It would have been easy for Kayla Rance to get frustrated and pack it in during a senior soccer season that saw several of her Greenwood teammates miss time due to injury.
At times, Rance found herself on an island, heavily marked by opposing defenses with few experienced teammates around her to shoulder the burden.
She didn’t let any of that throw a cloud over her final high school season.
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“Since it was my last year, I was trying to enjoy it a lot more,” Rance said. “Especially with all the injuries, it was easy to get down on myself or the team and how things were going, but just focusing on keeping everyone’s spirits up and on all the things we have accomplished.”
For the second consecutive season, Rance can add being named the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year to her list of accomplishments.
Despite playing with a target on her back, the fleet-footed forward finished the season with an area-best 33 goals, giving her a total of 122 for her career.
“I had to be a lot more creative with how I attacked,” Rance said of dealing with additional defensive attention.
Though the Woodmen were unable to create any magic as a team, falling in their sectional-opener, Rance is happy with what she and her classmates accomplished during their four years. Greenwood, which won just three games the season before Rance’s arrival, was 37-24-4 during her four years.
Now, she’ll join up with a team that’s already pretty good without her. Walsh University, a Division II program in North Canton, Ohio, just wrapped up a 15-4 campaign and returns its entire starting lineup.
Rance had an opportunity to play at the Division I level, receiving an offer from the University of Evansville, but with plans to study nursing she wanted to have more time to devote to academics.
“It wasn’t easy, because something I’ve always said is, ‘I’m going to grow up and I’m going to go play Division I soccer,’” Rance said, “but there just came a point where I had to really think about it and weigh my options, and it just didn’t seem like where I was meant to end up.”
The 2017 All-Johnson County team for girls soccer:
Piper Belden, Center Grove junior: Speedy forward tied for team scoring lead with 10 goals and six assists. … Also an All-County performer in softball.
Tetyana Clements, Center Grove senior: Helped lead a Trojans defense that posted nine shutouts on the season. … Earned all-conference honors.
Emilie Hill, Franklin junior: An All-Mid-State Conference selection. … Scored 11 goals and finished with six assists while playing all over the field for the Grizzly Cubs.
Madison Hill, Whiteland junior: Multi-talented midfielder finished with 20 goals and 12 assists for the Warriors, earning All-Mid-State Conference honors.
Emma Jones, Center Grove senior: A second-team All-District selection and one of the linchpins of a stingy defense for the Trojans.
Maddie Moan, Greenwood senior: Veteran netminder who posted five shutouts for the Woodmen despite missing a handful of matches due to injury.
Megan Perry, Center Grove junior: A first-team All-District and All-MIC pick who tied Belden for the team lead with 10 goals and six assists.
Madisyn Proctor, Whiteland junior: Explosive all-conference forward led the Warriors with 28 goals and also totaled seven assists.
Kayla Rance, Greenwood senior: Carried a heavy load for injury-depleted Woodmen, scoring 33 of the team’s 50 goals. … An all-conference pick who will play at Walsh University in Ohio next fall.
Sarah Sullivan, Franklin senior: Tenacious veteran anchored the defense for a very young Grizzly Cubs team. … An All-Mid-State Conference selection.
Emily Williams, Whiteland junior: Team MVP for an improved Warriors team that won 12 matches. … Scored six goals and dished out 10 assists from her spot in the midfield.
Molly Williams, Center Grove senior: An all-conference performer who helped lead a Trojan defense that yielded just 17 goals in 18 matches.
Maddie Alexander, Franklin; Ashley Allen, Greenwood; Isabelle Andersen, Center Grove; Hanna Anderson, Greenwood; Grace Apgar, Greenwood Christian; Madi Bartak, Whiteland; Olivia Brawley, Greenwood; Brianna Conley, Greenwood; Braxton Gentry, Center Grove; Jenny Gonzalez, Whiteland; Alaina LaPorte, Whiteland; Gracyn Montfort, Center Grove; Cameron Northern, Greenwood Christian; Athena Passafiume, Center Grove; Ella Thompson, Center Grove; Paige Waskom, Center Grove