November 25, 2014 - 11:06 pm
Shadow Ridge goalkeeper Jenna Gallagher broke her finger midway through the season in practice while scrimmaging the boy’s junior varsity team.
That wasn’t going to stop the junior from returning a week later to help the Mustangs earn the Southwest League’s No. 2 seed in the Sunset Region playoffs. For her efforts, she was named the Southwest League Goalkeeper of the Year by coaches.
“We all know broken fingers don’t clear in a week,” Mustangs coach Kalah Williams said. “The doctor checked it out (twice) and once it was good to go, she was ready to play. You can’t argue with Jenna when she is ready to play. This year was phenomenal for her.”
Despite missing two games in mid-October with the injury, Gallagher led Southern Nevada with 11 shutouts. Shadow Ridge gave up just 18 total goals on the season, including four with Gallagher out.
The doctors originally said the injury would sideline the standout for the rest of the season. But that all changed after a second checkup and an overwhelming desire to get back on the field. In her return on Oct. 21, a heavily-wrapped Gallagher posted a 1-0 shutout over the league’s eventual No. 1 seed, Palo Verde.
She continued to impress Williams, a former college goalkeeper, as the year went on. In the playoffs, Gallagher recorded a shutout in the opening round, and surrendered just two goals to three-time state champion Arbor View in the semifinals.
“Her and I get to train together,” Williams said. “She’s really improved tremendously and her height has helped her master hitting the ball over the crossbar. Her confidence was 500 times greater this year than it was last year. Jenna made a tremendous save in the first round of the playoffs on a penalty kick (to advance us). She’s ultimately why we made the playoffs.”
Gallagher, also a cheerleader at the school, impressed everyone this season by her ability to take over for a four-year letter winner at goalkeeper.
“Jenna absolutely did not miss a beat,” Williams said. “She left off right where Dallas Gunny left us. She’s a leader on and off the field. She did two activities throughout the season without any hiccups or complaints. She really stepped up and ran it like she’s been doing it for awhile.”
In Division I, Legacy’s Nadia Hernandez (Southwest), Arbor View’s Haley Vicente (Northwest), Coronado’s Michaela Morris (Southeast) and Las Vegas’ Ashlee Jordan (Northeast) took league Player of the Year honors.
Palo Verde’s Frank Messina (Southwest), Arbor View’s Jay Howard (Northwest), Green Valley’s Catherine Davis (Southeast) and Silverado’s Jenna Carter (Northeast) each won Coach of the Year.
In Division I-A, Faith Lutheran’s Emily Neighbors was voted Southern Region Player of the Year, and Virgin Valley’s Bob Snell won Coach of the Year.
Neighbors also won Player of the Year in the Sunset League, and teammate Beka Lescenski was Goalkeeper of the Year.
In the Sunrise League, Tech’s Abrana Wielgosiak was selected Player of the Year, and Virgin Valley’s Spencer Green was Goalkeeper of the Year.