Written by Corbett Smith
All-Area Soccer: Highland Park senior Gittins did whatever was needed to bring state title home
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Megan Gittins, Highland Park
Yr.: Sr.; Pos.: F
Notable: 29 goals and 18 assists
When the first goal came against the defending state champs, Highland Park midfielder Megan Gittins knew something special was afoot.
Having to face previously unbeaten Frisco Wakeland in the third round seemed a cruel draw for Highland Park — a team so close to making a long playoff run in Gittins’ varsity career.
“We’ve put together a good team every year,” Gittins said. “But the last four years, we just didn’t finish it out.”
But this team was different, Gittins said. The seven seniors, including Gittins, had a special bond, and they meshed well with the younger players for great team chemistry.
“The talent’s always been there,” Gittins said. “It was that extra element.”
In the end, Wakeland — like nearly every other opponent in the playoffs — didn’t have an answer for the Lady Scots. Highland Park beat Wakeland, 4-0, with two goals off assists from Gittins.
To make the state final, Highland Park (28-1-2) outscored its opponents, 27-3, in seven games.
And in the final, when the game went to a shootout, Gittins was one of the four Highland Park shooters to convert.
Highland Park coach Stewart Brown said that Gittins was the “glue that made everything stick together.”
She could be a prolific scorer — her team-high in goals as a sophomore in 2010 is testament to that — but she would also do the little things necessary for her team’s success.
Gittins finished with 29 goals and 18 assists, helping Highland Park win its fifth state title and its first since 2002.
“It was such a great feeling,” Gittins said. “That was a goal from Day One of middle school.”
About Gittins: She was the team’s second-leading scorer (behind nationally ranked junior Katie Martin) and was tied with Martin for the team high in assists. Gittins is the first Highland Park girl to be named Player of the Year since Ashley Lucas in 2005.
Did you know? Gittins is in the top 10 percent of her class at Highland Park. She will play collegiately next season at Princeton.
2007: Rachel Shipley, Plano West
2008: Kelsey Blincow, Hebron
2009: Alina Garciamendez, Ursuline
2010: Kelley Monogue, McKinney Boyd
2011: Meghan Streight, McKinney Boyd
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