Eye on POY: Pennsylvania girls soccer

The window on the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes 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.

Emily Armstrong

Senior goalkeeper, Perkiomen Valley (Collegeville, Pa.)

2012 Team record: 6-10-2 (Class AAA)

2012 Team standing: Did not qualify for postseason

2012 Shutouts: 8

2012 Goals allowed: 14

2012 Saves: 136

Career shutouts: 24

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Boston College

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Saved 90.7 percent of the shots she faced. U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team member. Led her club team to national championship. No. 25 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.

Veronica Latsko

Sophomore forward, Peters Township (McMurray, Pa.)

2012 Team record: 20-3-1 (Class AAA)

2012 Team standing: Class AAA state champions (Fall 2011)

2012 Goals: 45

2012 Assists: 15

Career goals: 80

Career assists: 27

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: HS sophomore

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Averaged 2.5 points per game this past season. Player of the Year as named by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Scored the winning goal in the state title game. Back-to-back Class AAA state champion.

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.

Frannie Crouse: Sophomore forward, Greensburg Central Catholic (Greensburg, Pa.)

Kelly Kerrigan: Senior midfielder, Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.)

Megan Schafer: Sophomore forward, Neshaminy (Langhorne, Pa.)

Taryn Tomczyk: Senior midfielder, Valley View (Archbald, Pa.)

Salina Williford: Junior midfielder, Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.)

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.