Kaylee Hensley told herself she just needed to save the first shot and she'd be OK.

Kaylee Hensley told herself that she just needed to save the first shot and she'd be OK.

During a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 1 against Olentangy Liberty, the junior goalkeeper for the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls soccer team batted away the first two shootout attempts, and the Lions went on to a 2-1 victory that included a 4-2 advantage in the shootout.

Those were among the numerous big saves Hensley made while helping the Lions put together the best season in program history.

A first-team all-state and all-district selection and the OCC-Ohio Division Player of the Year, Hensley also has been named the ThisWeek Super 12 captain.

"Our schedule is really tough and she usually had to play all game long because we don't blow people out," coach Bob McGee said. "She's good in the air and she's smart. We're starting two freshmen (on defense), so for us to be successful, we had to have that person in the back."

Hensley posted 13 shutouts during the regular season as the Lions went unbeaten, won the OCC-Ohio at 5-0 and earned the No. 1 seed for the district tournament.

She gave up just three regular-season goals and six overall, and added two postseason shutouts.

Hensley had eight saves Nov. 5 in a 1-0 regional final loss to Pickerington North. It marked the first time the Lions, who finished 18-1-2 overall, had reached a regional final.

"I've been a goalkeeper since I was about 9 years old, and I just like being a defensive player and being able to save a game," Hensley said. "I definitely think I've improved. I communicated more this year, which was helpful."

The Lions went 11-4-3 a year ago with Hensley in goal. She also won a shootout in last year's postseason before the Lions lost in a district semifinal.

In front of Hensley this season, freshmen Taylor Molli and Peyton Marquez took on key roles on defense alongside junior Erin Patterson.

Hensley, who is 5-foot-7, finished with 80 saves and saved 91 percent of the shots she faced. Among her regular-season shutouts were a pair of scoreless ties as well as a 1-0 win over Liberty on Sept. 6.

"If you put her on the field, she'd be a great field player, too, because of her work ethic," McGee said.

Hensley is the first Super 12 girls soccer captain from Gahanna.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Also on the team

LYDIA CORNELIUS

Cornelius, a sophomore midfielder, had 11 goals and 24 assists as New Albany won the OCC-Capital.

Cornelius is a two-year starter for the Eagles, who went 13-2-4 overall and 4-0-1 in the league, and reached a Division I district semifinal. She was voted the team's MVP and named second-team all-state.

"She really stepped it up this year and produced on both sides of the ball, whether in our attack or hustling back on defense to break up the opponents' attempts on goal," coach Kelly Snead said. "She is a modest player that gave up her number this year so that a returning senior that was injured last preseason could have her favorite number for her senior year. She is one of thebest ball handlers that I have ever had the pleasure to coach."

BLAIR COWAN

Cowan, a junior midfielder and Ohio State commit, had 16 goals and 15 assists to help Hilliard Darby to a 14-4-1 record and a Division I district runner-up finish.

Cowan had seven game-winning goals and was first-team all-district and all-OCC-Cardinal and second-team all-state.

"Blair is a highly gifted athlete who works and trains hard with a passion for being technically sound," coach Dan Brady said. "She is a complete player and the quarterback of our team. She makes it all happen out there.

"She has incredible field vision, and one of the most noticeable things about her play is her ability to move with the ball to open things around her. She is remarkably crafty and dodgy with the ball and that elusiveness allows her to create for those around her."

GRACE DELUCA

A four-year starter, this Thomas Worthington midfielder is a repeat Super 12 honoree.

DeLuca set the program's season record for goals (26) and had 13 assists as the Cardinals reached a Division I district final for the third season in a row and finished 13-5-1.

DeLuca was first-team all-state and all-district for the second consecutive year and first-team all-league for the third season in a row. She was OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year, and finished her career with 60 goals and 41 assists.

"Her work rate is second to none," coach Tim Barton said. "Grace is the real deal and would be an asset to any program. She is a very clutch player and there is no one else I would rather count on than her and build a team around."

ALYSSA EDWARDS

Edwards, a senior forward, had 15 goals and 13 assists - both team-bests - to lead Canal Winchester to its best postseason since moving to Division I.

Edwards was named OCC-Capital Player of the Year, first-team all-district and second-team all-state as the Indians went 13-2-3 overall and 3-0-2 in the league, and reached a district semifinal.

Edwards, who has committed to Urbana University, also was the Indians' top offensive threat as a junior when she led the team with eight goals and four assists.

"She led us in both goals and assistswhile captaining us to our best season in program history," coach Alex Wentz said. "Her strengths include her out-and-out pace, one-on-one ability and true goal-scoring talent."

EMILY GANZ

The Division I district Player of the Year, this Watterson senior forward will take her scoring abilities to Otterbein next season.

Ganz, who also was first-team all-state, had 23 goals and 14 assists as the Eagles finished 10-5-5 overall and 4-0 in the CCL to win their sixth consecutive league title.

She scored four goals Sept. 29 as Watterson beat Hartley 6-3 to wrap up the CCL title. She also had four goals in a 10-1 win over Grove City on Oct. 1 and in a 10-0 win over Whetstone in the second round of the district tournament.

Watterson lost to Dublin Jerome 3-0 in a district final Oct. 29.

"(Her strengths) are her ability to hold on to the ball and spread defenders out and her ability to finish," coach Alyx Portier said. "This year she really matured."

KARLI ROYER

Royer, a senior forward, was OCC-Buckeye Player of the Year and second-team all-state as Westerville North went 6-5-7 and nearly upset top-seeded Gahanna in a Division I district semifinal, losing 1-0 in overtime Oct. 25 despite being the 18th seed.

Royer had 15 goals and four assists, giving her 37 goals and 20 assists for her career.

"Karli's speed and ability level are the first things you notice about her," coach Brett Weiss said. "But as you continue to watch her play, her competitive level is so high that her speed and ability level seem to get even greater."

The Cincinnati commit also was first-team all-district. Last fall, she was second-team all-state, first-team all-district and all-league and a Super 12 selection.

EMMA SEARS

A sophomore forward, Sears made first-team all-league and second-team all-state as Dublin Jerome won the OCC-Cardinal at 6-0 and was first-team all-district for a squad that won a Division I district title.

She had one goal and one assist as Jerome beat Watterson 3-0 in a district final Oct. 29 and scored 17 goals overall. The Celtics finished 14-4-2 overall with a 1-0 overtime loss to Pickerington North in a regional semifinal Nov. 1.

When Sears joined the program last season, coach Kelly Brothers immediately recognized the player's creative talent.

"She really puts our offense into action," Brothers said. "She scored 12 of our 35 goals in the regular season and scored in every tournament game (except for the regional semifinal)."

CAMERON SHEDENHELM

Shedenhelm, a senior forward, scored 14 goals to lead Pickerington North to its fifth Division I state tournament.

North went 18-3-1, winning the 10th district title in its 14 seasons. The Panthers lost to Springboro 1-0 in overtime in a state semifinal Nov. 8.

Shedenhelm, a Kent State commit, finished her career with 60 goals, leading the team in scoring her sophomore and junior seasons with 13 and 16 goals, respectively. This year, she was named first-team all-district and all-OCC-Ohio and second-team all-state.

"She is so energetic and so athletic. She just does great things," coach Greg Van Kannel said. "She can score. She can pass the ball. She is a great personality and fun to be around. We're going to miss her."

BELLA SHIVLEY

Shivley, a senior midfielder, scored a team-high 29 goals to lead DeSales to second place in the CCL and a Division I district semifinal. The Stallions went 11-4-3 overall and 3-1 in the league.

Shivley finished her career with 71 goals and 33 assists. A four-year letterwinner, she was named first-team all-district and all-league as well as second-team all-state for the second consecutive year.

Shivley also led the Stallions in scoring as a junior (17 goals) and sophomore (20).

"Bella is an excellent goal scorer and can score from anywhere in the final third (of the field)," coach Sarah Gantz said. "Her work rate, unselfish mentality and ability to make the players around her better make her a leading player in DeSales soccer history."

ABBY TOWNSEND

With this junior forward leading the way, Olentangy Liberty won a third consecutive Division I district title.

Townsend had 21 goals and eight assists, earning first-team all-district and all-OCC-Buckeye as well as second-team all-state honors as the Patriots went 15-3-2.

She had one goal as Liberty beat Olentangy 3-0 in a district final Oct. 29. The Patriots lost to Gahanna 2-1 (4-2 shootout) in a regional semifinal Nov. 1.

"Abby has incredible speed, surpassing almost all defenders of the teams that we play," coach Kristen McMahon said. "She's physically strong on the ball and has a very accurate shot. Abby has been such a presence on our team this year and I look forward to seeing how she can grow and develop as next season approaches."

ABBY WELLS

This senior forward capped a stellar career by being named OCC-Central Player of the Year, first-team all-district and second-team all-state.

Wells scored a team-high 22 goals as Hilliard Davidson finished 9-4-3 overall and 4-0-1 in the OCC-Central, winning its first league title since 2010.

The Wildcats lost to Watterson 2-1 in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 25.

Wells scored six goals in an 18-0 win over Westland on Oct. 6 and had two goals in a key 4-1 league win over Upper Arlington onSept. 20.

"Abby had an excellent senior season, being voted a captain by her teammates and leading our team in scoring throughout the year," coach Heather Coonfare said. "We're all extremely proud of her accomplishments and drive this year."

Honorable mention

Sam Buck (Reynoldsburg, Sr., F), Maria Claypool (Grandview, Sr., F), Katie Cox (Granville, Jr., M), Abby Davies (Newark, Jr., F), Delaney Earl (Olentangy Orange, Jr., F), Casey King (Hartley, Jr., M), Emma Padgett (Big Walnut, Jr., F), Anna Piscopo (Upper Arlington, Sr., D), Izzy Reibold (Pickerington North, Sr., D), Rose Sawyers (Granville, Jr., F), Julia Scott (Olentangy, Sr., D), Aspara Som (Columbus Academy, Jr., M), Grace Todd (Worthington Christian, So., F), Anna Weigand (Marysville, Jr., G) and Kennedy Wells (Westerville Central, Sr., D).

..._