(Photo: Lexie Kolano finished her career at Norwin as the school's all-time leading goal scorer with 80. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)
Norwin coach Lauren Karcher says Emily Harrigan always seems to be thinking a few steps ahead of defenders. But really, Harrigan is a step ahead of all players in the WPIAL.
Harrigan is the Post-Gazette Player of the Year for girls soccer and she leads the Post-Gazette 12-player All-Area Team. The team is picked from all players in the WPIAL.
Harrigan helped a talented Norwin team to a 21-1-1 record and the WPIAL Class 4A championship this season. Norwin was ranked among the top 10 teams in the country at one point this season.
A 5-foot-6 junior forward, Harrigan scored 32 goals and had 14 assists. A three-year starter, she scored in 18 of Norwin's 23 games this season and had two goals in the WPIAL title game.
"She's a very technical player who is blessed with a lot of speed and good foot skills," said Karcher. "She always was thinking a step or two ahead of defenders."
Harrigan will play Division I college soccer next season with Rutgers.
Here is a look at the other players on the All-Area Team:
▪ Sabrina Bryan, Canon-McMillan — Canon-McMillan won the PIAA 4A title this season and Bryan was one of the main reasons. A four-year starter, this senior forward had 31 goals and 28 assists. She had three hat tricks and her 94 career goals, second best in school history. She will play at Hofstra.
▪ Bailey Cartwright, Greensburg C.C. — Cartwright, a senior forward, finished her career with WPIAL records in goals with 230 and assists with 159. This season, she scored 64 goals and had 41 assists and played in an All-American soccer game Sunday in North Carolina. She had 14 hat tricks this season and is a Notre Dame recruit.
▪ Deena DeBaldo, Fox Chapel — DeBaldo, a senior forward, will play next season at Duquesne University. This season, she had 26 goals and 10 assists for WPIAL 4A semifinalist. A three-year starter who finished her career with 73 goals and 10 assists.
▪ Amanda Kalin, Pine-Richland — One of the best athletes in the WPIAL. A Duquesne University basketball recruit who also excelled as a senior forward in soccer. Had 21 goals and seven assists. Four-year starter. Made Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 in basketball last season.
▪ Lexie Kolano, Norwin — A senior forward, Kolano was a four-year starter who finished her career as the all-time leading goal scorer at Norwin with 80. This year, she had 23 goals and 18 assists for the WPIAL 4A champion. She will play next season at the University of Cincinnati.
▪ Landy Mertz, Upper St. Clair — Only a sophomore, this 5-5 midfielder showed enough skill and talent to make her one of the WPIAL's top players. Had 21 goals and eight assists for WPIAL playoff team.
▪ Jordyn Minda, South Park — It was Jordyn rules many times for South Park this season. A junior forward, Minda had 29 goals and eight assists for WPIAL 3A semifinalist. A starter since her freshman year, Minda had four hat tricks.
▪ Aideen O'Donoghue, Canon-McMillan — A Pitt recruit who helped team to PIAA Class 4A championship. A four-year starter who finished career with 67 goals. This season, senior midfielder had four hat tricks and finished with 27 goals and 20 assists.
▪ Delaney Snyder, Moon — Snyder scored a school-record 38 goals and helped the Tigers win both WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A championships. She had five hat tricks and this junior forward already has 82 goals and 74 assists. Verbally committed to Miami (Ohio).
▪ Emma Thomas, Moon — Scored the winning goal in PIAA 3A title game. A senior midfielder, Thomas made all-section four years. She had 21 goals and 15 assists this season. Had 64 goals and 46 assists for career. Will play next season at the University of Dayton.
▪ Dixon Veltri, Fox Chapel — A three-year starter, Veltri was a versatile player for the Foxes. As a senior midfielder this season, she had 16 goals and 21 assists. Had 38 career goals and 39 assists. Will play next season at North Carolina-Wilmington.