This week, The Owensboro Times is awarding Players/Runners of the Year to male and female athletes from high schools in Daviess County who played one of the following fall sports: volleyball, cross country, golf and soccer. The winners will be announced throughout the week.
GIRLS’ SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Despite getting most of the attention from opposing defenses, junior forward Lily Moore still led Owensboro Catholic in scoring and assists.
She said part of her continued success despite facing heavier opposition came in adding an extra move to her game. Rather than just receive a pass and shoot, Moore said she’s now able to control the ball and beat the defense to get a better look.
She said that also helps her teammates have more opportunities.
“I feel like up top I put a lot of pressure on the defense,” Moore said. “I can make different runs and it helps the midfielders have gaps to pass it through and open things up for other people.”
Head coach Kelli Brannock said after losing a top scorer to graduation a season ago, Moore had to shoulder an extra workload. More important than scoring, though, was turning into a better all-around player.
“Lily stepped up and had to work harder for her goals,” Brannock said. “She became not just a goal-scorer, but a set-up person as well. I think the other thing she really improved, especially toward the end of the year, was not just focusing on offense. She helped us dig the ball out and came back as needed to become a more complete player both ways.”
Moore said she likes taking on a leadership role to help the team get better, but it was hard to do as an underclassman.
“I would naturally try to motivate other people,” she said. “Especially last year being younger, it’s harder to be a leader because some people are older than you. It’s been easier growing into it.”
Brannock recognized the potential in Moore right away, and said she’s a workhorse both in games and in practice. She also said Moore has been a leader with actions just as much as she has been with words.
“Her effort, her attitude and the way she practiced was as much of the impact that she had on the team as her productivity during games,” Brannock said. “Her behavior to be the best she can no matter what she’s doing — whether it’s a game, practice or school — that’s innate to here. That’s who she is.”
Brannock said she leveraged that as an asset for the team and encouraged Moore to take on the role of a leader despite being a junior and not being an official captain.
Moore shouldered the responsibility well, scoring 31 goals and earning 11 assists as the Lady Aces won the District 9 regular season and Region 3 championship. Moore also won District and Region Player of the Year, and she was named to to the Coaches All-State West Kentucky Girls’ Soccer First Team.
Moore said she couldn’t win any individual awards without the help of her team.
“The truth is it’s only becoming because my team is so good,” she said. “It’s not just me that did everything.”
Moore knows she wants to continue her soccer career at the next level, but for now she’s going to focus on helping Owensboro Catholic to another strong season in her senior year.
Brannock said it’s nice to have someone like Moore returning to the roster, and is excited to see how much more she can improve in her last year.
“To also realize she has the ability to grow and expand and evolve is exciting,” Brannock said. “She not only is in it for her to do well, but she wants everybody around her to do well. She realizes it’s a team sport. She’s an asset not just because she performs well, but she’s going to raise the level of everybody around her.”