Photo: Southside High’s Camryn Davis and Glencoe’s Laney Bishop (pictured second and third from left) gather for a photo with Southside girls soccer coach Tiffany Cargill (left) and Glencoe girls soccer coach Craig Smith (right) following the AHSAA North/South All-Star girls soccer match last Wednesday (July 21) in Montgomery.
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Four local rising high school seniors showcased their soccer skills at the state level last Wednesday (July 21) in Montgomery.
At the AHSAA North/South All-Star matches at Auburn-Montgomery, Southside’s Camryn Davis and Glencoe’s Laney Bishop participated in the North girls’ 6-1 victory, while Southside’s John Doster and Westbrook Christian’s Nathan Starzl played in the North boys’ 3-0 win.
Davis finished with 18 goals and 22 assists this past season to help the Lady Panthers to a 15-2 record, an area championship and a berth in the Class 6A Final Four. She scored two goals and distributed seven assists as Southside outscored the opposition 14 to 4 in the first three rounds of the state playoffs. She was selected to Class 6A All-State second team following the season and was named the Player of the Year for the 2021 All-Greater Gadsden Area girls soccer team.
“It was so exciting to play with some of the top players in the state and see what I could do with my ability,” said Davis, who verbally committed to Jacksonville State University in December. “It was also great to represent Southside and put [the school] out there.
“It was also nice to meet other people that you’ve competed against. (South player) Kate Green (of Prattville) is on my (Vestavia Hills) club, so it was kind of weird to play against her.”
Bishop’s 30 goals 11 assists helped Glencoe post a 18-2 record this past season. The Lady Yellow Jackets were ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 for most of the regular season in Class 3A.
“I had a lot of fun,” said Bishop, who will play with the Birmingham United Soccer Association this fall. “I was great to play with such an amazing team at Glencoe this season and then get to represent my school with a great group of players from all around the state. I played club ball with a lot of the North players, so I got to see a bunch of old teammates and friends that I haven’t seen in years. It was an unreal experience.”
Davis and Bishop, who have played together in club ball growing up until Bishop transferred to Glencoe prior to last season, enjoyed their reunion as teammates.
“We’ve always played so well together, and I missed her,” said Davis.
“I’ve played with Cam my whole life, so getting to play with her one more time was so much fun,” said Bishop.
Doster led Southside with 22 goals and 11 assists as the 2021 Panthers won the area title and made it to the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs. He was selected to the Greater Gadsden Area boys high school soccer first team.
“I thought we played really well together as a team,” said Doster, who will play club ball with Fusion/Alabama FC out of Oxford this fall. “We started off fast and I guess that kind caught (the South team) off guard. The field was really nice, and it was a great opportunity to be out there play with so many great players. It was great to see (South player) Gideon Garcia (from Faith Academy), who used to play at Southside.”
Starzl finished with 25 goals and 19 assists to help Westbrook post an 11-4 record and earn a berth in the Class 2A state playoffs. He was named Player of the Year for the 2021 Greater Gadsden Area boys high school soccer team.
“We possessed the ball more and I think [the South] had maybe three shots on the goal the whole game, so we were obviously the better team,” said Starzl. “We fed Doster and [Hoover’s] Kosi Udeh the ball, and they did a good job of keeping possession and creating opportunities. There were some really good players out there. Our coaches (Gadsden City’s Samantha Corker and Randolph’s Alex Tomlinson) did a really good job, too. The whole day was a fun experience. I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Starzl earned a spot on the MSL Next youth academy team based in Birmingham. He will also play with the Birmingham Legion of the United Soccer League.
“I really love playing club ball, especially in Birmingham,” he said. “It’s a 10-month season, so I’ll be pretty busy driving back and forth from Gadsden playing for those two teams. But I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
In the girls’ game, Decatur’s Bonnie Frost scored four times and Homewood’s Lilly Lowery and Susan Moore’s Claire Perkins added goals for the North, while Oak Mountain’s Hayley Wells and Pelham’s Taylor Pilcher had an assist apiece.
Leah Robinson from St. Paul’s Episcopal scored the South’s only goal with 12:23 to go on an assist from Montgomery Academy’s Virginia Meacham.
The North dominated the action and possession from the opening whistle and fired 23 shots to just four for the South.
Auburn’s Aubrey Sarkowski started at goalkeeper for the South and kept it close with several first-half saves. Frost scored on a penalty kick for the game’s only goal of the first half.
The North’s offense looked even stronger in the second half, and Lowery – a defender – got into the scoring as the back line pushed forward as the South struggled to find any rhythm ahead of Daphne goalkeeper Coryn Litteken.
North goalkeepers Savannah Sato and Maddox Dolly had two saves apiece. Sarkowski had eight saves, while Litteken had four.
In the boys’ match, Udeh scored on a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead early in the first half. Tanner’s Manuel Felipe Gonzalez and Westminster-Oak Mountain’s Webster Jackson added goals in the final 10 minutes of the second half. Mars Hill Bible’s Noah Barrier assisted on Gonzalez’s goal for the North.
South goalkeeper Kevin Ori, from St. Luke’s Episcopal, suffered an injury early in the second half and was taken off the field on a golf cart. He did not return.
North goalkeepers Luke Keown of Homewood and Hudson Hanner of Gardendale combined for the shutout. South goalkeeper Will Beringer of Montgomery Academy finished with three saves.
Davidson’s Baronyi Kengeye was named the South MVP. One of his shots bounced off the crossbar early in the second half for the South’s best scoring opportunity.
The victory improves the North’s record to 13-4-1 in the all-time all-star series. The North girls’ win upped their lead in the annual All-Star series to 16-3-1.
This article was supplemented by ahsaa.com.