Norwin’s Harrigan named Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Soccer Player of the Year
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Saturday, December 9, 2017 | 5:42 PM
Player of the Year
Emily Harrigan, Sr., F, Norwin
Emily Harrigan walked out of Hersheypark Stadium last month with red-rimmed eyes and a giant Hershey's chocolate bar cradled in her arms.
Call it a bittersweet walk back to the bus. But mostly a giddy one.
Harrigan helped lead Norwin to its first PIAA girls soccer championship since 1996 with a 1-0 win over Neshaminy in the Class AAAA title game. While she was as glad as she was relieved to get a state title to cap an amazing three-year run, she also was sad to see the run come to an end.
For the second straight season, Harrigan is the Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Her teammate, goalkeeper Sam Wexell, also was considered.
With Harrigan's field-flipping speed powering the offense, Norwin finished 24-2-1. The Rutgers recruit found the net 26 times and ended her career with a school-record 93 goals.
A four-year starter, Harrigan helped Norwin post a record of 81-7-3, including an 18-4 mark in the playoffs, with two WPIAL titles and the state crown. She once again was named to the all-state and all-WPIAL teams.
Harrigan was named a USA Today All-American and played in the High School All-American all-star game earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.
Was winning the state championship all you thought it would be?
It was a storybook ending to my career. Seeing tears of joy in everyone's eyes around me and in the stands was a moment I'll never forget.
What was it like having so many talented players around you, on both ends of the field?
It pushed me during every practice and game. The bar was definitely set high, and practices were always at a high level.
Is there anything you would you change about this season?
Sure we didn't beat Penn Trafford, and sure we didn't get the three-peat we had wished for. However, we dug deep and used that as motivation. … I wouldn't change this season for the world.
How did you manage to stay productive despite an ankle injury?
I never really had an injury before so I didn't know how to handle this. But I had two of the best trainers in the WPIAL. … They'd tape it up before the game, I'd go out there and perform.
Is there one play that stands out among all the others from this year?
Definitely the goal in the state finals. Alyssa Victor returned three months earlier than expected from a hip injury and assisted the goal. Dani Ianuzzo moved across the entire country as a sophomore and was on the end of that corner kick to put the ball in the back of the net. This was a goal that just keeps replaying in my mind.
Fill in the blank: I can't play a soccer game unless I ______.
Have my hair wavy.
How much of an inspiration has your cousin, Alina (a 13-year-old with Down syndrome), been to you?
We are so close and we spend a lot of time together and have since she was a little girl. She is my No. 1 fan.
What will Norwin fans remember most about you? What kind of mark do you think you left on the program?
I think our entire class has created a legacy. I hope Norwin fans will remember me as a girl in a pink headband who just loved the game and loved representing her school with a team that became her family.
Is coach Lauren Karcher ever not smiling?
Coach Lauren literally never stops smiling. But this fits her so well because she has a beautiful personality and is the sweetest person ever.
Any interesting non-soccer hobbies?
Unified track, which is basically competing in track events with other students alongside kids with special needs.
Favorite pro soccer team to follow?
Just like any teenage girl with a big dream … USWNT.
What is another sport you are good at?
I used to do competitive cheerleading. I can actually still do my back tuck and a lot of my tumbling.
What do you want most for Christmas?
Adidas clothes. I've always been more of a Nike girl, but Rutgers is sponsored by adidas now so I need to switch my style.
Favorite Christmas movie?
Girls Soccer All-Stars
Justine Appolonia, So., F, Yough
An all-section and all-WPIAL player, she scored 34 goals and dished 12 assists. Scored two overtime game-winners. Has 54 career scores.
Emily Arnold, Sr., D, Norwin
All-state selection led PIAA champion Knights with 18 assists and was key to defense that had 16 shutouts. Slippery Rock recruit also was an all-WPIAL pick.
Mackenzie Aunkst, Sr., MF, Penn-Trafford
Key player on both ends of field, finished with 12 assists and four goals for WPIAL Class AAAA champions. West Virginia recruit had 43 career assists.
Ally Bloom, Sr., MF, Mt. Pleasant
All-WPIAL player played out of position most of the season because injuries, but still managed eight goals, giving the Seton Hill recruit 44 for her career.
Lexy Kendro, Sr., F, Norwin
Leading scorer for PIAA champion Knights finished with career-best 29 goals and added 19 assists. Duquesne recruit received all-WPIAL and all-state honors.
Hannah Nguyen, Sr., MF, Penn-Trafford
Led WPIAL champions in goals (21) and assists (23). Duquesne recruit finished with 54 goals and 54 assists and picked up all-WPIAL and all-state recognition.
Brenna Springer, So., MF, Greensburg Central Catholic
All-WPIAL selection helped power the Centurions to WPIAL Class A championship and run to PIAA semifinals. Finished with nine goals and 12 assists.
Lauren Stovar, Sr., F, Penn-Trafford
Army recruit finished season with 15 goals and 10 assists for WPIAL-champion Warriors. All-WPIAL player contributed 42 goals and 23 assists in career.
Sydney Ward, Sr., MF, Greensburg Central Catholic
Senior leader scored 17 goals and handed out 10 assists for WPIAL-champion Centurions, who also made the state semifinals. All-WPIAL selection.
Sam Wexell, Sr., GK, Norwin
Broke school record for career shutouts and finished third in WPIAL history with 54 clean sheets. Helped PIAA champions register 16 shutouts for the season. Ohio recruit earned all-WPIAL and all-state honors.