Girls Varsity Soccer
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Large-Schools Girl Soccer Player of the Year Brianna Hatfield of Alton
Pete Hayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Billy Hurst | For The Telegraph
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Alton senior Brianna Hatfield won All-State honors in 2018 for the second consecutive season and is The Telegraph Large-Schools Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She will play this fall at Florida Gulf Coast
GODFREY – Brianna Hatfield can look back on her senior season at Alton High and contemplate a job well done.
That is, she could if she had the time.
But for Hatfield, who repeats as Telegraph Large School Girl Soccer Player of the Year, is too busy taking her next steps that include playing for the Fire and Ice Soccer Club, as well as the start of a collegiate career at Florida Golf Coast University.
“The summer was a great experience and prepared me so much for college,” said Hatfield of her summer with FISC,which plays in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. “I played with and against girls that were ages 20 to 30, and I’ve never had a bigger competitive atmosphere.
‘We went undefeated all season until we made it to regionals where we lost our second game to the Chicago Red Stars reserve team (1-0). They scored in the last 30 seconds and we were devastated.
“Later that night we were notified that we had gotten a second chance to go to nationals because another team didn’t have enough players to make it. We were all thrilled and headed to Oklahoma. We played the Seattle Sounders, but lost 1-0. I’m very proud of the team’s success.”
Hatfield scored 11 goals and added seven assists as a senior and finished her four-year AHS career with 54 goals and 21 assists. As a junior, she scored 20 goals and added three assists. She garnered Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State honors as a senior and as a junior.
As a senior at AHS this past spring, Hatfield helped lead the Redbirds to a 10-7-2 record. And while the mark may not appear to be as shiny as some, the course of the season saw Alton travel territory uncharted for many seasons, including a shot at winning the league crown heading into the last games.
“We were ready and fired up,” Hatfield said. “We had a very hard schedule this past season and I feel as if we dominated every game. Being a captain, you notice a lot of things and this year really made me realize how much fun the game really was and how lucky I was to be able to play with all my best friends before heading to Florida.
“We ended my last season with 10 wins. I was very proud of my entire team, and I wasn’t able to look at one player standing next to me and say that they never worked their butt off every year I’d been playing with them and I think that’s amazing.”
While blessed with natural talent from a young age, Hatfield said she wasn’t ready for the switch from club to high school soccer when she was a freshman.
“My freshman year coming into high school I was not prepared for the level to change and I had to readjust the way I reacted and even played in a sense,” Hatfield said. “That year was very difficult considering we won four games and lost every other one. That only made me grow as a player, motivating me to do better the next year and the next year and the next year.”
Alton posted 12 wins each of the next two seasons. While there were fewer wins last spring, the came within an eyelash of winning their first Southwestern Conference soccer championship. The Redbirds continued to make inroads that included improvements and results that would have been considered impossible a few seasons ago.
The Redbirds were 3-2-1 in the SWC and finished second, a high-water mark for them in league play. Alton was within reach of the conference in their final regular-season game at Belleville West, which ended in a 1-1 tie.
With the Alton-West tie, Belleville East claimed the SWC championship with 11 points and Alton was second with 10 points. A victory would have meant the Redbirds’ first SWC crown; the tie meant second place.
Hatfield, who reported to FGCU last week for preseason indoctrination, has played for coaches with varying styles through her career. And she said the body or work by those club and high school coaches helped shape her.
Among the coaches she had were AHS coach Jeff Hayes, current Civic Memorial girls coach Eric Zyung, Laura Ridolfi (with Scott Gallagher SC as well as Alton High), Kelsey Dingus and Shawn Hewitt (SGSC) and Fire and Ice coach Lindsey Kennedy Eversmeyer, a former Alton High All-Stater.
“All of the coaches I’ve had over the past several years have all made a huge impact in my life and soccer career,” she said. “Each and every one of them motivated me in a specific way and had different ways to me in the areas where they saw I needed improvement.”
And now comes a new challenge at NCAA Division I FGCU.
“I feel pressure coming in as a freshman,” Hatfield said. “From the fitness test, to preseason, to fighting for a spot on the team, I feel a little pressure. I hope being a freshman, I have the chance to make an impact and compete in a great conference.”