Beacon-News Player of the Year: Kristen Dodson

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It has been over a week since Waubonsie Valley senior Kristen Dodson finished her high school soccer career.

But Dodson, the Beacon-News’ Player of the Year, keeps scoring accolades.

The Auburn University recruit added National Soccer Coaches Association All-America and All-Midwest honors as well as being named the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Player of the Year.

“(Beacon-News) Player of the Year and any of the other awards are a reflection on my teammates and what I’m hoping to do more of at Auburn,” Dodson said. “I really try to play for my team through effort and a lot of hard work.

“It’s an honor to get any type of recognition. But I also believe the season we just had speaks volumes.”

Waubonsie Valley (23-2-3) rebounded from a 2-1 season-opening road loss to put together a 25-game unbeaten string, including winning 18 straight, before a 1-0 loss to New Trier in the Class 3A state semifinals.

As part of the latter streak, the Warriors defeated New Trier 2-1 to capture the 16-school Naperville Invitational.

Dodson and her teammates overcame that heart-breaking state semifinal loss to post a resounding 5-1 victory over Lincoln-Way North to claim third place in 3A.

“I’m also very proud of how our team bounced back from such a tough loss,” Dodson said. “And the way we did it really shows just how close we were to being the state champions.”

Dodson’s 24 goals, with being marked as winners, ranked her No. 1 in the Beacon-News’ coverage area for those categories. She also finished second in points (56), tying for in assists (nine).

She becomes the fifth player in coach Julie Bergstrom’s tenure to receive NSCAA All-America status and the sixth in Waubonsie Valley program history.

“What makes Kristen so special is her ability to take on any player 1-v-1,” Bergstrom said. “Her ball control and speed, combined with her field vision, make her a threat to score or to set up any teammate. So many times, she simply would not allow us to lose.

“Over the years it’s been fun to watch her grow into a leader in every sense of the word.”

In addition to a third Upstate Eight Valley all-conference award, Dodson earned Beacon News All-Area and IHSSCA all-sectional notice as a junior after making the Honorable Mention units for both of those elite groups during her sophomore season. She was IHSSCA all-sectional as a freshman.

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