Pitman High girls soccer goalkeeper Mya Sanchez earned MVP honors in the Central California Athletic League, so it’s no surprise that her talent has also garnered her this year’s title as the Turlock Journal Player of the Year.
“It is an honor and I feel blessed to be named Turlock Journal Player of the Year,” said Sanchez. “I am very happy with how our season went. Our seniors finished as CCAL champions and our season ended with our heads held high. We were a hardworking, united group that had a lot of fun along the way.”
Sanchez made history becoming the first goalkeeper to win MVP honors in the CCAL and also Player of the Year for the Journal.
“Going into the season I was focused on our team success instead of any individual awards. However, I was told that this was the first time a GK has been named MVP of their league, which is a special honor,” said Sanchez.
“Mya is a phenomenal keeper. I've never seen someone her age with the ability and skill that she has. She was the backbone of our team. She's a great teammate and the girls appreciated her knowledge and guidance on the field,” said Pitman head coach Annabel Perez. “She is a great leader and role model to many of the girls. She works extremely hard on and off season to be the best that she can be. She is dedicated to the sport and I know she has a tremendous future ahead of her.
“Her stats were above and beyond for a goalkeeper in the area,” continued Perez.
Sanchez had 12 clean sheets after playing in 25 games and tallied a whopping 160 saves.
She allowed just 15 goals for the year, averaging just 0.600 per game.
Sanchez also scored four goals, two as penalty kicks and one from the field. She also tallied two assists from the GK position.
“I think it's something special. I am very grateful to have a player like Mya on the team. She sincerely deserves this award. She is an outstanding player,” Perez said.
She allowed just two goals in a game after logging in 1,870 minutes.
“I would like to thank my parents and family for always supporting me and helping me throughout everything,” said Sanchez. “Also supporting me and our team was our amazing athletic director Coach Walls, who attended most of our games and was our number one fan. This team had amazing chemistry with each other and this season was a special one both on and off the field and we couldn’t have done it without everyone.”
Perez was there through it all and her leadership earned her the honor of being named this year’s Coach of the Year.
“Coach Annabel and Coach Beto did a great job this year, I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. I truly feel that she deserves Coach of the Year. She gave us structure, but also encouraged freedoms on the field. This allowed us to play with creativity and to our full potential,” Sanchez said about Perez.
In 25 games played, the Pride went 18-6-1 overall while they also won their first ever Central California Athletic League title with a 9-1 record and earned a berth in the Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
As the No. 5 seed, Pitman won their first-round game over Bear Creek, 2-0, before falling to No. 4 Granite Bay in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round, essentially being eliminated from competition.
“It's truly an honor. I feel humbled and blessed. I have to thank my dad Beto (assistant coach) and Denise (JV coach) for helping me take the girls to another level,” said Perez about the honor. “We all share different ideas and work together to do what's best for our team. All of us, including the girls, have worked so hard this season from start to finish. The hard work paid off and we were able to win the CCAL title.”
The league title this year was the first for the Pride since the spring of 2016 when they went 10-1-4.
“This group of girls is truly one of a kind. They consistently worked so hard to not only better themselves but better the team as a whole,” said Perez. “One of the goals they would set for themselves was to work for one another and not be selfish. I truly admire them for this because not all players work to make their teammates better, but these girls knew that in order to be successful on the pitch they had to do so. I feel this came natural to them for they are a kind hearted group of girls. Early on the girls set the goal of capturing the CCAL title. They knew it wouldn't be easy and every game would be a battle, but they remained optimistic and determined. Their hard work and dedication paid off and the girls were able to carry on their success into the postseason.”
Over the past three years, Pitman girls soccer has amassed a league record of 23-5-4.
Perez has also seen her team win no less than 15 games during that span.
Last year, Pitman went 15-5-2 and 15-4-4 the year prior.
ALL-JOURNAL GIRLS SOCCER
Player of the Year: Mya Sanchez (Pitman) - Also CCAL MVP
Coach of the Year: Annabel Perez (Pitman) - Also CCAL Coach of the Year
All-Area/All-Journal Girls Soccer Team
Genavieve Fontes, Hilmar
Jenna Dean, Turlock
Alisha Garcia, Pitman
Landyn Mills, Pitman
Lilly Leonard, Pitman
Kylee Redman, Turlock
Kayli Wilson, Turlock
Alexis Ahumada, Hughson
Genesis Maciel, Turlock
Emily Vieira, Hilmar
Mary Becerra, Hughson
Melissa Araiza, Hughson
Ainsley Wood, Hilmar
Ashlyn Azevedo, Hilmar
Lilliana Johnson, Hilmar
Camila Stephens, Pitman
Lola Strangfeld, Pitman
Stephanie Zamora, Turlock
Emily Alvarez, Pitman
Macy Max, Turlock
Maria Gonzales, Turlock
Judith King, Hilmar
Logann Meyer, Hughson
Kylie Snead, Hughson
Iliana Lozano, Hughson
Teresa Zambrano, Hilmar
Sydney Takhar, Hilmar
Alondra Magana, Hilmar
Lexie Avalos, Hilmar
Alexis Bagnani, Pitman
Anika Olive, Turlock