By Nick Talbot
Harker Heights Herald
Hadley Young wasn't supposed to be Belton's main weapon.
But, after center midfielder and Texas State signee Jourdan Brown tore her anterior cruciate ligament before District 12-5A play began, Young was thrust into the role.
And when fellow sophomore forward Jamie Boone went down with an ACL tear, too, the pressure to score was even greater.
She responded with a season unlike any before at Belton.
Young not only broke the school's goal record, she shattered it. The Lady Tiger junior scored a whopping 41 goals to break Chelsea Jones' record of 33 set in 2009.
She also dished out 11 assists and when paired with Carina Dunnahoo, who scored 27 goals and had 20 assist herself, Belton was as dangerous as ever - no matter how many girls they had already lost to injury.
"She scored nearly 30 goals last year, so we knew she could score, but when we had some injuries everyone knew the offense was going to have to run through Hadley," said Belton coach Barry Elkins. "She knew she had to step up and take over their role. She put it on her shoulders and she was strong enough to carry it."
The record, the playoff goals and more importantly stepping up when her team needed her the most is why Young is this season's Daily Herald All-Area girls MVP.
Behind Young, who scored all five of Belton's playoff goals, the Lady Tigers reached the Class 5A Region II quarterfinals again, before falling to eventual state champion McKinney Boyd, 2-1.
"I think a lot of people had to step up into different roles that they were not comfortable with at first," Young said. "I just felt like it was my job to make up some of those goals when Jourdan and Jamie got hurt.
"When they got hurt there were less goals to split up, so Carina and I had to score a big chunk of them."
Boys MVP: Alonso Rivera, Killeen
Alonso Rivera just wanted to win. Once he was able to get back on the soccer field from an early-season knee injury, the Roos did win.
The senior midfielder scored 27 goals this season, using predominantly his weaker left leg, helped Killeen win nine of 10 District 34-4A games, earned the all-district offensive MVP and, now, the Daily Herald's All-Area boys MVP.
"I think this one is the most important because it's MVP of the area," Rivera said. "I think this is the year I actually worked the hardest, not just because of my injury, but I really wanted to win. I think it was a great season."
Rivera injured his right knee in a preseason game against Round Rock and returned for Killeen's district opener, scored two goals in the win and went on to score 25 goals in district, including six hat tricks.
All-Area First Team
Kristen Grant, Copperas Cove, Sr.
Alyson Sinclair, Copperas Cove, Jr.
Carina Dunnahoo, Belton, Sr.
Shelbie Letzer, Copperas Cove, Fr.
Madi Coufal, Belton, Jr.
Jade Rodriguez, Killeen, Sr.
Katie Vinchensont, Ellison, Sr.
Alex Burke, Belton, Sr.
RiccaJ Joslin, Killeen, Sr.
Natasha Garcia, Killeen, Sr.
Kelsi Darr, Belton, Sr.
Tayron Martin, Belton, Sr.
Tyler Pate, Belton, Sr.
Dominik Brame, Harker Heights, Sr.
Nathan Diederich, Ellison, Fr.
Angel Pulido, Harker Heights, Jr.
Ethan Roden, Harker Heights, So.
Quentin Drake, Belton, Sr.
Garret Patterson, Belton, Sr.
Jairo Ortega, Killeen, Sr.
Chris Sanders, Lampasas, Sr.
Nicholas Meurtka, Harker Heights, Jr.