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Senior Crusader forward wins Metro League Player of the Year for three-time champs

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Jesuit senior Callan Harrington won Metro League Player of the Year and the Crusaders had two other first teamers.

The polling for the Metro League girls' soccer all-conference list always makes for compelling and often hotly debated fodder.

There are is a plentiful number of elite players every fall. The sheer quantity of high major Division One commits from year to year ranges into the double digits. A year ago, Mountainside junior Nedya Sawan won the Metro Player of the Year Award and the Gatorade Player of the Year while Katie Duong won the Oregon Sports Award for top prep girls' soccer and the Class 6A player of the year. Callan Harrington was very much in the discussion for each accolade.

Some say there's an anti-Jesuit vibe to the voting. Others say the Crusaders don't get their full due.

In the Oregon high school girls' soccer circles, the All-Metro list tends to produce the most conversations state-wide. Metro is the best league in the state top-to-bottom, the one hogs all the postseason hardware, the conference that produces the most playoff teams and eventually yields the squads that last longest in the postseason.

Who deserves these special all-league spots often sparks spirited argument between the conference's coaches and this year was no different.

Harrington won Metro Player of the Year after setting a new state record with 55 goals in a single season on top of grabbing the record for most goals in a career (138). If you weren't lucky enough to see Harrington in person, pull up her YouTube highlights. Endowed with staggering speed and world-class finishing ability, Harrington was also the hardest-working player on the field, a supremely motivated forward whom opponents feared, and teammates adored. She played every possession on the pitch like it was her last, destroying teams long into the second half with runs that were next level and then some. Her passing game evolved. Her unselfishness improved. Harrington was no one-trick pony, though her scoring penchant is rare.

Harrington and the Crusaders won their third straight 6A state title, beating Mountainside 3-0. Harrington was joined on the All-Metro first team by fellow senior midfielder Jaiden McClellan and junior defender Macy Barhyte. Each athlete had a huge role in helping the Crusaders capture another crown. McClellan started early in her Jesuit career was the team's quiet composer, able to push the ball or fall back and help anchor the Crusader defense.

Sawan very well could have won her second MPOY award after helping carry the Mavericks to the title bout in just their second year of varsity existence. The Mountainside senior forward starred all year, racking up wild scoring numbers up top, but she was at her best in the postseason. In the quarterfinals and semis combined, Sawan scored all three of Mountainside's goals. She got off seven shots against Jesuit in the title match, this after peppering the Crusader frame in the teams' first matchup. Sawan was revered. When the ball made it her way, one could expect a flock of defenders and midfielders racing her way. She was marked constantly, swarmed always, yet still found ways to score.

Mountainside earned the most first-team All-Metro honorees: Sawan, senior goalie Sidney O'Billovich, junior defender Izzi Carrington, who is an Oregon State commit, and junior forward Stella Bauman.

O'Billovich earned the respect of fellow coaches with her fearless style and performance in the big matches. Be it stoning Sunset, limiting Jesuit twice, shutting out West Linn in the quarters and South Eugene in the semis, O'Billovich was an advanced keeper with cold-blooded killer instincts.

Sunset had the third most first-team All-Metro picks with senior forward Stephanie Niebergall and freshman Mia Coste. Niebergall was a three-time first-team All-Metro honoree. Moving forward into 2020 the talented, pass savvy Coste will be counted on to help the Apollos erase the pain of losing in the 6A first round for the first time in a decade.

Aloha senior forward Kaitlyn Ross, Westview junior forward Carly Carraher and Beaverton senior forward Sydney Frank were also first-team All-Metro.

Aloha juniors Sarah Blackmore and Isabella Hall, Beaverton junior forward Ella Baker, Jesuit junior midfielder Maddie Koleno, Crusader senior goalie Mary Votava, Southridge senior defenders Madeline Thomason, Sunset junior defender Cali Carmichael, senior defender Kelsey Wenckus, Westview senior defender Kiara Adams, Wildcat junior midfielder Jocelyn Nakoa and sophomore Tess Werts were each second-team All-Metro.

Beaverton senior goalie Natalie Allen, Mountainside sophomore midfielder Emma Rogers, Southridge junior midfielder Abigail Burns, Southridge sophomore goalie Julia Pinnell and Sunset junior defender Betsy Brown were all honorable-mention All-Metro.

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Mountainside senior forward Nedya Sawan and three other Mavericks were named first-team All-Metro.

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