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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Eye on POY: Arkansas girls soccer

By Eric Snyder

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.

Alex Carter
Junior midfielder, Conway (Ark.)

2012 Team record: 20-1-1
2012 Team standing: Class 7A state championship vs. Bentonville on Friday

2012 Goals: 16
2012 Assists: 5
Career goals: 16
Career assists: 5

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of Kentucky (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Averaging 1.0 points per game this season. First Arkansas player ever named to U.S. Soccer National Team (Under-14 Girls Team in 2009). Region II Olympic Development Program member.

Tayler Estrada
Junior midfielder, Bentonville (Ark.)

2012 Team record: 14-4-2
2012 Team standing: Class 7A state championship vs. Conway on Friday

2012 Goals: 17
2012 Assists: 7
Career goals: 42
Career assists: 26

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Kansas University (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Averaging 1.2 points per game this season. 2010-11 Gatorade Arkansas Girls Soccer Player of the Year. 2011 Class 7A West Conference Player of the Year. Two-time Class 7A First Team All-State 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.

Marin Carter: Freshman midfielder, Conway (Ark.)
Lauren Cowgur: Junior defender, Bentonville (Ark.)
McKenzie Dixon: Freshman forward, Bentonville (Ark.)
Ashley Johnson: Senior forward, Conway (Ark.)
Sarah LaChance: Junior defender, Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.)

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.