The only defender who could stop Bailey Fisher was injury.
The Hurricane High School sophomore scored a state single-season record 66 goals to lead the Redskins back to the Class AAA state tournament this year before being sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
For her effort, Fisher has been named the West Virginia Sports Writers Association Class AAA girls high school soccer player of the year.
Captain of the all-state team, Fisher tore a knee ligament in Hurricane’s 2-0 victory over Parkersburg South in the Region IV championship game. She scored both goals in that game and earlier broke the unofficial record of 59 set by Laura Hill of PikeView in 2012.
Redskins coach Shelly Young said Fisher is a tremendous player who can score on anyone.
“She scores against the best defenses in the state,” Young said of Fisher, who scored five goals in the state tournament as a freshman to help Hurricane to the title. “She’s such a good player, and on offense, she’s a real powerhouse.”
Fisher helped the Redskins to the state tournament semifinals, where they lost 2-1 to Morgantown. Having their star on the field might have led to another championship, but Young said she prefers to think of how her other players stepped up in Fisher’s absence and finished 19-3-1.
Young also noted that rather than sulk, Fisher encouraged her teammates from the sideline.
“She was vocal from the bench and that says something about her,” Young said. “Not having her forced others to step up and that was good for them.”
Young said Fisher’s on-field example in games and practice rubbed off on other players.
“She works hard,” Young said. “She has talent but works really hard to improve and that’s why she is the player she is today.”
Fisher edged Cabell Midland senior Emilie Charles for the award. Charles has won it the last two seasons and was selected as one of just six finalists for the national Wendy’s High School Heisman after finishing with a state record 174 goals in her career. Fisher has 107 in two seasons.
Fisher’s absence was a blow to the Redskins physically and mentally. Young said she saw a difference in her players when the speedy, strong-legged sophomore failed to get up, clutching her knee after the injury.
“It deflated us,” Young said. “We were worried about her and we suspected it was a serious injury.”
Fisher honed her talent on a national stage as part of an elite travel ball team from Ohio. She carried what she learned there over to her high school seasons and has drawn interest from coaches throughout the country.
Once her knee heals, Fisher expects to regain her speed and athleticism that makes her one of the premier girls soccer players in the history of the state.