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Peabody's Dowd wins Gatorade Player of Year

2/9/2012

In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Hayley Dowd of Peabody High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Dowd is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Peabody High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Dowd as Massachusetts’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Dowd joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-5 junior forward led the Tanners to a 22-0-2 record and the Division 1 state championship this past season. Dowd scored 41 goals and passed for 19 assists, recording seven goals and three assists in six postseason matches. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Dowd is a two-time Northeastern Conference MVP. She has 121 goals and 43 assists through three varsity seasons.

Dowd has maintained an A average in the classroom. A member of the Peabody High Captain’s Council, she has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach.

“Hayley Dowd can score working with her team, she can go 1-on-1 and if she is double-teamed she finds her teammates with passes for easy goals” said Fred Day, Salem High's head coach. “She never stops working off the ball. I would pay to watch her play.”

Dowd has verbally committed to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2013.

Dowd joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Soccer Players of the Year Sam Mewis (2010–11, 2009-10, Whitman-Hanson), Danielle Dakin (2008–09, Minnechaug), Hayley Brock (2007-08, Acton-Boxborough), and Amy Caldwell (2006-07, Braintree) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Here are the winners from the other five New England states:

CONNECTICUT: PAULA HAGOPIAN, KINGSWOOD-OXFORD

The 5-foot-4 senior forward scored 13 goals and passed for 10 assists this past season, leading the Wyverns to a 5-7-2 record. Also the 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and a two-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Hagopian led Kingswood Oxford to the 2010 New England Prep School Athletic Council Class B championship. She concluded her prep soccer career with 56 goals and 35 assists.

Hagopian has maintained a 3.73 GPA in the classroom. The first chair clarinet player in the Kingswood Oxford school band, she has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and at an area homeless shelter and food bank.

“Paula is so strong that defenders bounce off her,” said Matt Micros, a club coach with Connecticut FC. “She can hold the ball up well and also spin defenders with ease. What she lacks in technique she more than make up for with power and pace.”

Hagopian will attend Yale University where she will play soccer beginning this fall.

Hagopian joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Girls Soccer Players of the Year Riley Houle (2010–11, Windham), Kate McCarthy, (2009-10, Loomis Chaffee), Jessica Schloth (2008–09, St. Joseph), Alex Uscilla (2007-08, St. Joseph), and Bianca D’Agostino (2006-07, Loomis Chaffee) among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: McKENZIE MEEHAN, LA SALLE

The 5-foot-5 senior forward led the Rams to a 20-0-2 record and the Division 1 state championship this past season. Meehan scored 80 goals and passed for 14 assists, including two goals and two assists in a 6-2 win over Smithfield High in the state final. The returning Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Meehan is a two-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She recorded 16 hat tricks in 22 games with six four-goal games, four five-goal games and three six-goal games, concluding her prep soccer career with 181 goals and 41 assists.

Meehan has maintained an A average in the classroom. A member of La Salle’s Pegasus Gifted Student Program, she has volunteered locally as a peer Spanish tutor and a youth soccer coach.

“McKenzie Meehan should be on the national team,” said Keith Caldwell, Meehan’s coach with the Scorpions SC club team. “She’s the best goal-scorer I’ve ever seen. She is strong, athletic, tough and she holds the ball well. She’s not flashy. She just scores goals.”

Meehan has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Boston College beginning this fall.

Meehan joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Soccer Players of the Year Allison Kelley, (2009-10, 2008-09, La Salle), Katie Reilly (2007-08, St. Mary Academy-Bay View), and Erica Florenz (2006-2007, Scituate) among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: MORGAN ANDREWS, MILFORD

The 5-foot-9 junior forward scored 31 goals and passed for six assists this past season, leading the Spartans (11-6-1) to the Division II state quarterfinals. The returning Gatorade New Hampshire Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Andrews is captain of the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team and is a member of the Under-23 National Team. The 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America National Girls Youth Player of the Year for club play and a two-time NSCAA All-American selection, she has 83 goals and 35 assists in three varsity campaigns.

Andrews has maintained a 3.03 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and mentor, and she founded a local “Kicks for Cans” charity program that involves coaches and players donating their time in exchange for canned goods that are brought to area food banks.

“Morgan Andrews, the kid’s a phenom,” said Jason Dewhurst, the director of coaching for the Stars of Massachusetts club team. “She plays way above her years. She always shows up to play, whether it’s training or games, it doesn’t matter. She’s a fierce competitor and wants to win. She deserves all the accolades she gets.”

Andrews has verbally committed to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2013.

Andrews joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Girls Soccer Players of the Year Kailey Blain (2009-10, 2008-09, Merrimack), Kristy Zurmuhlen (2007-08, Fall Mountain Regional, and Lindsey Miller (2006-07, Bishop Guertin) among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: CAITLIN BUCKSBAUM, FALMOUTH

The 5-foot-5 junior midfielder led the Yachtsmen to a 13-4-1 record and the Class B state championship this past season. Bucksbaum scored 10 goals and passed for 11 assists. In her first year at Falmouth High, Bucksbaum was a Maine Sunday Telegram First Team All-State selection and earned First Team All-Western Maine Conference recognition. As a sophomore in 2010, she started for Ardrey Kell High in Charlotte, N.C., which reached the Class 4A state final.

Bucksbaum has maintained an A average in the classroom. A member of Falmouth High’s Environmental Action Committee, she has volunteered locally as a peer math tutor, a youth soccer coach and with the Ronald McDonald House.

“Caitlin Bucksbaum is a good player. Her appetite to get better is amazing,” said Jason Dewhurst, the director of coaching for the Stars of Massachusetts club team. “She’s quick, athletic, has good feet and can strike a ball from distance.”

Bucksbaum joins recent Gatorade Maine Girls Soccer Players of the Year Allison Walton (2010–11, 2009-10, Brunswick, Elise Amioka (2008–09, Marshwood), Rachele Burns (2007-08, Gorham), and Kelsey Wilson (2006-07, Gorham) among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: LAUREN BERNARD, COLCHESTER

The 5-foot-3 senior forward/midfielder scored 24 goals and passed for five assists this past season, leading the Lakers (7-6-2) to the Div. I state quarterfinals. The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Bernard is a two-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was chosen as Burlington Free Press Player of the Year. She is a former member of the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-15 Women’s National Team, and a current member of the Under-18 National Team player pool.

Bernard has maintained a 3.93 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally with youth soccer programs and camps.

“She’s very strong technically and her left foot is deadly,” said Dwight Irish, head coach of rival Vergennes High. “If she has a little bit of room and she’s anywhere near the goal, she’s going to change the game.”

Bernard has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Boston College this fall.

Bernard joins recent Gatorade Vermont Girls Soccer Players of the Year Brittany Pfaff, (2009-10, Rice Memorial), Natalie LeClair (2008–09, 2007-08, Essex), and Emily Milbank (2006-07, Champlain Valley Union) among the state’s list of former award winners.