League honors five Warriors in girls soccer
After Whittell’s girls finished second in their soccer league, the league coaches confirmed suspicions that five Warriors were second to none as players.
The Northern Nevada 3A Division II soccer league honored Whittell players Courtney Benvenuto, Caitlin Fagan and Corky Novotny with spots on the all-division first team, and Renee Cascino and Alisha Roth with second-team status. The three Warriors seniors and two juniors all played key roles for Whittell, which finished second in the league and advanced to state before losing 4-1 to traditional power Truckee.
Benvenuto, a senior and the 1998 league defensive player of the year, saw her role expand this year. She not only brought hard-nosed defense to the midfield, but emerged as a valuable option on offense.
“I was happy because I didn’t think I played that great this year, but other than that, I wasn’t too surprised,” Benvenuto said.
Far from resenting moving around the field and performing different tasks to help her team, Benvenuto seemed to relish her assignments this year. She said changing positions gave her variety.
Along with Amber Merkel, Cascino and Benvenuto, Novotny – also a senior – was one of the first four four-year soccer players at Whittell. Novotny joined the team after its preseason trip to the Pahrump tournament, but seemed to pick up right where she left off the year before, providing Whittell with an instant offensive spark. This season marked Novotny’s fourth appearance on the division team.
“I just jumped right into it,” said Novotny, who spent the summer training with the Rolex Junior National Far West regional team and joined Whittell in time for a home win over Quincy. “Soccer, once you learn it, you always know it.”
Fagan figures to be Whittell’s top returning starter next year as a senior. She gave the Warriors another solid presence in midfield, contributing on both offense and defense. She likely will join Roth, a defender, as returning all-conference players.
This season marked the fourth for Whittell girls soccer, and the third under Mike Leeper, the 1998 conference coach of the year.
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