A shutdown defender with an offensive flair has been selected the all-state Class AA girls’ soccer player of the year.
Sophia DeMura of Shenendehowa earned the honor from the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports after leading her team to an unbeaten fall season and a share of the Suburban Council tournament championship.
“She is lights out,” Shenendehowa coach Holli Nirsberger said of the University at Albany-bound senior defender. “She is the total package.”
DeMura displayed her skill with superb play at both ends of the field.
“She is a phenomenal one on one defender, and springing out from the back and moving forward, she is fast, technical, and sees the game very well,” Nirsberger said. “She is such a threat going forward because of her shooting range and power.”
DeMura was selected the Suburban Council’s top player before earning the state honor.
“I’m really happy. I was so excited when coach Nirsberger told me about it,” DeMura said. “I am proud of the player I have become, and how much I have grown.”
DeMura has always played a forward position before joining the Shenendehowa varsity as a sophomore.
“I made the varsity as a sophomore, and coach put me on defense,” DeMura explained. “I was uncomfortable at first, but coach said I could be a great defender, and you’re not going to tell your coach no. So I had to work at it and tried to be the best player I could be.”
DeMura anchored a Shenendehowa defense that logged nine shutouts this season. At the offensive end, she collected four goals and five assists. She was often called on to take Shenendehowa’s corner kicks, direct kicks and indirect kicks because of her ball-placing ability.
“We encouraged her to go forward,” Nirsberger said.
DeMura was one of four team captains for the Plainsmen, who finished 12-0-1 and shared the Suburban Council tournament title with Shaker after their final was canceled due to a COVID-19 situation.
“I tried to be positive at practice and encouraged them to keep working. I was almost like a big sister,” DeMura said.
As a junior, DeMura was named to the NYSSCOGS all-state second team.
“She has been an impact player since she walked on,” Nirsberger said.
DeMura helped Shenendehowa earn team scholar recognition for the fall season with her 92.8 classroom average.
She is joined on the all-state first team by Shaker junior midfielder Mayah Wheeler, who had nine goals and a pair of assists during the Blue Bisons’ undefeated campaign. Shaker coach Mike Brehm was selected the Class AA coach of the year.
First team honors also went to Merry Gaylord of Averill Park in Class A, Isabella Trostle of Greenville in Class B, and Alayna Fletcher of Maple Hill and Hannah Taylor of Chatham in Class C.
(New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports)
Sophia DeMura, 12, D, Shenendehowa (Player of the Year, First Team); Mayah Wheeler, 11, M, Shaker (First);
Molly DiCaprio, 12, G, Guilderland (Second); Bella Tronco, 12, M, Shaker (Second); Olivia Martuscello, 12, D, Shaker (Third); Lauren Conti, 12, D, Guilderland (Third); Georgia Greene, 11, M, Shenendehowa (Third); Lindsay Matthews, 12, M, Niskayuna (Fourth). Mike Brehm, Shaker (Coach of the Year).
Merry Gaylord, 11, M, Averill Park (First); Ella Blesi, 10, M/D, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Second).
Isabella Trostle, 12, M, Greenville (First); Hannah Esslie, 11, M, Cairo-Durham (Second).
Alayna Fletcher, 11, A, Maple Hill (First); Hannah Taylor, 12, M, Chatham (First).