OAKLAND — Alli Shaffer, who gave opponents plenty of headaches, teammates plenty of assists and the Southern Rams plenty of victories, was selected the Cumberland Times-News girls soccer Offensive Player of the Year by area head coaches.
Shaffer set a school record as a freshman with 15 goals and never looked back. After overcoming an injury as a sophomore, she scored 33 goals and assisted on nine more in her final two seasons.
Shaffer will receive the award at the Dapper Dan Awards Banquet on Sunday, Jan. 27, 4 p.m., at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club.
This year Shaffer, a senior striker and co-captain, won the Area and Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference scoring titles. In 15 games, she had 19 goals and five assists for 43 points and a 2.87 scoring average, edging out Fort Hill’s Leah Yurko by a single point for the top spot in the area.
It was also a tight scoring race in the AMAC, with Shaffer getting 10 goals and five assists in eight games for a 3.13 average, edging Yurko and Mountain Ridge’s Niven Hegeman by a single point.
Shaffer is the second Southern player to be voted Offensive Player of the Year. The first was Sabrina Scheffel in 2003.
“Alli is explosive up front and difficult for other teams to defend,’’ said Southern coach Sara Shaffer. “During her junior season she was always double-teamed, and sometimes more, as opponents attempted to prevent her from touches on the ball.”
This year was much the same, with defenders marking her game-in and game-out, but to no avail most nights as she led Southern to a 9-6 overall record, the No. 2 ranking in the final area poll, and second place in the AMAC with a 6-2 record.
“I think other teams’ defensive attempts against Alli were usually in vain because of her size, strength and speed, as well as her competitive nature,” coach Shaffer said. “If allowed to turn on the ball, she can score from a considerable distance in the upper 90s, but also is an effective finisher when in tight on the goal.”
The four-year standout is No. 2 on Southern’s all-time scoring list, behind only Scheffel, with 58 goals and 17 assists for 133 points in 54 games for a 2.46 career average.
Shaffer’s goal and assist totals likely would have been considerably higher if not for missing eight games as a sophomore because of injury. She also was moved from the front line to gain experience and bolster midfield and defender positions in many games that the Rams were in control of on the scoreboard.
Still, her 19 goals this year was the second highest total in the area, just one behind area leader Jayden Ware of Hampshire, which played seven more games than Southern. Shaffer’s 10 goals — and five assists — were AMAC highs.
Shaffer, a four-year varsity starter, was a two-time first-team All-Area and All-AMAC pick.
She has played on the Morgantown Fury Soccer Club team, and was named to all-tournament at the Annandale (Va.) Soccer Tournament, which included teams from Washington, Maryland, Virginia and Ohio.
Shaffer, who also played varsity basketball for three years, is an A-student in the classroom and will soon be inducted into the National Honor Society. She plans to play soccer in college but has yet to make a final decision from a list of several schools.
For tickets to the Dapper Dan Awards Banquet, call 301-722-5490.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org