalkeeper: Recorded 10 shutouts in leading her team to a 12-2-2 record.

Kaitlin Saulter, Hermon senior, midfield: Scored 26 goals to lead the Hawks to their second consecutive appearance in an Eastern Class B final.

Jenna Soucy, Windham junior, striker: Scored a team-high 23 goals to help Eagles claim first Class A state title.

Cassie Symonds, Windham junior, midfield: Superb passer amassed nine goals and six assists for state champions.

MacKenzie Worcester, Washburn junior, striker: Scored 50 goals to bring her career total to 109 to lead the Beavers to their first Class D state championship. 

Coach of the Year

Deb Lebel, Windham: In her third season at the helm of the Eagles, delivered a Class A state title. She previously won a state championship while coaching at Falmouth.

The midfielder showed a knack for getting her teammates the ball in the right place at the right moment.

She also displayed a propensity for sticking her nose into tight spots, wrestling the ball away from bigger opponents.

Symonds – a middle child, naturally – was the scrappy heart pulsing at the center of the Eagles’ first-ever Class A state soccer championship and is being honored as the Maine Sunday Telegram’s girls’ player of the year.

“She’ll constantly get flattened and somehow come up standing,” Windham Coach Deb Lebel said.

“She went up against some of the toughest players in the league. It didn’t matter if they were a foot taller than her, she continued to control the midfield.”

Lebel said Symonds’ passing was pivotal to the 3-0 victory over Bangor in the state final, leading to an incredible 33 shots on goal.

“I like distributing the ball and I’m not huge, so I don’t play, like, center back,” said Symonds, a three-year starter.

“I don’t carry the ball as much as I should probably. I’m more of a passer than carrier.”

Still, Symonds tallied nine goals and six assists this season, after scoring just twice as a sophomore. Player and coach would both love to see those totals soar in her senior season.

“I think I had more confidence this year being a junior. It just clicked this year for me,” Symonds said.

It did for her team, as well. Symonds said the Eagles’ undefeated season wasn’t truly validated until a double-overtime victory over Thornton Academy in the Western Class A final. That was a threshold the school had never before crossed.

“We were putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. It felt so good to overcome that, to be the first in school history to get that far,” Symonds said.

“That was a really big accomplishment.”

Symonds’ older sister, Jordan, just completed her freshman season at Florida Institute of Technology. Younger sister Maggie is poised to join Cassie on the Windham varsity next year as a freshman.

Together, they will try to keep the Eagles on the path toward becoming a perennial state power.

“I want to step up as a leader and score more goals,” Symonds said. “It will be cool to play with my little sister. I wish she was two years apart, like Jordan and I were. It would be nice to play together longer.”

Mark Emmert can be reached at 791-6424 or at:

memmert@pressherald.com.

Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH

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