Stature no obstacle for these MVPs

Roseville’s Looper, GB’s Kendall share SFL top honor
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Different styles brought great results for a pair of players who shared this year’s most valuable player award in voting by the girls soccer coaches of the Sierra Foothill League. Granite Bay’s Sarah Kendall get you with a consistent power, while Roseville’s Megan Looper beats you with explosive bursts of energy. Kendall has a unique ability to control the flow of the game from her position as an attacking outside midfielder, while defenses quickly learned that there is a still price to be paid for losing contact with Looper. “We call her the energizer bunny,” Granite Bay coach Chris Roberts said in discussing Kendall. “She can practice for two hours with her club team and show up for a game 30 minutes before the start and dominate.” Roberts is most impressed with Kendall’s ability to create for her teammates. “For an outside mid, she controls the field,” Roberts said. “Her speed is only part of her talent. The most impressive quality she has is her ability to find the open player in front of the net as she's flying full speed down the sideline.” Both players refuse to let the smallness of their stature stop them from making an impact. “The one thing that is also unique about Megan is that she has an amazing balance,” said Roseville coach Pablo Gutierrez in discussing Looper. “She gets hit but stays up on her feet. She is not big, but she has the strength to take any defender.” Looper’s greatest asset is her incredible speed, and her ability to stop and start quickly. “She has amazing speed,” Gutierrez said. “She has the uniqueness of being able to face the opponent and within seconds accelerate to totally penetrate into the offensive portion of the field.” Four other Grizzlies and three additional Tigers join their MVP teammates on the all-SFL first team. Granite Bay sweeper Christina Keady dominated because of her patience as the final defender. The senior was not only the anchor of the Grizzlies defense, but also scored six goals when moving into the attack. Midfielders Anne Taylor, a senior, and Tasha Hartford, a sophomore, teamed with Kendall to allow Granite Bay to control the flow in nearly every game it played. The final Grizzly player on the first team is forward Alexis Knudtson. “Alexis is a baller,” Roberts said. “Others see her speed and assume that this is what makes her the player she is. Alexis is so much more than that. The intangibles she brings to the field are incredible and her movement off the ball is impeccable.” Roseville sweeper Elli Tremblay plays the game much like Keady. The senior was one of Roseville’s greatest weapons on set plays and balls in the air. Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Roland was often in the middle of the action, and had a particular knack for finding Looper in scoring position. One of the keys to Roseville’s run to the section title game came with the decision to move sophomore Amanda Ellsworth from her preferred position up top to an outside defender spot. “Amanda has an amazing endurance,” Gutierrez said. “She played the entire game and had more energy to play an extra game. Her greatest contribution was to be willing to change position from forward to fullback on benefit of the team.” As in the case of Ellsworth, a position change led to a first team all-league season for Oakmont sweeper Shelby Phillips. The senior team captain is joined on the squad by sophomore midfielder Kayla Powers. Senior midfielder Alexa Blatnick and freshman forward Marissa Griffin represent Woodcreek on the all-league first unit. All-SFL girls soccer team: Co-MVPs: Sarah Kendall, Sr., midfielder, Granite Bay Megan Looper, Sr., forward, Roseville First team: Christina Keady, Sr., defender, Granite Bay Alexis Knudtson, Sr., forward, Granite Bay Anne Taylor, Sr., midfielder, Granite Bay Tasha Hartford, So., midfielder, Granite Bay Elli Tremblay, Sr., defender, Roseville Kelsey Roland, So., midfielder, Roseville Amanda Ellsworth, So., defender, Roseville Shelby Phillips, Sr., defender, Oakmont Kayla Powers, So., midfielder, Oakmont Marissa Griffin, Fr., forward, Woodcreek Alexa Blatnick, Sr., midfielder, Woodcreek Morgan Throckmorton, Sr., midfielder, Rocklin Savannah Coiner, So., midfielder, Rocklin Megan Hanson, So., defender, Rocklin Shelby Cargile, Sr., defender, Del Oro Emma Freeman, So., forward, Del Oro Casey McCavitt, So., midfielder, Del Oro Anne Dunne, Jr., midfielder, Nevada Union Roseville/Granite Bay area honorable mention: Kelsey DeCarlo, Fr., defender, Roseville Shea Peters, Sr., defender, Roseville Adrianne Bates, So., midfielder, Roseville Bianca Guzman, Sr., midfielder, Roseville Paige Sattelberg, Jr., goalkeeper, Oakmont Chelsea Wheeler, Sr., defender, Oakmont Taylor O'Meara, So., midfielder, Oakmont Kayla Boardingham, Sr., defender, Oakmont Jenafer Tague, So., forward, Oakmont Christy Cooper, Fr., midfielder, Granite Bay Lynsi Anderson, Sr., defender, Granite Bay Keslie Cooper, Jr., goalkeeper, Granite Bay Chelsea Putman, So., defender, Granite Bay