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May 22, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's soccer incoming freshmen Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.) and Megan Schafer (Langhorne, Pa.) have been named the Gatorade Girls Soccer Players of the Year in their home states of Nebraska and Pennsylvania, the Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Elliston as Nebraska's best high school girls soccer player and Schafer as Pennsylvania's. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Elliston and Schafer join an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O'Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
Elliston is now a two-time recipient of the award as she also earned the title last spring. The 5-foot-2 defender and midfielder led Marian High School to an 18-1 record and a 12th-straight Class A state title in 2014. She scored seven goals and notched eight assists in 17 games, missing the state quarterfinals and semifinals to participate in the U.S. U-18 Women's National Team training camp. A club Youth All-American honoree by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Elliston is ranked as the nation's No. 8 recruit in the class of 2014 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Elliston has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. A member of Marian High's campus ministry, she has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and has participated in multiple community-service initiatives through her church youth group.
Schafer earns the award for the first time in her career after leading Neshaminy High School to a perfect record of 25-0 and the Pennsylvania Class AAA state title in 2014. She is the first Gatorade Pennsylvania Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Neshaminy High School.
The 5-foot-7 forward scored 33 goals and registered 18 assists, including the overtime game-winner against Spring-Ford in the state title game. A three-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Schafer is a four-time first team All-State honoree. She concluded her prep soccer career with 102 goals and 77 assists.
Schafer maintained a weighted 4.32 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, she has volunteered locally with Athletes Helping Athletes, which strives to include special needs children in sporting events. She's also donated her time to Aid For Friends, delivering food to homebound individuals.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit gatorade.com/poy.