• 61°

Honeycutt, Henry share soccer Player of the Year honors

All-County girls soccer

JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST
The 2018 All-Rowan County girls soccer team, front row (L-R): Rhiannon Kimmer (South), Lauren Weisensel (East), Madison Henry (South, co-Player of the Year), Julia Honeycutt (Salisbury, co-Player of the Year), Sarah Musselwhite (Carson), Piper Muire (Salisbury). Middle row (L-R): Stacey Ketchie (West), Lillie Rusher (Salisbury), Caroline Cardelle (Salisbury), Freya Obermueller (Salisbury), Elle Kennedy (Salisbury). Back row (L-R): Raquel Landaverde (South), Taylor Mauldin (South), Gracie Thomason (Carson), Lani Isley (Carson), Hannah Smith (Carson).

JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST
The 2018 All-Rowan County girls soccer team, front row (L-R): Rhiannon Kimmer (South), Lauren Weisensel (East), Madison Henry (South, co-Player of the Year), Julia Honeycutt (Salisbury, co-Player of the Year), Sarah Musselwhite (Carson), Piper Muire (Salisbury).
Middle row (L-R): Stacey Ketchie (West), Lillie Rusher (Salisbury), Caroline Cardelle (Salisbury), Freya Obermueller (Salisbury), Elle Kennedy (Salisbury).
Back row (L-R): Raquel Landaverde (South), Taylor Mauldin (South), Gracie Thomason (Carson), Lani Isley (Carson), Hannah Smith (Carson).
May 31, 2018

By David Shaw

sports@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A scoring ace and a jack of all trades. That’s how the winning hand dropped in this year’s Rowan County girls soccer Player of the Year sweepstakes.

South Rowan sophomore Madison Henry staked her claim by scoring a county-record 61 goals for a team that won a school-record 17 matches. Salisbury senior Julia Honeycutt shared the honor by furnishing 30 goals and 16 assists — despite missing three games with a late-season illness — for a 25-1 squad that reached the 2A state semifinals.

“When I think about it, what an honor it is to share this with Julia, someone who’s won this the past two years,” said Henry, the sneaky-quick striker without a mute button. “I don’t think people underestimated me, but a lot of it had to do with the team behind me. They were all very good at supporting me.”

Honeycutt, who sat out three games while battling a case of mono, was more surprised to win her third POY award.

“I really didn’t know if I’d get this again,” the UNC Charlotte-bound midfielder said. “Obviously, I was competing with Madison, but also with girls on my own team. None of this would have happened without them.”

Henry first caught former coach Kyle Neal’s attention during the 2017 season, when she netted 30 goals a freshman. “When Madison started out, she changed the trajectory of South Rowan soccer,” he said. “She was this fast kid who could finish plays. She made us a dangerous team.”

South — just 5-15-3 two seasons ago — went 17-7 overall and 14-4 in the Central Carolina Conference, good enough for third place. Henry’s contribution extended beyond the margins. She’s already the county’s most prolific career goal-scorer and an all-state performer.

“She’s someone you could always count on,” said senior teammate Raquel Landaverde, an all-county halfback. “She’s definitely not a stingy player. If she can’t do something with the ball, she’ll give it back to you.”

And while Henry scored only once against both Salisbury and West Davidson — the conference champion and runner-up —  she views it as an opportunity to improve.

“Those games were harder,” she explained. “They were really good teams and I didn’t score as many goals as I could have. But against everyone else, I took advantage of my opportunities and fired shots at the net.”

Henry spent the spring treating the field as her canvas, making even the most difficult shots with utmost creativity.

“She threw herself straight into the game,” said Neal, now an associate head coach at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem. “Her best trait is her willingness to work hard a full 80 minutes. Watch her. She never stops.”

•••

Only a debilitating ailment could taint Honeycutt’s formidable season. She insists she’s back to full strength and eager to report to Charlotte on July 28, when she’ll launch a Division I collegiate career as a left outside back.

“I feel so much better,” she said with a warm smile. “It was mostly fatigue. When I was in there, I was still able to do mostly everything I normally do.”

Honeycutt was sidelined for Salisbury’s 2-1 victory at South Rowan in the CCC regular-season finale, missed a first-round playoff match with Patton and never appeared in a weather-delayed, third-round win against C.D. Owen. Originally explained as being “under the weather” by coach Matt Parrish, much of the truth can now be revealed.

“Julia wasn’t allowed to head the ball all year long,” Parrish said. “We couldn’t come out and say that because it would be in the scouting report. Despite that and all the medical issues, she was still doing more than anybody with only 50 percent of her body to work with.”

Honeycutt’s defining moment may have come last March 26. In a 4-1 victory over South, she notched three goals and an assist in a headline-grabbing showdown with Henry.

“South had beaten us the year before and Madison was the up-and-comer in the county and the league,” Parrish said. “For Julia, it was personal. It was important that we showed well and she showed well against Madison Henry.”

After Salisbury’s season ended with a fifth-round loss in the state playoffs, teammate Freya Obermueller tossed Honeycutt a verbal bouquet.

“How important was she?” questioned the German exchange student who returns to Hamburg on June 16. “She was the motivation, the one who’d give a little pep talk, who made us such a strong team. Even when she couldn’t play, she was still there.”

The stats Honeycutt leaves behind elucidate as much. She finished with 87 career goals, 58 assists and recognition as a two-time all-state player. Salisbury compiled a 77-10-5 record during her four varsity seasons.

“I’m sad because this past year was so much fun,” Honeycutt said. “A lot of times I found myself looking around, taking it all in. And even though we lost our last game, it was the perfect end to a perfect season.”

Comments

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Locals look back on 50 years at Gary’s Barbecue in China Grove

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs