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Eye on POY: Indiana girls soccer

The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Hannah Miller

Senior forward, Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.)

2011 Team record: 20-1-2 (Class 2A)

2011 Team standing: Lost Class 2A state championship game

2011 Goals: 22

2011 Assists: 7

2011 Points per game: 1.26

Career goals: 54

Career assists: 27

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Eastern Illinois University

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Tallied five goals in seven postseason games for Hamilton Southeastern, including a hat trick in a 5-1 state quarterfinal victory against Leo (Ind.). Directly involved in 29 of the Royals’ 96 goals (30.2 percent). 2011 NSCAA All-American selection. 2011 First Team All-State selection as named by the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association.

Brooke Backes

Senior forward, Carmel (Ind.)

2011 Team record: 22-0-1 (Class 2A)

2011 Team standing: Class 2A state champions

2011 Goals: 16

2011 Assists: 9

2011 Points per game: 1.14

Career goals: 42

Career assists: 26

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: University of Iowa

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Scored the game-winning goal in three of Carmel’s seven postseason games, including the only goal in the Greyhounds’ 1-0 win over Hamilton Southeastern in the state final. Directly involved in 25 of the Greyhounds’ 88 goals (28.4 percent). 2011 Miss Soccer selection as named by the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association. Two-time ISCA First Team All-State selection. Two-time Player of the Year as named by the Indianapolis Star. 2011 NSCAA All-American selection.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Tori Doss: Junior midfielder, Carmel (Ind.)

Sam Kokoska: Sophomore midfielder, Carmel (Ind.)

Reilly Martin: Freshman forward, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Elly McGuffog: Senior midfielder/defender, Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.)

Morgan Proffitt: Junior midfielder, Columbus North (Columbus, Ind.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.