Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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February 12, 2014

Recognition continues for Oriole junior

While Avon’s Class 2A girls’ state championship soccer season ended three months ago, the accolades haven’t stopped for Cassidy Blacha.

While in class last week, the junior midfielder learned from Avon coach Eric Nance that she was named Gatorade Indiana Girls Soccer Player of the Year. It was the first time an AHS athlete had earned a Gatorade state-level award since baseball player Stoney Burke in 1989.

“It was unreal, like there’s no way this could be happening,” Blacha said. “I kind of freaked out a little bit in the middle of class.”

Blacha said the magnitude of the honor was magnified by the quality of girls’ soccer players in Indiana.

“It’s crazy, especially being only a junior, that I beat out all the competition,” Blacha said. “There are a lot of girls going to big-league colleges, and I respect them a lot. There are a lot of good players.”

With 20 goals and 10 assists, Blacha pushed the Orioles to an 18-2-3 record last fall. Her goal in the first overtime against Fishers at IUPUI delivered the program’s first-ever state title.

The players and coaches who faced Blacha perhaps know best the impact she can have on a game.

“Avon does not get to, or win, the state championship without Cassidy,” said Brownsburg coach Phil Slavens. “She makes everything go for them.”

After being named Indiana Soccer Coaches Association First Team All-State, Blacha was selected All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. That included a trip to last month’s NSCAA banquet in Philadelphia, also attended by fellow honoree and Oriole senior Noah Zorniger.

“It was a really cool experience,” Blacha said. “When I got there, I saw what a big deal it was, and there were a lot of coaches there during the convention talking about different coaching styles, things that I was able to bring back here that can help us as a team and program.”

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