Alicia Donley's bloodlines might have dictated that she become a championship swimmer, but one comment a decade ago -- not to mention an overly energetic twin brother -- steered her toward soccer.
"My twin brother, Andrew, when he was young, he had so much energy and sometimes he would beat me up," said Donley, a junior forward at Pickerington High School North and ThisWeek's Super 12 girls captain. "My parents were looking for a sport he could use as an outlet and he picked soccer, and I'd only do it if he played with me. After one of my games, somebody came up and said, 'There's the next Mia Hamm.' I was maybe 7 or 8.
"My mother asked me if I knew who (Hamm) was. I found out pretty quickly (she was a 17-year U.S. national team player). She's my soccer idol now."
This year, Donley had 23 goals and 11 assists to lead the Panthers to OCC-Ohio Division and Division I district titles. North went 17-2-1 overall and 4-0-1 in the league. North lost to Dublin Jerome 4-3 in overtime in a regional semifinal.
"Alicia is so unselfish," coach Greg Van Kannel said. "She has a great sense of getting to the right place not only for herself but to set up her teammates."
Donley's mother, Columbus School for Girls swimming coach Stephanie Donley, won 100-yard breaststroke state titles at Pickerington in 1985 and 1987 and was a seven-time national champion at Florida.
Donley's older sister, 2017 CSG graduate Miranda Donley, was an eight-time state swimming champion who now is at North Carolina State.
Donley was part of the Unicorns' state title 200 free relay in 2016, and in track helped the 1,600-meter relay to a state title as a freshman. Her decision to transfer to North involved her desire to graduate early next year, an option not available at CSG. She has committed to Tennessee.
"Everything I accomplished this year was because of my coaches and teammates," said Donley, who was district Player of the Year and first-team all-state.Super 12
This junior midfielder for New Albany recorded 18 goals and 18 assists for an Eagles team that had only one regular-season loss and came within a win of a second consecutive OCC-Capital championship.
Cornelius, a University of Chicago commit, was first-team all-league and all-district and second-team all-state after helping lead New Albany finish 10-2-6 and 3-0-2 in the league.
"She is an outstanding player and did a tremendous job for the team by doing everything the coaching staff asked of her," coach Jared Dombrowski said. "When you watch her play, her soccer IQ (is) very apparent in the way she sees the space around her and makes her teammates around her better."
This senior midfielder for Hilliard Darby had 13 goals and 17 assists to help the Panthers finish 13-4-2 and win their second Division I district championship.
Cowan, an Ohio State commit, was first-team all-district and all-OCC-Cardinal and second-team all-state. She finished her career with 43 goals and 51 assists, earning all-state honors three times.
"Blair is a tremendously gifted athlete with a strong analytical mind," coach Dan Brady said.
"She processes things so quickly and, with two or three defenders marking her consistently, made the right decisions for the team."
Led by this junior midfielder, Granville finished 14-4-2 and was the Division II district runner-up. Cox was named district Player of the Year and first-team all-state after finishing with 21 goals and 16 assists.
She had also was district Player of the Year last season when she had 19 goals and 17 assists.
"(She's) the driving force of our team (and) the glue between our attack and defense," coach Scott Forster said. "She is the most relentless and resilient player I've ever been around. She was amazing last year and was far better this year. She improved her aerial game as well as her goal-scoring ability. She can dictate the tempo of the game by her superior soccer IQ."
This senior forward for Olentangy Orange was named second-team all-state for the third consecutive season.
Earl had 14 goals and five assists for the Pioneers, who reached a Division I district final for the first time since 2012 but lost to Olentangy Liberty 3-1 on Oct. 28 to finish 11-7-1.
She also was named first-team all-district and OCC-Buckeye Player of the Year, helping the Pioneers win the league title.
"Delaney was a true difference-maker on the field," coach Tim Lawrence said. "Her ability to create opportunities around the goal was top notch and our attack went directly through her. She also brought strong leadership."
Last year's Super 12 captain had another spectacular season.
After allowing just three goals during the regular season and leading Gahanna to a regional runner-up finish in 2016, the senior goalkeeper gave up only six goals in the regular season this year and nine overall. The Lions lost to Hilliard Darby 3-2 in a Division I district final Oct. 28 to finish 12-2-4.
Hensley, a University of Charleston commit, was named first-team all-state, all-district and all-OCC-Ohio.
"She had 13 shutouts and we only gave up six goals (during the regular) season," coach Bob McGee said. "Two of the goals she gave up were on (penalty kicks)."
The senior forward for Pickerington North had 18 goals and eight assists to help the Panthers to their third consecutive Division I district championship and the 11th in the program's 15 seasons.
Kelly was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district. North finished 17-2-1 overall and 4-0-1 to win the OCC-Ohio. Kelly, who finished her career with 50 goals and 18 assists, has committed to Ashland University.
"Every year, she got better and better," coach Greg Van Kannel said. "I liked her assist production this year; that definitely increased our goal (output). She knows where to be and how to finish. It's not always easy to find that combination."
After helping Big Walnut win its first Division II district title a year ago, this senior forward was among the biggest reasons the Golden Eagles had an even longer postseason run this year.
Big Walnut beat New Philadelphia 8-0 on Nov. 4 to capture its first regional title. The Golden Eagles lost to eventual champion Cincinnati Indian Hill 4-0 in a state semifinal Nov. 7 to finish 16-3-4. Padgett finished with 15 goals and was second-team all-state and first-team all-district and all-OCC-Capital.
"Emma is an outstanding competitor," coach Drew Pitzer said. "Not only is she a great forward, but she's also stepped in and played sweeper when we needed her to, along with outside midfielder and center midfielder."
The senior defender for Canal Winchester was a linchpin for arguably the best team in program history.
A third-year starter, Reeb helped the Indians post seven shutouts as they finished 13-5-1 overall and went 4-0-1 in the OCC-Capital to capture their first league title since joining the conference.
Canal Winchester also was a Division I district runner-up.
"Morgan is a lockdown defender with great vision and distribution ability," coach Alex Wentz said. "Over the past two years, her skill and soccer IQ have led us to a combined 26-7-4 record. She added a goal and two assists this season, but stats can't capture her importance to our team."
Dublin Jerome has won at least a share of seven consecutive league titles, and this junior forward has played a big role in the continuation of that streak.
After making the Super 12 a year ago, Sears had 13 goals this season and, according to coach Kelly Brothers, led the team in assists. Sears was first-team all-state and all-district and OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year, as Jerome finished 15-4-2 and was a Division I regional runner-up.
"Emma has been an asset to our varsity team since her freshman year," Brothers said. "Her technical skills on the ball are second to none and she's, of course, always had great speed. This year, she really improved in her ability to work off of the ball and create space and opportunities for her teammates."
Led by this senior defender, Olentangy Liberty put together its second run to a Division I state semifinal in three seasons.
The Patriots posted shutouts in five of their final six regular-season games and posted three more shutouts in the postseason, including a 2-0 win over Dublin Jerome in a regional final Nov. 4.
Sensky, an Ohio University commit, also was second on the team in assists with eight as the Patriots finished 13-6-3.
"Olivia is a very talented athlete and her work rate is incredible," coach Kristen McMahon said. "She has amazing vision and game awareness. Olivia has been a driving force on our team this year as a leader and organizer in the center back."
Dublin Coffman had a bounce-back season after winning just four games in 2016, and the senior goalie was a key reason why.
Vaccari, who has committed to Fairmont State, was named second-team all-state, first-team all-district and first-team all-OCC-Central as Coffman won the league title and finished 12-2-4 overall.
Vaccari recorded 11 shutouts, with three coming in scoreless ties. She allowed just seven goals all season.
"She's always been solid," coach Costa Kalorides said earlier in the season.
"She played great for us last year, so it's been no real surprise. She's made some big saves. We've been able to play some of the better teams in the area."Honorable Mention
Rachel Butler, Dublin Jerome, Sr., F; Abby Davies, Newark, Sr., F; Anna Dobies, Grandview, Sr., D; Madison Hansen, Gahanna, Sr., D; Erin Hartig, Grove City, Sr., D; Maddy James, Grandview, Sr., F; Molly Morgan, Upper Arlington, Sr., F; Kayla Primm, Olentangy, So., M; Olivia Rotolo, Watterson, Sr., F; Rose Sawyers, Granville, Sr., F; McKenna Schaefer, Dublin Coffman, Jr., F; Apsara Som, Columbus Academy, Sr., M/F; Grace Todd, Worthington Christian, Jr., F; Abby Townsend, Olentangy Liberty, Sr., F; Sonia Vargas, Hilliard Davidson, So., M/F; Gabbi Viggiano, Hilliard Bradley, Sr., M; Anna Weigand, Marysville, Sr., G; and Jakaysha Williams, Wellington, Sr., F.Past Captains
Gahanna Lincoln's Kaylee Hensley (2016); Grandview Heights' Haley Rees (2015); Olentangy Liberty's Emma Ranalli (2014); Dublin Coffman's Sam Edwards (2012, 2013) and Kelly Quinn (2003, 2004); Dublin Jerome's Lindsay Agnew (2011); Upper Arlington's Michela Paradiso (2008, 2009 and 2010); Pickerington North's Tahnai Annis (2006, 2007) and Molly Cornwell (2005); Bexley's Megan Brake (2002); DeSales' Ashley Schillig (2001), Tesia Kozlowski (1999, 2000) and Mindy Hammond (1997) and Thomas Worthington's Ashley Swinehart (1998)