If you walked through Belchertown last summer early in the morning, chances are you’ve seen a lonely figure on the soccer field, exercising and shooting balls deep into an empty net. . If you know anything about Belchertown soccer, it’s not hard to guess who it was – senior Avery Klingensmith.

Klingensmith needed that dedication and determination this particular season; a fall that looks more like a roller coaster than a typical football season. Klingensmith, along with his senior colleagues, led a mix of newcomers and ghosts to Western Mass’s debut title. of the Orioles since 2012, and the first in Klingensmith’s career. Belchertown kept his foot on the gas and sailed to the MIAA Final Four, where the Orioles fell to eventual Division 3 champion Norwell.

Throughout this success, however, Klingensmith struggled with a sprained ankle that took her off the pitch and ultimately moved her to a more attacking role rather than playing a midfield like her. usually does.

It was a momentous season to close the book on the footballing career at Klingensmith High School. She is the 2021 Daily Hampshire Gazette Women’s Football Player of the Year.

“It was really great, especially not having really won the other years,” said Klingensmith in his last season. “The seniors as a group, we’ve always been very close and we’ve had a lot of success with soccer at the youth level. So that was really cool… (winning) Western Mass., And (we) played really well in the state tournament and got pretty far.

Klingensmith started playing soccer very early, at the age of five, and quickly fell in love with the sport – and discovered that she was pretty good at it, too.

“As I got older it was something I wanted to pursue and play as many games and in the best teams as possible,” said Klingensmith.

In her sophomore year, she joined her first club’s squad and continued to play at this level as she got older.

“She’s playing at a higher level on a club team all year round,” said Belchertown coach Kyle Thibeault. “But the most important thing that I’ve seen over the years is her dedication and the time she spends in the football season for high school, her overall football career and homework and everything – she is very dedicated and committed, you know, she’s 100 percent committed all the time.

Klingensmith will continue to play at that high level beyond high school as well – in November, she signed her national letter of intent to play Division I football at American University. A naturally competitive person by nature, she wants to play with the best competition and has said she looks forward to playing in the Patriot League with the Eagles.

Last season with Belchertown, Klingensmith and the current senior squad led the Orioles to one of their most successful regular seasons in history. The team hasn’t given up on a single competition all year. With 17 wins and five draws, Belchertown dethroned the three-time defending champion from Western Mass. South Hadley in the Section Finals, winning the coveted title en route to a No.5 seed in the Division 3 playoffs. Klingensmith was one of the main reasons the Orioles won that Western title. Mass. – she drew three defenders towards her in the final before sending a perfect pass to rookie Mia Corish, who buried the game winner in overtime.

“We played on a different level with Avery on the court, just because she draws defenders to her. You know, she’s a player who can do anything, ”said Thibeault. “But you know, she puts the team first in certain situations.”

But behind the scenes, Klingensmith was struggling – with about a month to go, she sprained her ankle, an injury that threatened to end her season on a sour note. His coaches and coaching staff paid special attention – after sitting down for a while, Klingensmith returned to the pitch, sometimes in a more limited role, and his coaches got creative when s ‘was to make sure she could still be a game-changer while playing under 100 percent.

“I know it was probably frustrating for her, but she made the most of the opportunities that were given to her in the game,” said Thibeault. “We pivoted him from midfield to the front in order to use him and not put so much pressure on him.”

It was different for traditionally midfielder Klingensmith to be given a new role. But playing in a final year class, with which she had already competed at the youth level from the second year, made the transition much smoother for her.

“It was really different playing at the center-forward at times, because I had mostly played in midfield a lot of my life,” she said. “But having the same people around me… certain people that I played with for years, that wasn’t too difficult.”

And even when she wasn’t at her best, Klingensmith was still one of the most dangerous players on the pitch, as evidenced by her playoff performance. It was the senior captain who scored the Orioles’ two goals in the State quarterfinal, the second in overtime, to propel Belchertown to the Final Four. While she might have played fewer minutes, she made every second she was on the pitch count.

“We have this level where she can play and make an impact on any program that she fits into. It’s his dedication and his state of mind, ”said Thibeault. “She does everything 100% and leaves everything out. It’s a special group and it’s a group that (a) obviously takes our program to the next level.

Women’s soccer starsFIRST TEAM

Dana Châteauneuf, senior, Granby

Sofia Ciaglo, sophomore, Northampton

Madison Clark, senior, professional Smith

Mia Corish, freshman, Belchertown

Chloe Denhart, junior, Northampton

Ella Forest, junior, Hampshire

Tia Fyden, senior, Hopkins Academy

Lily Gleason, senior, Amherst

Ana Growhoski, sophomore, Easthampton

Alexa The Flame, elder, Belchertown

Madysen LePage, sophomore, Belchertown

Kayla Lukasiewicz, senior, Hampshire

Elyse Manzi, senior, South Hadley

Lauren Marjanski, sophomore, South Hadley

Name Aïda, junior, Belchertown

Gianna Roy, sophomore, South Hadley

Emma Sanford, junior South Hadley

Riley Shaughnessy, junior, Hampshire

Gabrielle Walz, junior, Granby

SECOND TEAM

Maria Belfakih, senior, Easthampton

Maddie Bell, senior, Smith Academy

Fallon Clancy, freshman, Belchertown

Ashley Cunningham, junior, Belchertown

Madelyn Fagan, eighth grade, Smith Academy

Siomara Green, junior, Border

Kaiah Gregory, senior, Northampton

Madeline Hockman, freshman, Amherst

Ella Laliberté, junior, Granby

Maggie Lauder, freshman, Smith Vocational

Kacie Levrault, junior, South Hadley

Kaitlyn Mackin, senior, Frontier

Abigail McClaflin, junior, Easthampton

Caitlin Padeck, senior, Easthampton

Parker Pallante, junior, Hampshire

Larissa Riley, senior, Hampshire

Kayia Thomas Rivera, senior, Holyoke

Brie Salomao, senior, Hampshire

Makayla Santos, senior, Frontier

Briana Sosa, senior, Granby

Penelope Villada, senior, Hampshire

HONORABLE MENTION

Drew Alley, sophomore, South Hadley

Jordyn Balint, freshman, South Hadley

Alexi Bonenfant, second year catwalk

Maisie Bowler, sophomore, Hampshire

Maëva Doherty, second year, PVCICS

Emma Downer, senior, Easthampton

Anna Dyjach, second year, Hopkins Academy

Marlee Higgins, senior, Hopkins Academy

Hill of Siena, senior, Granby

Kayla Klekotka, junior, Granby

Abigail Madru, second year catwalk

Makena Rogalski, sophomore, Hampshire

Maddie Soderbaum, freshman, South Hadley

Maya Tellier, freshman, Belchertown

Molly Zumbruski, junior, Granby