NEPS: Day 2 Top Performers

NEPS: Day 2 Top Performers
by Sheldon Shealer
January 6, 2017

FORT WORTH, Texas – Outdoor soccer was played indoors Friday for only the second time in the 15-year National Elite Prep Showcase history.

Below-freezing temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth area led to the cancellation of all outdoor high school contests, but NEPS was able to surge on by using the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility on the Texas Christian University campus. Thirteen time-shortened matches took place on TCU’s indoor football field that was stretched to its maximum width to handle soccer. The venue left spectators, players and coaches ringing the facility, just inches away from the out-of-bounds markers.

The marquee matchup was a clash between SIMA FAB 50 No. 1 Marcus (Texas) and No. 4 [Liberty ca-w] (Calif.), and Maddison Algya's second goal capped a 4-3 win for the Texas squad.

Liberty dominated play and took the first-half lead on a goal by Lauren Sisneros, assisted by Delanie Sheehan. Algya's first goal came on a penalty kick, which tied the contest at 1. From that point, Marcus never trailed as the contest went 2-1, 2-2, 3-2 and 4-2 before Liberty scored in the last 10 seconds for the final margin. Algya scored the first and fourth goals for Marcus. Angelica Licari and Alex Bradford scored for Marcus, and Taylor Moon assisted the team’s first two scores.

Overall, the indoor venue suited the nationally ranked teams just fine, despite the shorter matches (trimmed to 30-minute halves) and narrow field. SIMA FAB 50 teams went 6-1-1, and the lone loss was No. 4 Liberty's setback to top-ranked Marcus.

The plan for Saturday is to return to outdoor venues for the balance of the tournament, which is 18 contests.

The last time the event, then known as the Nolan Showcase, was forced indoors at TCU's facility was 2010, when an ice storm hit the area.


Winter Wins The Day: More than a dozen matches were struck from outdoor venues and moved into TCU’s indoor football practice facility. The last time the event, then known as the Nolan Showcase, was forced indoors was 2010, when an ice storm hit the area. On Friday, teams played two 30-minute half contests. Games started early in the morning and did not end until near 11 p.m.

Doubleheader: After Santa Margarita (Calif.) declined a chance to play Friday at TCU, Carondelet took the extra spot, playing twice. The Cougars used every player suited in defeating Round Rock (Texas) 1-0 and Antonian (Texas) 3-1 with an hour break between the games. Coach Amy Apodaca said she plays all team members in every contest. "If I keep you, I play you," she said.

Lurking Wolves: Plano West (Texas) has yet to win at match at NEPS, yet its performances might yield a national ranking, depending on Saturday’s contest. Plano West and SIMA FAB 50 No. 29 Hendrickson (Texas) played to a scoreless draw Friday. The previous day, Plano West tied No. 26 Harvard-Westlake (Calif.).


(NEPS is played out at eight locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, making it impossible for staff to be present at every match. The Top Performers list is compiled from staff observations and information provided by TDS contributors.)

MVP of the Day: Maddison Algya, Marcus (Texas), Jr., MF. For the second straight day, the MVP is a member of Marcus' team, a high school junior and also a Baylor commit. Algya scored twice, and both goals were game-changers. She converted a penalty kick late in the half to allow Marcus to pull even at 1 with [Liberty ca-w] (Texas). Before Algya's goal, Liberty was dominating possession and opportunities. Coach Chad Hobbs said the first goal allowed Marcus to get back to its style of play. Marcus held a 3-2 lead late when Algya, who was nearly offsides, gathered a pass, dribbled toward goal and converted for a 4-2 advantage. At the time, the goal – with less than 2 minutes remaining -- appeared to be an insurance goal. But when Liberty scored with only 10 seconds left, Algya's second tally proved to be the difference. Algya now has three goals and three assists in two NEPS matches.

Best of the Rest

Christina Arteaga, Hendrickson (Texas), Sr., MF: An Abilene Christian commit, Arteaga was steady in the midfield and helped create a few chances for Hendrickson, which played to a scoreless draw with Plano West. Arteaga showed a lot of hustle and was able to hold the ball to get the team into the attack.

Gillian Cabral, Carondelet (Calif.), Sr., D: Cabral is one of only four seniors on Carondelet’s roster. However, the senior co-captain helped lock down the defense as Carondelet posted a pair of shutouts Friday.

Ariel Diaz, Monterey (Texas), Sr., F: Diaz is making quite an impression on a larger scene. She’s already a two-time Lubbock Player of the Year, but her three goals and one assist against Duncanville on Friday shows she can take it to some of the DFW programs. Diaz scored 63 goals during her sophomore and junior seasons.

Lauren Elson, Harvard-Westlake, Fr., F: Instant impact. Elson has scored goals in both of Harvard-Westlake’s matches at NEPS, one to time the game against Plano West (Texas), the other to start a 2-0 win over Westlake (Texas).

Alexandra Fagerberg, Westlake (Texas), Sr., D: The uncommitted senior had a very good showing, taking turns man-marking Harvard-Westlake’s top scorers. She kept Paige Howard from scoring (although Howard did have two assists).

Samantha Fisher, Grace Brethren (Calif.), Sr., F: The Notre Dame commit has yet to score at NEPS, but her level of play is obviously very high. She stood out in Grace Brethren’s 1-0 loss to Nolan Catholic (Texas). Fisher scored 51 goals and was the CIF South Section Division 7 Player of the Year last year.

Paige Howard, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.), Sr., MF: For the second straight day, the Penn commit makes the list. Howard assisted both of Harvard-Westlake’s goals in a win over Westlake (Texas).

Grace Kellner, Marcus (Texas), Sr., D: When Marcus was on its heels in the first half, Kellner and Olivia Kovach kept the Liberty from a second goal, which would have been a backbreaker.

Olivia Kovach, Marcus (Texas), Jr., D: Kovach spent a lot of time defending Liberty’s talented forward Devyn Gilfoy. The center back saved Marcus on more than one occasion.

Lucy Laguarta, Westlake (Texas), Sr., MF: The Arkansas commit made several strong runs, won balls in the midfield and did things to make Westlake competitive.

Avery McMeme, Monterey (Texas), Sr., MF: McMeme and Diaz create a dangerous scoring punch for Monterey. McMeme had a second straight one-goal, one-assist performance.

Ariana Miles, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.), Jr., F: Miles has explosive speed and hustles all over the field. She’s an uncommitted junior with offers, and has scored five goals this season.  

Elizabeth Ospeck, Carondelet (Calif.), Fr., MF: Ospeck is one of the fastest players at NEPS. Despite playing on a smaller pitch Friday, Ospeck blew past defenders and got Carondelet into scoring position. She hustled and won a lot of balls in the midfield.

Delanie Sheehan, [Liberty ca-w] (Calif.), Sr., MF: In a match loaded with NCAA Division I talent, Sheehan’s quality was a notch above all other players. The UCLA commit assisted her team’s first goal, won balls in the midfield, played physical when needed and played with finesse at times.

Michelle Slater, Plano West (Texas), So., F: Slater is a big, strong physical presence in the attack for Plano West. She has good skills and very good speed.

Jacqueline Stacy, Plano West (Texas), Jr., D/MF: The Oklahoma commit is back on the list for a second straight day, helped Plano West shut out Hendrickson.

Bridget Stokdyk, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.), Jr., MF: Stodyk was active side-to-side, winning balls and helped Harvard-Westlake get into an attacking mode.

Karina Valeriano, Round Rock (Texas), Sr., F: Valeriano showed excellent speed and was able to run past some of Carondelet’s defenders. Valeriano has committed to Troy State(w).

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