Going into the summer, Maddie Roark planned on making the most of her only year of varsity soccer at Seymour High School.
Whether or not she was the one putting the ball in the back of the net, she wanted to make the team better.
Roark met her expectations and contributed more than she had imagined.
The Seymour senior — who missed the entirety of the 2016 season after transferring from Trinity Lutheran — reminded opposing programs why she was an all-district second team member in 2015 as a sophomore.
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In her final year of high school soccer, the forward tallied 23 goals and nine assists through 18 games.
Roark netted hat tricks against Madison and Jeffersonville and scored at least one goal in 15 contests.
In Class 3A girls soccer, Roark finished 12th for goals and 13th in total points (goals and assists combined) in the state.
The Owls finished 12-5-1 this fall, the best season under coach Greg Musser in six years at the helm.
For all of her efforts this season, The Tribune has named Roark the 2017 Jackson County Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Last winter, Musser saw that Roark would fit right in with the team during workouts.
However, it wasn’t her skills that stood out right out of the gate.
“One of the biggest things I noticed about Maddie was that as soon as basketball was over, the first thing she did was introduce herself to the younger girls,” Musser said. “I thought one of the best things she did was that, from incoming freshmen to JV and varsity. She knew some of the seniors from club soccer but got to know the other players, as well. She put a premium on being a good teammate.”
Coming into the season, Roark wasn’t sure how she would fit in with the team on the field.
“I honestly came into the season knowing it was going to be a lot tougher to contribute,” Roark said. “Without the help of my teammates, I wouldn’t have been able to score all those goals. It was a little rough at the beginning of the season, but as the season went on, I got used to playing more with my teammates.”
Any questions faded in the first game of the season, as Roark scored two goals to help the Owls beat Providence 2-1.
As the season wore on, other schools started planning for Roark and the Owls.
That didn’t slow Roark down, as she would lead the Hoosier Hills Conference in both assists and goals.
“Most of the schools knew of Maddie,” Musser said. “Without her playing last year, I think that maybe some people forget. By midseason, I had coaches telling me they had scouted us this year. We’ve never had that before. That tells us a lot about the team we had on the field. Maddie was a big part of that. She’s a dangerous player, and you need to know where she’s at on the field or you will pay for it.”
Roark scored at least one goal in each of the final eight games of the season.
Roark, listed at 5-foot-7, used her speed and power — along with some intangibles — to find the back of the net time in and out.
“She has a natural ability to finish,” Musser said. “It’s a skill you can’t really teach. You have it or you don’t. With her ability to finish, she was able to slow the game down in her head and find corners without rushing goal-scoring opportunities. She had that innate ability, and when you have that, you’re going to get some goals.”
Musser said he knew Roark was capable of being a leader on the team.
“I knew she was capable of a season like she had,” he said. “It’s a testament to her and I think our style of play. You could tell she was a little nervous of playing a high-caliber schedule. I knew the caliber of player she was and had every bit of confidence she would contribute for us. The fact she was able to seamlessly integrate into the team made it easier for her. She got other people involved, and you saw the results on the field.”
Roark said she’s entertaining the idea of playing at the next level and has college visits planned.
On Nov. 18, Roark will participate in the All-State Showcase. The following day, the all-state team will be named.
Whether or not she goes on to play in college, Roark’s final season with the Owls proved one to remember.
“I absolutely loved it,” Roark said. “It was a huge change, but we all supported each other and made each other better.”
Joining Roark on the 2018 All-County girls soccer team:
Elizabeth Lenart, Seymour, midfield/defense
Other: First team All-HHC, second team all-district, first team academic all-state
Aidan Hiester, Seymour, sophomore, goalkeeper/midfield
Goal saves: 133
Goals against average: 1.17 (1.14 HHC)
Other: Second team All-HHC, tied school record for shutouts in a season
Bailey Lykins, Seymour, sophomore, forward/midfield
Other: Second team All-HHC, SHS top team player award
Addison Chandler, Seymour, freshman, midfield
Alyssa Perry, Seymour, freshman, midfield
Mallory Moore, Seymour, freshman, defense
Other: Helped Owls tie team record of seven shutouts
Carmin Smith, Seymour, junior, defense
Other: SHS coaches award, first team academic all-state, helped Owls tie team record of seven shutouts
Savanna Setty, Trinity Lutheran, senior, forward/midfield
Sidney Hoene, Trinity Lutheran, senior, forward
Maddie Bell, Trinity Lutheran, junior, midfield
Flossie Cooper, Trinity Lutheran, freshman, midfield
Vidalis Montanez, Trinity Lutheran, junior, goalkeeper
Goal saves: 129
2017 Jackson County Girls Soccer Player of the Year
Maddie Roark, Seymour, Senior, Forward
Other: First team all-district, first team All-Hoosier Hills Conference, led the HHC in goals and assists, will play in All-State Showcase games