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2013 ALBANY HERALD PLAYER OF THE YEAR, GIRLS SOCCER: DWS' Kincheloe simply SW Georgia's best --- again

Deerfield’s Casey Kincheloe, The Herald’s Player of the Year for girls soccer last season, took her game — and her team — to new heights in 2013. She broke the school’s career scoring record, all while leading them to the program’s first-ever appearance in the state championship game.

Deerfield’s Casey Kincheloe, The Herald’s Player of the Year for girls soccer last season, took her game — and her team — to new heights in 2013. She broke the school’s career scoring record, all while leading them to the program’s first-ever appearance in the state championship game.

ALBANY -- Sometimes Casey Kincheloe just sits back and shakes her head.

“I’ll just think, ‘Wow, 117 is a lot of goals,’ “ Kincheloe said. “I don’t even know how I did it. It seems unreal, but I did it.”

Kincheloe, who is the The Herald’s Player of the Year in girls soccer for the second year in a row, ended her career at Deerfield-Windsor with a program-record 117 goals after scoring more than 40 for the second straight season.

She took the Lady Knights soccer program to new heights, leading it to its first state championship appearance and scoring one crucial goal after another along the way.

It was a career unlike any other in Deerfield history and one that will be talked about for years — and remembered even longer.

“You look at where we came from when she was a freshman and where we finished up with her,” fourth-year DWS coach Aly Joslin said. “She was a freshman my first year here, and we went to the state quarterfinals. Now as a senior, she broke all the records and got to the state finals.

“She really didn’t have a lot of incredible goals, but she scored an immense amount of important goals. We all knew that if we were stuck or had an issue, we had a player on our team that could change it.”

The goals came in bunches, often four or five in a single game, and there were times when even Kincheloe, who had 43 goals and 16 assists her senior year, was amazed her shots found the back of the net.

“Sometimes I would just kick it, and I swear it would just go through the person,” she joked.

She laughed at the thought of transparent defenders somehow magically helping her break records, and then she got serious when talking about the real secret to her success.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Kincheloe said. “I wouldn’t have been close to breaking the record without my team behind my back.”

But after all of the excitement surrounding her career and the talent that she brought every time she stepped on the field, she decided that when she stepped off the field after losing to rival Stratford Academy in the GISA Class AAA state championship that it would be her last time in a soccer uniform.

“I didn’t really feel like I would have the passion for it in college,” said Kincheloe, who had interest from several four-year schools but decided to attend Kennesaw State and focus on her studies. “But then everybody would come up and ask me if I was playing somewhere in college, and then they would be so shocked when I told them I wasn’t. My parents also didn’t want me to give up on it just yet.”

Kincheloe, however, recently made the decision not to give up on soccer just yet and will attempt to walk on at Division I Kennesaw State and try to continue a career that began at Deerfield four years ago with a single goal against First Presbyterian School in the first game of her freshman season.

“I can still remember that first goal,” Kincheloe said. “It was our team’s first goal of the season, and I can remember my older sister (Lacey Kincheloe) getting mad that I scored before her.”

Lacey finished her career second on the DWS all-time scoring list with 70, but there was no stopping Casey, who passed her older sister in less than three years and then passed Callie Hughey for the top spot with her 113th career goal against Mount de Sales in the state quarterfinals.

The record-breaking goal came 10 minutes into the game on a penalty kick, and there was no question who was taking the shot.

“As soon as I sat the ball down it went through my head that this could be the record-breaker,” she said.

She knocked it into the left corner of the net, cementing her name in the record books. Joslin said it’s a record that won’t be broken for years — if ever.

“It would be difficult for anybody to get even 100 goals in the next few years,” Joslin said. “I don’t think we will have a player that will be able to do what she did spontaneously. She was able to create her scoring opportunities.”

And in the process, she helped create the best season in program history, even if ended one win short of a title.

“At first after that championship game, I was upset and thought I would never get over it,” Kincheloe said. “Now that I have had some time since then, I am proud about what we did. I know how far we came, and I am proud of me team.”

2013 Albany Herald All-Area Girls Soccer Team

Player of the Year Runner-up

Carsen Taylor, Sr., Forward, Lee County

Why She’s here: Scored 30 goals and had seven assists to lead the Lady Trojans and became one of the first girls in Lee County history to earn a Division I scholarship. She is going to Jacksonville State. She was also the Region 1-AAAAA Player of the Year.

All-Area Team

Sarah Sheffield, Sr., Defender Lee County

Why She’s here: Sheffield,who scored six goals as a defender and was Region 1-AAAAA Player of the Year runner-up, is one of the top defenders in Southwest Georgia and — along with Taylor — became the first in Lee County program history to earn a Division I scholarship in girls soccer. She is going to Troy State.

Danielle Brendel, Sr., Goalie, Lee County

Why She’s here: Brendel was a two-year starter in goal and had a remarkable senior season to help lead Lee into the playoffs, where he made 23 saves against state-ranked Northgate. She earned a scholarship to Columbus State and finished the season with eight shutouts.

Nicole Polk, senior, Lee County, forward

Why She’s here: Polk, who earned a scholarship to Valdosta State, has been one of the top soccer players in Southwest Georgia during her entire career at Lee County. She missed most of the season after suffering a torn ACL, but she has more than earned a spot on the All-Area team.

Caitlyn Cato, Sr., Midfielder/Defender Bainbridge

Why She’s here: Was captain and three-year starter for the Lady Bearcats and finished the season with four goals and three assists. She was also selected to the 2013 Divarsity All-Star game.

Longeshia Emanuel, So. Forward, Bainbridge

Why She’s here: Finished the season with a team-high 13 goals and also dished out one assist.

Jordyn Paramore, So., Forward, Sherwood Christian

Why She’s here: Scored 26 goals, 12 assists to lead Sherwood to the Elite 8 round of the GISA Class AA state playoffs. She was named All-Region and All-State.

Destiny Allen, Sr., Defender, Sherwood Christian

Why She’s here: Was a five-year starter at Sherwood, where she became the team leader and one of the best defenders in all of GISA. She earned a scholarship to Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., and finished the season with two goals and seven assists. She was named All-Region and All-State.

Hannah Thompson, So., Goalie Sherwood

Why She’s here: Was one of the top goalkeepers in GISA Class AA, and recorded 18 shuutouts to help lead SCA to its finest season. The Lady Eagles were 19-5-1 with her goal, and she finished the season with a goals-against average of .68 goals.

Jasmine Young, Fr., Forward, Westover

Why She’s here: Scored 23 goals and had 12 assists and was named the Region 1-AAAA Freshman of the Year.

Nellie Young, So., Midfielder, Westover

Why She’s here: Finished the year with 20 goals and six assists and was named to the All-Region team.

Katie Brown, Sr., Forward/Midfielder, Westover

Why She’s here: Finished her senior season with 19 goals and 16 assists and did it all for the Lady Patriots, starring on both the defensive and offensive sides of the field.

Tan Young, Sr., Defender, Westover

Why She’s here: Was named the Region 1-AAAA Player of the Year and scored four goals and had two assists from the sweeper position on defense.

Ella Hawkins, So., Forward, Southland

Why She’s here:Scored 20 goals but could have eclipsed her freshman total of 35 goals if not for fracturing her hip and missing four weeks midway through the season. She was named the co-GISA Region 3-AAA Player of the Year.

Maura Milliron, Sr., Forward, Terrell Academy

Why She’s here: Led her team with 18 goals and also had five assists. She was named to the All-Region team.

Maggie Greene, Sr., Defender, Deerfield-Windsor

Why She’s here:Was named All-Region and All-State and finished the season with 12 goals and 10 assists as Deerfield’s top defender.

Haley Kincheloe, So., Midfielder Deerfield-Windsor

Why She’s here: Scored 11 goals and finished with 16 assists and was named All-Region and All-State.