follow us on... Girls’ Co-Player of the Year: Garnet Valley junior midfielder Barnes led surprising Jaguars to state title

Thursday, 28th July 2011

Categories Features, Girl's/Women's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 7/28/11

Garnet Valley junior midfielder Halley Barnes has been named the Girls’ Co-Player of the Year for 2011.

Halley Barnes (center, holding trophy) is the Co-Player of the Year

Barnes led the Jaguars to a surprising run to their first Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) championship. They finished 24-3 and claimed a share of their first Central League title and finished among the top 20 teams in three major polls – LaxPower, ESPN RISE and MaxPreps.

Barnes, who has verbally committed to Rutgers University, shares the Player of the Year honor with Episcopal Academy senior midfielder Taylor Trimble.

In 2011, Barnes collected impressive totals of 118 goals, 40 assists, 83 draw controls and 70 groundballs. She was a First Team Central League pick, but did not receive US Lacrosse All-American status. Had the voters done their work after the post season, it’s unlikely she would have been left off any First Team ballot.

During the playoffs, Barnes was especially dominant, scoring 37 goals in eight games. She tallied 22 goals and had 21 draw controls in the four state playoff games, and was unstoppable as the Jaguars avenged a 22-12 defeat to Downingtown East in the District 1 finals by defeating the Cougars in the PIAA title game, 17-14, at HersheyPark Stadium.

Barnes was the anchor of a Garnet Valley team that surprised nearly everyone in only its fourth year as a member of the powerful Central League. The Jags had never made it as far as the District 1 quarterfinals and started only one senior this year.

“I attribute that success to us playing together for so long,” Barnes said. “We trusted each other and we saw that to beat the quick teams like Conestoga and Springfield-Delco we had to pass the ball around them. We saw that passing does work so we used a lot of transition and learned to move the ball quickly.”

The Jaguars had a 17-game win streak snapped when they were blitzed by Downingtown East, 22-12, in the District 1 finals. After that, the team regrouped and dominated the field in the PIAA tourney, dispatching of Central League quad-champion Harriton (18-10), District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll (15-10) and Penn Manor (16-6).

In the title game at Hershey, the Jags went out to a large early lead and never allowed the Cougars to get close.

“We looked at ourselves as underdogs and we were constantly pushing ourselves,” Barnes said.

“After we lost the first time to Downingtown East, it took a few days to regroup. When we got to the final game, the coaches told us, ‘Enjoy this moment, but don’t be satisfied.”

Barnes is a self-motivated person. She made a commitment after her sophomore year to reach her potential and worked diligently with Garnet Valley coach Kate Henwood.

“I am never satisfied,” Barnes said. “I never expected to do this well, but at the same time next year I expect to do better.

“I felt I had a bad year (in 2010) and I talked to coach. I worked with her 1-on-1 every day after school. We talked all the time about what I needed to improve on. For instance, I used to hang my stick and get checked a lot from behind. I also needed help on my footwork.”

Said Henwood: “Halley is a tremendous leader, and we designed the offense for her to be the point person. She runs plays like a coach on the field. She was like a general commanding her troops.”

As the season progressed, Garnet Valley’s passing and transition game became more and more dangerous. Barnes also became more and more dangerous.

“She really thrived with that format this year,” said Henwood. “For most of the year she was extremely unselfish and tried to set everything up. She continued to play unselfishly in the playoffs, but when the job needed to get done, and somebody needed to make a play she put the team on her back and kind of exploded.” Girls’ Players of the Year
2011 – Taylor Trimble, Episcopal Academy, senior midfielder
2011 – Halley Barnes, Garnet Valley, junior midfielder
2010 – Kelyn Freedman, Radnor, senior midfielder
2009 – Emily Garrity, Strath Haven, senior midfielder
2008 – Kelly Barnes, senior midfielder & Beth Ellis, senior midfielder (Radnor)



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