Elise Aylward has returned to lead the league in scoring after missing her junior season | Soccer
By ADAM MCFADDEN
Renton Reporter Staff Writer
October 24, 2012 · Updated 3:55 PM
It’s impossible to miss her. For much of this season, Lindbergh senior Elise Aylward has simply been a cut above the competition.
After missing last season due to injury, Aylward is back with a vengeance. She leads the Seamount with 26 goals, eight more than Renton’s Asia Brisco in second.
“She’s our superstar striker,” said Lindbergh coach James Valles. “She just does not stop. From the first minute to the 80th minute, it’s the same player.”
Aylward’s return is a big reason the Eagles (11-4 overall, 5-1 Seamount) are in position for a share of the Seamount title for a second straight season, despite losing the Seamount’s Player of the Year (Whitney Hilde) and two other first-team. all-league players from last season (Jordyn McLuen and Kimi Girmus).
Valles said Aylward is a combination of Hilde and McLuen in her playing style. Her “off the charts” fitness is what separates her from other talented players around the league. He added that Aylward also helps the team’s dynamic outside of games.
“She clearly stands out in games,” he said. “But she also ups our compete level at practice. She’s always on task.”
After earning all-league mentions her freshman and sophomore seasons, it was tough for Aylward to sit out last year, especially while watching players she had competed with or against for several years.
“I was really bummed out to miss it,” she said. “I heard about it every day and I missed them a lot.”
She’s made up for lost time this year. Aylward’s 26 goals include multiple goals in nine of Lindbergh’s 15 games this year. She has at least a hat trick in four games, including all four goals in a big 4-2 win against Hazen Sept. 25. Aylward also has 11 assists.
“I guess it’s a big deal,” Aylward said. “I haven’t had this many goals for a while. It’s been nice.”
Valles said he knew this team would score goals, but he was tentative about the young defense.
“We’re young and we’ve shown it sometimes,” he said.
Lindbergh’s only loss in counting league play came against Hazen, 4-0 Oct. 18. The Eagles’ biggest counting league win was a 1-0 win against Kennedy Oct. 11.
Lindsey Pfluger has 12 goals and six assists. Justine Yarington has nine goals. Alicia Wasico has five goals and 10 assists. Megan O’Hanlon has one goal and 11 assists. Audrey Cunningham has four shutouts.
Lindbergh finished one game short of state last year. This year Valles put them through the ringer in the non-league schedule to try and prepare them for the playoffs. The Eagles faced several teams they could see in the postseason, including Klahowya, Enumclaw, Olympic, Franklin Pierce, and Port Angeles.
Going into Thursday night’s regular-season finale, Lindbergh was tied with Hazen and Kennedy for the league lead. If all three teams won Thursday night, they will be co-champions.
As the Seamount’s top 2A seed, Lindbergh will play its first playoff game Nov. 3 at Highline at 10 a.m.
Contact Renton Reporter Staff Writer Adam McFadden at email@example.com or 425-255-3484.