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2014-15 Register's girls soccer player of the year: Olivia Ware, Mater Dei
It was possibly Mater Dei’s most challenging two-match stretch of the season, and the Monarchs’ star striker, Olivia Ware, spent it in a walking boot instead of a pair of cleats.
Having sprained her right ankle in the first round of the Southern California Regional tournament, Ware was forced to watch from the sidelines as her teammates concluded their remarkable season in the state semifinal and championship matches.
It was a disappointing end to her season, and, as teammate Lauren Markwith noted, it seemed unfair to a player who had been such a big part of the Monarchs’ success.
But Mater Dei’s junior forward can sit back now and savor being at the forefront of an astonishing season, which included a CIF-SS championship. For all that she did this season, Ware has been selected the Register’s Orange County player of the year.
“When the lights got the brightest, Olivia really made the difference,” Monarchs coach Matty West said. “That helped us get over the hump.”
No player in the county played better than Ware when the games mattered most. In her final six matches – Mater Dei’s five CIF-SS playoff matches and one regional contest – she scored five goals and dished out four assists. She had a hand in a scoring play in every postseason match she suited up for, leading Mater Dei to its first CIF title since 2007.
Ware finished with 17 goals and 15 assists, both top-five totals in the county. Those numbers also earned her CIF player of the year honors and the Trinity League MVP award.
“I think with a lot of people on my team, their energy feeds off into me,” Ware said. “I just felt we all had to put forth 110-percent to get where we needed to get, and that was the championship.”
After her dazzling showing in five Southern Section playoff games resulted with a CIF title, Ware looked poised to carry Mater Dei to a regional crown as well, but the ankle injury kept her out of the squad’s final two matches.
“I think we wanted to do it for Olivia,” West said of the team’s bid to win a regional title. “She had given so much to the team, the team wanted to give something back to her.”
A 3-1 loss to La Costa Canyon in the regional final was Mater Dei’s lone setback in its final 14 outings, but it has already served as motivation for Ware.
“Let’s do it all again next year,” she said.
Scary to think she has another year left in a Mater Dei uniform.
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