Haley Rees doesn't look like a bruiser, but the senior forward for the Grandview Heights High School girls soccer team holds her own on the field.

Haley Rees doesn't look like a bruiser, but the senior forward for the Grandview Heights High School girls soccer team holds her own on the field.

At 5-foot-9 and 120 pounds, Rees can work her way through the elbows and forearms of defenders to put the ball in the net for the second-ranked Bobcats, who were 16-2-1 before playing Lynchburg-Clay in a Division III regional semifinal Nov. 3. They won the program's first district title by defeating Columbus Academy 1-0 on Oct. 31 at Canal Winchester.

Rees had a program-record 74 goals, including 27 this season, entering the regional semifinal, but all of her skills helped lead to her selection as ThisWeek's Super 12 captain.

"Haley is a pure goal-scorer," said coach Mike Merna, whose team won its second consecutive MSL-Ohio Division title and earned the top seed for the district tournament. "She is quick, has a great shot and is surprisingly strong. Teams try to play her physically and defenders bounce off her, and she wins most tackles.

"In Haley's last two years, she's been able to strike the ball well with both feet, so she has a lot of options going to the goal. She has the right mentality for a striker, where if she misses or the keeper makes a save, she just keeps going."

Even when Rees doesn't score, she finds ways to help the Bobcats.

"I started to have so many people marking me that it left my teammates open," she said. "I had to get focused on passing the ball, and if I wanted the ball back, I had to be fast enough to get open again."

Softball was Rees' first love, but she realized her skill set was better suited for soccer after the fall of her freshman year. She scored 11 goals in her first two seasons before exploding for 36 last year.

"Haley sets a good example in training by working hard," Merna said. "That trait wasn't always there her first two seasons, but as she's matured, her focus and work ethic have been much better."

Rees was district and MSL-Ohio Player of the Year. She plans to play soccer at Hanover College, an NCAA Division III school in Indiana.

"Haley strikes the ball as well as anyone I've coached," said Merna, who is in his 12th season at Grandview. "We upgraded the schedule, thinking we'd have a strong team, and she's still been able to score."

ALSO ON FIRST TEAM

Sabine Chandler

The senior forward was a key player in helping Dublin Jerome win the OCC-Cardinal championship and earn the top seed in the Division I district tournament.

The Celtics lost to 19th-seeded New Albany 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 27 to finish 12-2-3 overall and went 6-0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Chandler, who will play at Davidson College, scored five goals and was first-team all-district and all-league. She missed several games in September while playing for the Haiti Women's National Team in two friendly matches against the United States.

"We missed her every moment she was gone because she is an impact player on the field," coach Kelly Brothers said.

Blair Cowan

The sophomore midfielder played a key role as Hilliard Darby reached a Division I district final and was the OCC-Cardinal runner-up. The Panthers finished 13-3-3 overall, losing to second-seeded Pickerington North 3-2 in a district final Oct. 31.

Cowan finished with 17 goals and 10 assists, including five game-winning goals. She was first-team all-district and all-league, as Darby went 4-1-2 in the OCC to finish behind Jerome (6-0-1).

"Blair is the ultimate competitor," first-year coach Dan Brady said. "She is very dedicated to the game and works incessantly at improving her skill level. Her very high technical ability and field vision and decision-making are of the highest quality."

Nikki Cox

There hasn't been a more prolific goal-scorer in central Ohio the last four years than this senior midfielder for Granville.

Cox, who was selected to the Super 12 for the third consecutive season after making honorable mention as a freshman, was the Blue Aces' all-time leading scorer with 140 career goals before playing Chillicothe in a Division II regional semifinal Nov. 3.

Cox, who has committed to North Carolina-Wilmington, had 28 goals and 15 assists through 19 games. She scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Big Walnut in a district final Oct. 31 as Granville improved to 14-3-2. "Nikki is the most exceptional player I have ever been around," coach Scott Forster said.

Grace DeLuca

The junior midfielder helped Thomas Worthington reach a Division I district final.

A three-year starter, DeLuca had 13 goals and seven assists as the Cardinals finished 12-4-3. Seeded fourth, Thomas lost to sixth-seeded Olentangy Liberty 3-2 in overtime in a district final Oct. 31. DeLuca, who has 35 career goals, was named first-team all-district and all-OCC-Central.

"Grace is playing an attacking midfield position this year and has some added defensive responsibility, but is still putting up good numbers," coach Tim Barton said. "I also think it's telling that her peers voted her a captain as a junior. She has an incredible work ethic and great attitude."

Sarina Dirrig

Dirrig, a junior midfielder, helped to lead Olentangy Liberty to its second consecutive OCC-Central championship and its second Division I district title in a row.

Dirrig had 17 goals and three assists through 19 games for the Patriots, who were 13-5-1 before facing Upper Arlington in a regional semifinal Nov. 3. They beat Thomas Worthington 3-2 in overtime in a district final Oct. 31. Dirrig has committed to Ohio University.

"Sarina is a great soccer player who has unbelievable vision of the field," coach Kristen McMahon said. "Sarina's greatest strength in the game is her ability to hold on to the ball and distribute (the ball) to her teammates."

Remi Eades

With this senior forward leading its offense, Gahanna has been one of central Ohio's top teams the last two seasons.

The Lions finished 14-3-1 last season and 11-4-3 this year, reaching a Division I district semifinal both seasons. Gahanna was seeded fifth in the district this fall and tied Grove City for second in the OCC-Ohio at 5-1-1.

Eades, who will play for Ohio University, had 22 goals and 11 assists this season and finished her prep career with 60 goals.

"She was super determined to make her senior year great," coach Natasha Churches said. "Her training ... and her technical ability were evident."

Grace Fodor

This senior was the defensive leader for Hilliard Bradley.

Fodor played center back, helping the Jaguars record 10 shutouts and allow only one goal in OCC-Cardinal play. Bradley finished 8-5-4 overall and went 3-1-3 in the league to place third behind champion Jerome (6-0-1).

Fodor, a four-year starter who will play basketball at West Liberty in West Virginia, had one goal and one assist this season and was named first-team all-district in Division I and all-league.

"Grace is an extremely special player and athlete and her contribution to this team is truly something that cannot be put into words," coach Cheri Shields said. "She is someone both her teammates and coaches trust and respect, in any situation."

Sydney Harris

This senior defender anchored the back line for Dublin Jerome, which allowed 13 goals and posted nine shutouts in 17 games.

Harris, who will play at Miami University, was named first-team all-district in Division I and OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year, as the Celtics won the league with a 6-0-1 record and finished 12-3 overall. Jerome lost to New Albany 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 27.

"I've seen Sydney grow so much from her junior to her senior year as an athlete and as a person," coach Kelly Brothers said. "She was a great leader for us this year. She was very consistent every game, was the heart of our defense and the anchor of our team. I'm incredibly proud of her performance."

Karli Royer

This junior forward led Westerville North in scoring this season with 11 goals and four assists and was named first-team all-district in Division I and all-OCC-Cardinal.

Seeded 24th, the Warriors lost to 12th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 3-1 in a district tournament second-round game Oct. 22 to finish 5-9-4. Royer scored North's lone goal against the Wolves and also scored in a 3-0 victory over 23rd-seeded Central Crossing in a first-round game Oct. 20. The Warriors went 2-2-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Westerville Central for fourth.

"Karli is talented, she's a hard worker and she's put a lot into getting better at soccer," coach Brett Weiss said. "She definitely had a year where all that paid off, so we're proud of her."

Cameron Shedenhelm

The junior forward helped to lead Pickerington North to the OCC-Ohio championship and its ninth Division I district title.

A three-year starter, Shedenhelm had 16 goals and nine assists through 19 games and was named OCC-Ohio Player of the Year and first-team all-district. North was 14-1-4 before playing Olentangy in a regional semifinal Nov. 3. Shedenhelm scored two goals in a 3-2 win over Hilliard Darby in a district final Oct. 31, including the game-winner with less than a minute left.

"Cameron comes to compete every day in practice and games," coach Greg Van Kannel said. "She gives us some physical play along with doing the little things to make us successful."

Abby Steiner

This sophomore forward for Dublin Coffman was named Division I district and OCC-Central Player of the Year.

Steiner, a University of Kentucky recruit, finished with 18 goals and five assists and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 overtime win over 17th-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal Oct. 27.

Seeded third, Coffman finished 12-3-2, losing to 11th-seeded Olentangy 2-1 in overtime in a district final Oct. 31.

"Her ceiling is unlike any kid that we've had here," coach Marc D'Auteuil said. "My assistant, Josh (Brader), has been involved in high school girls soccer for over 15 years and I have been involved over 10 years, and she is the most devastating athlete we have both ever seen."

HONORABLE MENTION

Bailey Bodker (Big Walnut, Jr., M), Stephanie Burzynski (Olentangy, Sr., M), Ally Dempsey (Hartley, Sr., M), Alicia Donley (Columbus School for Girls, So., F), Delaney Earl (Olentangy Orange, So., F), Izzy Esber (Grandview, Sr., G), Lindsay Jones (Grove City, Sr., D), Kiana Khorrami (New Albany, Sr., M), Sophie Krings (Columbus Academy, Jr., M/F), Rachel Neff (Ready, Sr., M), Julianna Rotolo (Watterson, Jr., M), Rose Sawyers (Granville, So., F), Bella Shivley, DeSales, Jr., M/F), Julia Tout (Worthington Kilbourne, Sr., D) and Abby Wild (Upper Arlington, So., D).

PAST CAPTAINS

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).

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