Kacy Scarpa: Jenkins' Lockdown Artist
Sun. March 25, 2012 at 2:26 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
By SOLANGE REYNER | THE LEDGER
LAKELAND | George Jenkins wasn't tested often this season.
But when the Eagles were tested, their defense stepped up big.
And it was largely because of the effort of defensive stalwart Kacy Scarpa, a fiery, 5-foot-4 blonde who anchored the back line for the Eagles with a pitbull-style attack and a fast set of cleats.
Without Scarpa, who will play soccer at Florida State University in the fall, Jenkins might not have had as much success as it did this season.
Scarpa is the 2011-12 PolkPreps.com girls soccer player of the year.
The Eagles were ranked third in the nation by ESPN at one point this year and touted a 26-0 record heading into the state finals with 19 shutouts.
They lost the championship game 1-0 in the final minute to Ida S. Baker.
"Kacy played a big part in the whole game itself, our whole approach" Jenkins coach Marissa Kazbour said.
"She controlled everything."
Including part of the Eagles' potent attack on offense, evident in the team's Class 4A state semifinal game against Fleming Island in early February.
With less than 19 minutes left in a scoreless contest, Scarpa played a free kick to forward Ashley Lopez from midfield.
There was too much traffic around Lopez, but the ball ricocheted off her and a couple of Fleming Island defenders to Jessie Scarpa, Kacy's younger sister. Jessie booted the ball low and to the right side of the goal for the game winner.
Scarpa's defensive effort in that game also was impressive, as it had been all season, something coaches took note of each time they watched Jenkins.
"She's impossible to get around, and she's lightning quick," said Lakeland Christian coach Jason Streets, who has watched Scarpa play throughout high school.
"And her leadership and work ethic is amazing."
Teammates also harp on that notion.
"She's always the type of person who puts in the extra effort and is not slacking off, and by doing that she motivates people to do their best," senior teammate Emily Rice said.
Added Sandy Scarpa, Kacy's little sister and a freshman on the team: "She has a big leadership role, and she helped encourage me and push me harder. Sometimes I was a little bit lazy, and she helped me work through that."
It's not often that defenders get to shine in the spotlight, and Kacy, a defensive-minded athlete throughout her high school career, doesn't mind that.
But she does revel in the fact that she was an important piece of getting Jenkins to the state title game.
"I've been a defender my whole life, and I know what it feels like to go unrecognized, but it's satisfying knowing that you do make a difference on the team because in the end, if you don't stop people from scoring you don't win games," she said.
"This means a lot to me."
Girls Soccer Coach of the Year: Marissa Kazbour, George Jenkins
In her first year as head coach, Kazbour led the Eagles to the Class 4A state title game and a No. 3 national ranking during the season.
Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Kacy Scarpa, George Jenkins
Scarpa anchored the back line for the Eagles, who were ranked third in the nation by ESPN at one point this year and toited a 26-0 record heading in to the state finals with 19 shutouts. Scarpa, a senior, is headed to Florida State University in the fall on a soccer scholarship.
First Team | All-County
Tori Abnathy, Senior, George Jenkins
Sydney Rayborn, Sophomore, Lakeland Christan
Kim Maldonado, Senior, Lake Wales
Jessie Scarpa, Sophomore, George Jenkins
Lauren Green, Sophomore, George Jenkins
Bre Eldridge, Senior, Auburndale
Ana Vega, Senior, Frostproof
Christine Knudstrup, Senior, George Jenkins
Jamie Paton, Senior, Auburndale
Emily Rice, Senior, George Jenkins
Charlie Eaves, Sophomore, Lakeland
Bri Vidal, Senior, George Jenkins
Cristal Rojas, Senior, Frostproof
Lydia Caigle, Sophomore, Lakeland Christian
Second Team | All-County
Ashley Lopez, Senior, George Jenkins
Benny Valenti, Senior, Bartow
Shaleigh McGowan, Junior, Auburndale
Haley Carifi, Senior, Winter Haven
Linsi Anderson, Senior, George Jenkins
Olivia Schuh, Senior, Mulberry
Victoria Allen, Senior, Auburndale
Emily Ober, Sophomore, Winter Haven
Brittany Lajoie, Senior, Winter Haven
Katherine Lopez, Senior, George Jenkins
Josie Koretchko, Sophomore, Lakeland Christian
Bailee Mathers, Sophomore, Lakeland Christian
Molly Honecker, Senior, Tenoroc
Kacee Looney, Junior, Lake Gibson
Coco Rogers, Sophomore, Auburndale
Players of the Year
2012: Kacy Scarpa, George Jenkins
2011: Tori Abnathy, George Jenkins
2010: Kacy Scarpa, George Jenkins
2009: Kayla Bala, George Jenkins
2008: Kayla Grimsley, George Jenkins
2007: Kayla Grimsley, George Jenkins
2006: Kayla Grimsley, George Jenkins
Coaches of the Year
2012: Marissa Kazbour, George Jenkins
2011: Joe Lenard, George Jenkins
2010: Joe Lenard, George Jenkins
2009: Joe Lenard, George Jenkins
2008: Joe Lenard, George Jenkins
2007: Joe Lenard, McKeel
2006: George Wrye, Frostproof