Mars’ Taylor Hamlett named Trib HSSN Girls Soccer Player of the Year
Saturday, November 30, 2019 | 5:01 PM
To accomplish something as significant as winning a WPIAL and PIAA title in the same season, teams must come together and reach their peak ability.
But leaders also must step up. Mars forward Taylor Hamlett did just that for the Fightin’ Planets as they worked their way to becoming one of the best teams in Pennsylvania and the country.
The Middle Tennessee State commit scored 43 goals and added 28 assists as Mars captured its second state title in school history. Not only was she clutch throughout the season, but Hamlett stepped up on the biggest stages for Mars (20-0-1).
She scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 state championship victory over Villa Joseph Marie with a defender hanging on her back and a goalie charging at her. In their 4-0 WPIAL Class AAA championship victory over Plum, Hamlett tallied two goals in the first 16 minutes of the game to give her squad a comfortable lead. She scored 16 of Mars’ 36 postseason goals.
Hamlett was awarded all-WPIAL and all-state honors for a senior season that will go down in the history books. She reflected on it after being named the Trib HSSN Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Do you think your senior season could’ve gone any better?
No, I don’t think it could’ve gone any better. This was just the way I wanted my high school career to end. Especially winning states and WPIALs, being in the WPIAL championship the past two years and not getting it done. But once we won WPIALs this year, we knew what this team was and how far we could go in states and that we definitely could have an impact in the state playoffs.
Is there a moment that sticks out?
My favorite was our tie with Seneca Valley. For me, that was our game-changing moment. We knew what we were as a team and that we could compete with everyone, especially because they won the WPIAL last year. That really showed us that we are a high-level team.
You won both WPIAL and state titles. Does one feel better than the other?
Probably the state, just because during our run we were really unstoppable. We took it to every team. We won every game by multiple goals. Especially because the last two years we didn’t make it past the second round of states, so it felt really good this year.
Did you have a feeling you’d be capable of what you accomplished?
Definitely. Our coach kept telling us before the season even started, ‘You better work out extra hard because Hershey bars are heavy.’ So ever since the beginning, we had the mindset that we were going to take it one game at a time to just get the job done. So once we got past the second round of states, we knew that we were going to win it.
Was there one factor that contributed to your success the most?
I think everyone was playing for the team and just getting the job done. Everyone’s goal was to win and everyone didn’t care how we did it. We knew that we needed each other to get the job done.
Do any of your 43 goals stand out above the others?
My favorite goal was probably the one in the state final. Just because it wasn’t my best goal, but it definitely had the most meaning. Especially because it was the one that ended up carrying us to victory.
What stood out about Middle Tennessee State for you?
The coaching staff, what they promote through their program, they never settle, they always want more. They are very caring and they really want to develop a relationship with their players. I wanted to join a winning program too, and I really like what the head coach and the rest of the coaching staff promoted through their program.
What will be your major?
Something in medical. Either nursing or physician assistant.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
So, I’m not really a big Thanksgiving food person. So, when we do Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll usually do steak and Brussels sprouts.
What’s the one thing you want for Christmas?
Tickets to the Post Malone concert.
Do you have a favorite song of his?
Trib HSSN all-stars
Ellie Coffield, Mars, jr., MF: The inaugural Kaitlyn “Moe” Rosensteel award winner, Coffield played a big role in the Fightin’ Planets’ title run. She’s a Pitt commit and also an all-WPIAL and all-state selection.
Maddy Neundorfer, Gateway, sr., GK : An all-WPIAL and all-state selection, the senior goalkeeper produced six shutouts for Gateway, which lost to Plum in a shootout in the first round of the WPIAL tournament.
Melissa Riggins, Shady Side Academy, jr., MF: Riggins helped the Indians capture a WPIAL title and also a berth into the PIAA Class A state finals. She was an all-WPIAL selection.
Sarah Schupansky, North Allegheny, jr., F: The North Allegheny senior was an all-WPIAL and all-state selection and helped lead the Tigers to a WPIAL Class AAAA championship and a Section 1 title.
Jayden Sharpless, North Catholic, so., F: A year after winning the Trib HSSN Girls Soccer Player of the Year award, Sharpless transferred to North Catholic and helped the Trojanettes capture a WPIAL title with a beautiful free kick. She was an all-WPIAL selection.
Raychel Speicher, Hopewell, sr., F: The senior forward helped lead the Vikings to the WPIAL No. 1 seed. Speicher was an all-WPIAL and all-state selection.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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