Owls’ leading scorer selected as top soccer player

In soccer matches this fall, Seymour High School senior Andrew Bailiff had a lot riding on his shoulders.

His teammates knew if they got the ball to him, he would do what he could to try to score. His opponents knew he was the target, so they tried to defend him.

Bailiff was aware of both of those things, and he ended the season with a team-high 21 goals.

“I did my best to fill that role, and I think I did pretty well at it,” Bailiff said. “Sometimes, whenever you don’t score and you end up losing, then you kind of feel responsible for it, and it gets you down a little bit. But other than that, I enjoy it.

“I just tried to get the ball to my feet as much as possible, and that helped me get into the game. Then, I tried to bring my teammates in around me to help them get the ball.”

For the second-straight season, Bailiff was selected as one of the team captains, and he was named to the coaches association all-district team. He also has been named to the all-Hoosier Hills Conference team, and he was chosen as the Owls’ most valuable player and co-midfielder of the year.

The Tribune recognized Bailiff’s success on the field, too, and he has been selected as the 2012 Athlete of the Year for boys soccer.

“I was the more vocal leader, where Adam (Davis) led by example more,” Bailiff said of serving as one of the team captains. “It’s kind of tough sometimes. You’ve got to keep your cool with players and be able to work with them and talk to them. I think it fits me well. I like having that responsibility and sort of that standard that you have to meet.”

Owls coach Matt Dennis thought Bailiff showed captain qualities.

“As a captain, Andrew was an extension of the coaches on the field,” Dennis said. “He helped to maintain our style of play. He held players accountable in matches as well as practice. He also did a tremendous job of bringing along the younger players and molding them into team players. Many players looked up to him because he set a good example on the field and in the classroom.”

The Owls finished with an 8-6-3 record, including five shutouts — one being a 0-0 tie with state champion Columbus North — and going undefeated at home.

“I thought we competed with everyone that we played,” Bailiff said. “We tied the state champions this year, Columbus North. That just goes to show that we’re improving, and we’re going to be there in a few years. With coach Dennis there, he’s going to be building a good program.”

Bailiff said he worked a lot to improve his skills.

“Going through club season last year really helped me out, and I think it’s only going to get better from here with the competition that I’m playing,” he said. “It just comes with playing with better players or having better players around you and just being pushed by your coaches.”

Dennis noticed Bailiff’s improvements and his ability to score.

“Andrew had the ability to take on defenses at will,” Dennis said. “He could score from combination play and using his teammates to get into space. But he also was able to score by taking on defenders one-on-one. His speed allowed him to run at defenses in a way that they could not handle. His footwork gave him the ability to move in tight spaces and work his way out of trouble.”

Bailiff is beginning his second season with an Indianapolis club team, Westside United. On Nov. 17 and 18, for the second year in a row, he will play in the college showcase games in Indy. During the state banquet Nov. 18, he will find out if he has been named to an all-state team.

“I don’t think that there’s a whole lot of pressure going into (the college showcase games) other than performing well to make one of the state teams,” Bailiff said.

He said he plans on playing college soccer, but he yet has made his school choice.

“It’s still up in the air,” he said. “I’ve taken a few visits. I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go and what I want to do.”

Bailiff is joined by the following boys on The Tribune’s all-county team:

Fernando Cervantes, Seymour: Junior had six goals and nine assists; was one of the team captains; named co-midfielder of the year; earned HHC first team, all-district second team and academic all-state honors.

Adam Davis, Seymour: Senior served as one of the team captains; received the coaches award.

Chase Salmon, Seymour: Junior goalkeeper was 7-3-2 as a starter with four shutouts; named team’s most improved player.

Anthony Rork, Seymour: Sophomore had five goals and six assists; named to the HHC second team.

Justin Bottorff, Seymour: Sophomore named to the HHC second team.

Stone Riddle, Trinity Lutheran: Junior scored nine goals; named co-MVP; was a team captain.

Mark Pinnow, Trinity Lutheran: Senior named co-MVP; served as a team captain.

Matthew Pinnow, Trinity Lutheran: Senior served as a team captain and anchored the defense along with his brother, Mark.

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