Leading from behind: Seymour defender named Player of the Year

Playing as a center back, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lenart didn’t finish her career with any of the flashy statistics, but she never had a problem with that.

She knew her role and made it a point to shut down opposing offenses.

Lenart’s biggest concern was making sure the ball didn’t get past the Seymour High School girls soccer team’s back line, and more times than not, the Owls finished with a clean sheet in 2018.

The senior anchored a back line that finished with 11 shutouts this fall. In part of a stellar defense, the Owls went 13-5-2 and made it to the sectional championship.

For all of her efforts this season, Lenart has been named The Tribune’s Player of the Year.

Not only was Lenart a standout on the back line, she could play any position. If the Owls needed a player to fill a hole, she was the go-to.

Lenart played as a center defender, striker, outside wing and even in goal for one game this season.

“At the beginning of the year, I thought I would play more striker,” Lenart said. “That lasted two games before I moved back to center. In the beginning, my freshman and sophomore years, I knew I would stay in the back.

“I knew that strikers get all the glory and stats, and that was something I kind of wanted because my siblings had that. It was something I came to accept. You can’t win games if you get scored on. I liked that I was different than my siblings, too.”

Lizzie’s sisters, Clare and Marie, both had successful careers at SHS. Marie was The Tribune’s Player of the Year in 2016, and Clare received the honor in ’12 and ’13. Her brother, Adam, was a two-year captain at SHS.

Lenart was thrown into the fire right away, being named to the Owls’ varsity team as a freshman.

“When we first got our letter if we made JV or varsity, mine said I was just varsity. I wasn’t sure if it was right,” Lenart said.

Seymour head coach Greg Musser said Lenart was a great facilitator for the team.

“She sees the game very well. She sees the passes and can really cut people out,” he said. “Over the years, she has figured out how to anticipate on the back line. We had 11 shutouts this year, which was a school record. Seven of those were with a first-year goalie. Her touch and dribbling has always been pretty good. I think the mental aspect progressed a lot this year.”

Other coaches and players took notice of Lenart’s skills, as she was named All-District and All-Hoosier Hills Conference. Lenart will play in the District Games in November and will be eligible for All-State voting.

She also made the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association’s Academic All-State team.

Lenart said this year’s team gelled.

“I think this year’s team, we collaborated more on and off the field,” Lenart said. “We came in as friends, and soccer brought us closer together. Soccer is mentally and physically challenging, and when you have that support group, it brings us tougher as a group.

“Last season, we had a lot of really close games. I felt like if I was back line center defense, my team could rely on me to stop the ball. Being on the back line helps take pressure off the team, I think. Our back line worked really well together.”

Over the years, Lenart has helped the program get stronger.

“From my freshman to senior year, the program grew tremendously,” Lenart said. “We were on a pile of dirt at Freeman (Field soccer complex) to a million dollar (turf) field. The first time we got on it, we were awestruck. We made cuts the first time last year. The team is getting better and better. We’re playing high-quality teams and keeping up with them. My favorite part is watching the program grow.”

Lenart wants to be remembered at SHS for her demeanor.

“I want to be remembered as mentally tough,” she said. “If you take a bunch of girls, you could have Player A and Player B equal in talent. If Player A has a better mindset, they can be a better player and lead the team more. Mentally, you have to be just as fit as you are in soccer.”

Musser said Lenart will be missed.

“On the field, we will miss her speed and athleticism. Off the field, we will miss her antics,” he said. “She is a good kid with a lot of big things ahead of her.”

 

2018 Jackson County Girls Soccer Player of the Year

Elizabeth Lenart, Seymour, senior, defense

Key stats: 3 goals, 7 assists

Other accomplishments: All-District, All-Hoosier Hills Conference, Academic All-State, captain, helped team achieve school-record 11 shutouts

Joining Elizabeth Lenart on The Tribune’s 2018 All-County team:

Mallory Moore, Seymour, sophomore

Key stats: 1 goal, 1 assist

Other achievements: All-HHC, helped team to school-record 11 shutouts

Alyssa Perry, Seymour, sophomore

Key stats: 7 goals, 8 assists

Other achievement: All-HHC

Lillie Wessell, Seymour, freshman

Key stats: 10 goals, 2 assists

Other achievements: All-HHC second team

Aidan Hiester, Seymour, junior

Key stats: 7 goals, 3 shutouts, 34 saves

Other achievements: All-HHC second team, Academic All-State, helped team to school-record 11 shutouts

Bailey Lykins, Seymour, junior

Key stats: 13 goals, 3 assists

Other achievements: All-HHC second team, led SHS in goals

Elizabeth Hartman, Seymour, junior

Key stats: 2 assists

Other achievements: Helped team to school-record 10 shutouts, Academic All-State

Carmin Smith, Seymour, senior

Key stats: Helped team to school-record 11 shutouts

Other achievement: Academic All-State

Kate Snook, Seymour, junior

Key stats: 7 shutouts, 70 saves

Other achievements: Tied school record for shutouts for a goalie, Academic All-State

Sidney Hoene, Trinity Lutheran, senior

Key stats: 16 goals, 5 assists (37 total points)

Other achievements: Lutheran Athletic Association second All-American, captain

Flossie Cooper, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore

Key stats: 6 goals, 7 assists

Other achievement: Indiana Soccer Coaches Aassociation Top Team Player

Genesis Munoz, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore

Key stats: 121 saves

Other achievements: Ranked fifth in Independent Girls Soccer Stat Leader and 25th in Class A

Kailene Cockerham, Trinity Lutheran, freshman

Key stats: 8 goals, 3 assists

Maddie Bell, Trintiy Lutheran, senior

Key stats: 6 goals, 4 assists