Kenya Maltase named Div. III state MVP; eight Warriors honored |

Kenya Maltase named Div. III state MVP; eight Warriors honored

Anthony Gentile
Kenya Maltase, Jr.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

2014 Div. III Girls Soccer All-State selections

Most Valuable Player

Kenya Maltase, Jr.

Defensive MVP

Daria Sharon, Jr.

Coach of the Year

Patrick Kelly

All-State First Team

Michael Gardner, Sr. DEF

Ali Copsy, So., FORW

Madison Idso, So., MF

Gigi Stetler, So., MF

All-State Second Team

Sabrina Trachsel, Sr., MF

All-State Honorable Mention

Gisselle Benitez, Sr., MF

The Whittell girls soccer team dominated its opposition en route to the Div. III state championship — and collected more hardware when the postseason awards were handed out. Eight Warriors players were named All-State performers, including MVP Kenya Maltase and Defensive MVP Daria Sharon.

“It’s great to see Whittell represented like that,” Warriors head coach Patrick Kelly said. “These girls put in a tremendous amount of effort all season long, showed up every game and played as hard as they could — when we voted for All-State, each of the coaches mentioned how the girls did a great job on the field.”

Maltase was named Div. III Most Valuable Player after a season where she finished with 22 goals and 14 assists — the junior scored five goals in two matches the state tournament. Starting primarily at forward, Maltase played a number of different positions for Whittell — and was able to take over games from any spot.

“She’s a very versatile player — we asked her to do a lot of things for us, and she was very willing to do that and very capable of doing that,” Kelly said. “If she feels like something needs to be done, she can step up and do it — whether it’s getting the goal that we need, winning a head ball in the midfield or coming out with a tackle in defense. She has a well-rounded game.”

Sharon was honored as Div. III Defensive MVP, anchoring the back line for a Warriors team that allowed seven goals in 17 matches against league opposition. The junior didn’t start out the season at sweeper — but took hold of the position early on.

“Daria is one of the smartest players I’ve coached, and that’s one of the keys to playing sweeper — knowing where to be and when to be there,” Kelly said. It’s not always about being big and physical, it’s being tactical and being able to read a play — Daria was certainly able to do that this year.”

All-State First Team selections included senior defender Michael Gardner, sophomore midfielder Gigi Stetler, sophomore forward Ali Copsy and sophomore midfielder Madison Idso. Senior midfielder Sabrina Trachsel was named to the second team, and senior midfielder Gisselle Benitez received honorable mention.

“They’re all great players technically, and it was fun to work with them in practice everyday,” Kelly said. “They’re also just a fun group of girls to share a laugh with — they grew throughout the season soccerwise and as people.”

Kelly was named Coach of the Year after leading Whittell to an 18-1 record and its first state championship since 2002. The Warriors had lost to Incline in the state title game each of the last two seasons before beating the Highlanders to deliver the Div. III championship.

“We had a lot of great pieces to the puzzle — and we had to figure out where they all fit to get some results on the field,” Kelly said. “Once we found that, it clicked and it was just fun to watch them play soccer — I really didn’t have to say much from the sideline, I could just sit there and enjoy watching them play.

“We had a great season, and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life — coaching these girls and what we were able to do. It was just a great experience.”

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