Pitch Perfect: Area girls soccer stars named to 2023 All-County Team

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

To nobody’s surprise, the Shelby County area spent another year among the state’s girls soccer elite in 2023.

The season was filled with memorable moments, from Westminster at Oak Mountain claiming their first 1A-3A crown since 2019, to Briarwood Christian reaching Huntsville for the first time as a 6A side, to Oak Mountain going to the Final Four with a 22-4 record after facing one of the toughest schedules in the state.

We saw perennial stars leave their mark on the pitch once again, while new rising stars joined their ranks, many of whom are underclassmen who will be exciting to watch in the years to come.

As the end-of-season honors rolled in, area stars dominated every list: 51 All-Metro selections, 39 All-State selections, nine All-Classification players, including seven on the First Team, and four North-South All-Stars.

All of this made assembling an All-County Team nearly impossible, but after hours of deliberation assessing the many top resumes from around the area, here are the selections for Shelby County’s best in girls soccer for 2023.

First Team:

  • Goalkeeper: Hannah Garrett, senior, Chelsea. In Garrett’s final season with the Hornets, she rose to the challenge of a new classification in 7A and one of the toughest regions in the state. Her veteran leadership and steady presence in front of the net led to statewide acclaim, including spots on the All-State First Team and All-7A Team.
  • Goalkeeper: Lailie Parvin, sophomore, Westminster OM. The Knights’ breakneck offense may have made all the headlines in 2023, but they wouldn’t have held on to those leads without Parvin’s stellar performance in the box. Parvin topped 100 saves in 2023, kept 12 clean sheets and even scored a goal, all as a sophomore. She showed up when it mattered the most too, not allowing a goal during the entire state tournament to win her first state title.
  • Defender: Avery Smith, junior, Oak Mountain. Oak Mountain’s defense was stellar in 2023, and Avery Smith was the anchor of the backline. She helped the Eagles record 14 shutouts and only allow 11 goals all season en route to the Final Four. The Eagles captain will represent her school at the North-South All-Star Game next month and also earned places on the All-State First Team, All-7A Team and All-Metro First Team A-Division.
  • Defender: Piper Eighmy, senior, Briarwood Christian. Eighmy’s work on both ends of the pitch was one of the key reasons why the Lions reached their first 6A Final Four. She helped keep 11 clean sheets in the back while keeping the opposing backline busy with 11 goals and three assists, which earned her recognition on the All-State Second Team, All-6A Team and All-Metro Second Team.
  • Defender: Raegan Whitaker, junior, Oak Mountain. The All-Metro Second Teamer was another key part of the Oak Mountain backline. In addition to playing her part in the Eagles’ 14 clean sheets and 11 goals allowed, she proved a threat while playing up the pitch with six goals to her name. Whitaker will be another name to watch next season as Oak Mountain seeks to make it back to Huntsville.
  • Defender: Ashlynn Beery, junior, Helena. Beery proved a versatile part of the Helena eleven, able to play both midfield and defense well. Her nine goals and 11 assists landed her on the All-Metro First Team and also led to an All-State Honorable Mention.
  • Midfielder: Kierson McDonald, senior, Oak Mountain. The 2023 Shelby County Player of the Year was an absolute force to be reckoned with this season. McDonald’s stats tell the story of her impact on Oak Mountain’s offense, with 31 goals and 17 assists in 2023. Her forward runs were a crucial aspect of the Eagles attack, and her veteran leadership earned her the captain’s armband on a Final Four squad that only lost four matches in 2023. The Alabama commit was also named the Kiwanis Club Player of the Year, a finalist for Gatorade Player of the Year and to the All-State First Team, All-7A Team and All-Metro First Team A-Division.
  • Midfielder: Tatum Ahlemeyer, junior, Spain Park. Last year’s co-Player of the Year Ahlemeyer made the move to defensive midfielder in 2023 and continued to fuel the Spain Park squad as its heart and soul. She recorded 16 goals and seven assists while continuing her ascension as one of the top talents in the state, reflected by her spots in the North-South All-Star Game, All-State First Team and All-Metro First Team.
  • Midfielder: Taylor Leib, sophomore, Briarwood Christian. Leib ran away with the county’s Golden Boot award by netting 36 goals from the midfield in just her sophomore season. She also added 19 assists while leading the Lions to the Final Four, and she earned spots on the All-State First Team, All-6A Team and All-Metro First Team while establishing herself as one of the top young names to watch in the state.
  • Midfielder: Lacey Lambert, sophomore, Pelham. The Panthers faced a mass exodus of talent and leadership with 14 players leaving from the 2022 squad, and as just a sophomore, Lambert rose to fill that void and earned the captain’s armband. She scored 14 goals and assisted on six more from the midfield while also earning minutes as a defender. Lambert also earned a First Team All-Metro B-Division spot while shining as a bright spot in a transitional year for Pelham.
  • Midfielder: Natalie Doerfler, senior, Calera. Doerfler’s veteran leadership was an important part of Calera’s success. Her stats of 14 goals and 11 assists are impressive enough, but what’s more remarkable is how she rallies her teammates and lets her character shine on and off the field. Her hard work on the pitch and in the classroom was rewarded with the 6A Bryant-Jordan Award, which honors the top student-athletes in the state.
  • Forward: Norah Roller, senior, Indian Springs. The future Furman Paladin took one final bow before saying goodbye to Indian Springs, scoring 27 goals and adding five assists in 2023. Roller wraps up her career with 130 goals and First Team All-State, All-6A and All-Metro selections to go with her Shelby County Player of the Year and State Championship MVP from 2022 and All-Metro Player of the Year awards from her sophomore and junior years.
  • Forward: Leila Mendonca, senior, Montevallo. Mendonca kept racking up goals in her final year in a Bulldogs uniform. She scored 31 goals to go with 16 assists as she ran the Montevallo offense as both a striker and in the midfield, accounting for 84% of Montevallo’s goals. Mendonca wraps up her five-year varsity career with well over 100 goals along with spots on the 2023 All-State Second Team and All-4A Team.
  • Forward: Abigail Hoaglund, senior, Briarwood Christian. Hoaglund closed the book on her Lions career with a 51-point campaign in 2023 thanks to 30 goals and 21 assists. Her prolific goal scoring powered Briarwood Christian’s attack as they made a run to the Final Four. Mississippi State’s frontline will receive one of Alabama’s premier attackers this fall fresh off honors on the First Team All-State, All-6A Team and Second Team All-Metro A-Division.
  • Forward: Vale Richie, freshman, Westminster OM. Richie exploded onto the scene in her freshman year with the Knights, winning a state title and quickly establishing herself as one of the top goal scorers in the county. She scored 31 goals and assisted on 15 more, and also scored one of the biggest goals of the season just 34 seconds into the state championship game in an MVP winning performance. With three years to go, the sky’s the limit for the young and dynamic Knights striker.

Second Team:

  • Goalkeeper: Kate Murray, senior, Oak Mountain. An ACL injury kept last year’s First Team All-County keeper from playing in most of the Eagles’ campaign. When she returned, she turned in 13 solid performances that pushed Oak Mountain to the Final Four in her final season in an Eagles uniform.
  • Goalkeeper: Abbie Crouse, Calera. Crouse came up clutch in penalty shootouts for Calera, earning a save in all three shootouts that the Eagles played in. She racked up 145 saves on the season and played a crucial part in helping Calera to a perfect area record and second round playoff berth.
  • Defender: Maddie Davis, senior, Spain Park. Davis moved from forward to defender this season and found success in the backline for Spain Park. She still earned three goals and three assists while contributing to the Jaguars’ excellent defensive performance. The Lee commit’s effort was noticed by her teammates, who voted for her as the team MVP.
  • Defender: Brianna Collier, sophomore, Calera. Collier’s speed in the back made a difference on both ends of the pitch in her sophomore year with the Eagles. Her tenacity on the backline regularly forced turnovers from the attackers she matched up against, and she used that quickness to score 11 goals and record nine assists in 2023.
  • Defender: Bradford Latta, senior, Briarwood Christian. The Lions’ perennial steady rock in the back, Latta contributed to Briarwood Christian’s 11 shutouts and added a goal and two assists to the Lions’ potent attack. Her veteran presence made a difference in the Lions’ run to their first Final Four in 6A.
  • Defender: Claire Robinson, freshman, Pelham. In a year where Pelham looked for the stars that would lead them in the future, Robinson emerged as a shutdown defender in the centerback role. She thrived in the backline even when matched up with older, skilled attackers, and even added two goals to her stat sheet. Opposing coaches took notice and named her to the All-Metro B-Division Second Team.
  • Midfielder: Baileigh Rumage, freshman, Helena. Being named to the All-Metro Team as an eighth grader always raises a lot of eyebrows, but Rumage lived up to that distinction in 2023, continuing to energize the Huskies attack and rise the ranks of the top midfielders in the county. She earned 16 goals and 11 assists to her name and spent another year in the All-Metro Team ranks, while also adding an All-State Honorable Mention to her impressive resume.
  • Midfielder: Miah Rosener, junior, Helena. After earning All-County and All-Metro selections last season, Rosener repeated the feat in 2023. Her versatile attacking skills showed when she took shots and also when she set up her teammates, as she found the back of the net 12 times and dished out eight assists.
  • Midfielder: Wendy Cervantes, senior, Calera. An absolute workhorse in the center of the pitch, Cervantes always put in the dirty work to set her teammates up for success on either side of the ball. Her excellent field vision enabled her to connect with her Eagles teammates on 16 goals and also added five scores of her own. On defense, she led Calera in takeaways to generate extra possessions and power the Eagles to the 6A playoffs.
  • Midfielder: L.C. Smith, senior, Westminster OM. Smith wrapped up her high school career by earning an ever-elusive state title, and she played a key role in the Knights success from the midfield. Her 10 goals and six assists added to the potent firepower up front for the Knights and earned her recognition on the All-Metro B-Division Second Team.
  • Midfielder: Reese Oldfield, freshman, Spain Park. Oldfield made an immediate impact in her first year with the Jags, earning a First Team All-Metro A-Division slot for her impressive season. She helped both with creating chances for teammates and generating goals, racking up 12 assists to go with her six goals while making the playoffs in one of the toughest areas in 7A. She and Ahlemeyer will be a midfield duo to watch going into next season.
  • Forward: Emily White, senior, Westminster OM. White netted 27 goals and found her teammates for 16 assists as she powered the Knights to the state title. Her experience as a veteran proved invaluable down the stretch as the Knights went deeper into the playoffs, and her attacking prowess pushed Westminster OM over the line to become state champions. She also earned an All-Metro B-Division Second Team spot in her final season in black and gold.
  • Forward: Dia Montiel-Duenas, sophomore, Thompson. Thompson’s spark plug continued to fire on all cylinders in 2023. She wrapped up the underclassman portion of her career in typical high-scoring fashion, scoring 18 goals and earning nine assists. She has already earned her place as one of the top strikers in the area, and she still has two seasons left. That’s bad news for 7A defenses, and great news for Thompson.
  • Forward: Reece Collier, sophomore, Calera. The fast freshman forward burst onto the scene as Calera’s leading scorer in their run to the state playoffs. Her 21 goals and eight assists often landed before the opposing backline had a chance to catch their breath. Her game-changing ability made all the difference in Calera earning a perfect 4-0 area record in a tough 6A classification.
  • Forward: Kate Hendrix, freshman, Helena. Most freshmen don’t come in and score over 20 goals, but most freshmen aren’t Kate Hendrix. The Huskies forward earned an All-Metro spot for recording 23 goals and 11 assists while making her name as a young star to watch going forward.


Honorable Mention: Alexi Stanton, Thompson. Addisyn Cook, Helena. Anna McDonald, Pelham. Litzy Perez, Pelham. Finley Walker, Chelsea. Isabelle Willis, Chelsea. Erin Gilbert, Briarwood Christian. Aaron Pretnar, Oak Mountain. Addy Soehn, Spain Park. Jenny Grant, Westminster OM. Bella Naish, Westminster OM. Jolee Giadrosich, Briarwood Christian. Marlee Roach, Thompson. Anna Netuno, Chelsea. Erika Patrick, Oak Mountain. Auryn Tillette, Spain Park. Natalie Bunch, Pelham. Luna Montiel-Duenas, Thompson. Giulia Wekesa, Thompson. Brooklyn Barnett, Briarwood Christian. Valerie Jamison, Pelham. Abbie Johns, Chelsea.