When Trinity Lutheran sophomore Maddie Roark stepped on the soccer pitch, opposing teams took notice of No. 5.
With a relentless pursuit for the back of the net, Roark proved one of the most fearsome goal-scorers in the sate in 2015.
If you attended a Cougars girls soccer game, there was an 81 percent chance you saw Roark score a goal.
After missing the first game due to injury, Roark netted 36 goals through 15 games — with eight hat-tricks.
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On top of her scoring, Roark added seven assists on the season for the first-year soccer program.
In the state, Roark finished third in goals and sixth overall in points.
Nationwide, the Cougars’ center midfielder was 24th in goal tallies and 34th in points.
“You can definitely build a team around her: if you were to start with something, she’d be a player to have,” Cougars coach Jeff Nolting said. “She is definitely a great soccer player.”
With all her accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Roark the 2015 girls soccer player of the year.
Trinity added a girls’ soccer program to their list of athletic opportunities for the fall of 2015.
Previously, athletes wanting to play soccer had to play on a coed team that primarily faced boys’ teams throughout the season.
Roark played on the boys’ team her freshman year before playing with the girls this season.
“It was very different, I had to get used to it,” Roark said of playing on a new team. “The game wasn’t as aggressive as playing with boys. I had played on boys teams before, so I was kind of used to it. When I transferred to the girls team, I was OK with it. We had a lot of work to do, but I knew we’d be fine.
“Coming from the boys team, I think it made me quicker and stronger with my ball-handling skills.
Following a 10-0 loss to Providence in the season opener, without Roark, the Cougars won five-straight games.
In that stretch Roark scored 19 goals while adding five assists, with five hat-tricks.
Against Greenwood Christian Academy, she tallied a season-high five goals and two assists.
Nolting said that he relied on Roark to play a bulk of the minutes.
“There were a couple times when she played a lot of minutes,” he said. “Every minute she was on the field was quality. I very rarely took her out of the games. There were a few times, where she would be one-on-one, I would tell her she needed to take over. Usually she could find the ball and do it. There were definitely times in games where the girls knew to get the ball to her.”
In the Cougars’ set, which included an attacker up top, Roark commanded the midfield.
“We wanted to give (Roark) opportunities to handle the ball more,” Nolting said. “With our set, we had a single striker: with Maddie Bell up top and three midfielders. We had two defensive-minded mids, and Maddie (Roark) who was an attacking mid. She controlled the ball in the middle and attacked from that point. Sometimes I also needed her on the defense marking their best player.”
Roark, who primary played in an offense-only role in 2014, heeded the new role on the field.
“I think my quickness has a huge role in scoring goals,” Roark said. “Coach had me playing center midfielders, so I got to play the ball through the middle.”
Following a victory against Brown County on Sept. 10, the Cougars dropped three-straight games.
The Cougars finished the season 2-1 heading into sectional play, with an overall record of 7-7.
Against Southwestern, in the Lawrenceburg Class A sectional quarterfinals, Roark played possessed.
From the opening touch, Roark took the ball from the center of the midfield line and tallied a goal in 21 seconds of play.
She went on to notch three more scores in the 6-1 victory.
In the semifinals, against South Ripley, the Cougars fell 4-1 with the lone goal from Roark.
Even though Roark was mostly recognized by goal scoring, Nolting said that she tried to incorporate her teammates as much as possible in possessions.
“You can demonstrate and lead by example, and she certainly did that,” Nolting said. “She wasn’t selfish with the ball. She tried to incorporate her teammates into the game. I think that speaks a lot of Maddie and her asset on the team.”
While she hasn’t played travel ball in the past, Roark said she hopes to play on a team in the spring.
“I loved the season,” Roark said. “I don’t think most people thought we would get that far. We went into sectionals and got to the second round, which I think is amazing. We played our hearts out and it showed.”
Marie Lenart, Seymour, Junior
Accomplishments: 17 goals, six assists, All-District 1st team, All-Hoosier Hills Conference, Academic All-State
Maria Cerda, Seymour, Senior
Accomplishments: 11 goals, four assists
Louisa Carter, Seymour, Senior
Accomplishments: Top Team Player award, Most Valuable Player, Academic All-State
Kayla Griffin, Seymour, Junior
Accomplishments: All Hoosier-Hills Conference Honorable Mention, Academic All-Statetwo goals, five assists
Rachel Collett, Seymour, Junior
Accomplishments: 180 goals saves (7th in Class 2A), Academic All-State
Andrea Ferrer, Seymour, Junior
Accomplishments:five goals, two assists
Grace Hartman, Seymour, Junior
Accomplishments: six assists, Academic All-State
Elizabeth Davis, Seymour, Senior
Accomplishments: four assists, played every position but keeper for the Owls
Maddie Bell, Trinity Lutheran, Freshman
Accomplishments: eight goals, two assists
Lucy Cooper, Trinity Lutheran, Sophomore
Accomplishments: one goal, four assists
Sabrina Vierling, Trinity Lutheran, Senior
Accomplishments: anchored Cougars defense, helped lead Cougars to 8-8 in first season
2015 Honorable Mention
Elizabeth Lenart, Seymour
Carmin Smith, Seymour, Freshman
Emilee Lang, Trinity Lutheran, Freshman
Kirstin Hoene, Trinity Lutheran, Junior
Lexi Keller, Trinity Lutheran, junior
2015 Jackson County Girls Soccer Player of the Year
Maddie Roark//Trinity Lutheran//Sophomore
Games played: 15
Honors: All-District 5 2nd team, MaxPreps.com Player of the Week (9/7-9/13)