Some families bake.
Some do music together or play board games. If you’re a member of the Lawry family, you play hard-nosed defense.
The Lawry clan has been a rock on the back line for the Merced High School girls soccer team for the last seven years, consistently turning in stellar play and helping the Bears become a perennial playoff team. Older sisters Alyssa and Taylor set the bar high, leading Merced to the postseason four times from 2011-2015 and each earning a Central California Conference Defensive Player of the Year nod along the way.
Baylee Lawry took up the family mantle and ran with it. Showing a propensity for timing and good angles, the senior has routinely denied scoring chances the last four years. She anchored a back line that yielded just 17 goals in 27 games, helping the Bears make their first Sac-Joaquin Section semifinal run in school history. Her reward was keeping the family tradition alive and being named the CCC Defensive Player of the Year.
“There was definitely a little pressure there with both my sisters winning the award,” Lawry said. “I figured it was my senior year; I just needed to go out and enjoy myself. Whatever happened, happened. Being a captain this year, I feel like I have really good leadership skills. I’ve never been too speedy, but I read angles well and know when I need to drop or go win the ball.
“It helped a lot having basically the same defense as last year. Our skills complement each other so well, and we have such good chemistry. I had some hopes, but I was still surprised to get it. It means a lot to get recognized.”
Lawry was one of three local players to garner a major award as Golden Valley’s Megan Pust was named the Offensive Player of the Year and Merced’s Amaya Valenzuela earned Goalkeeper of the Year. Turlock’s Temo Arteaga was named Coach of the Year.
Pust closed her high school career with a career-high 27 goals and 13 assists to lead the league with 67 points. Despite her success as a field player as a freshman, Valenzuela volunteered to play goalkeeper for the Bears this season. The sophomore allowed just four goals in 12 CCC games and had a league-best .457 goals-against average.
The Bears led the league with four first-team representatives as midfielder Jovanna Salazar and center back Elizibeth Mendoza joined Lawry and Valenzuela on the list.
Juniors Amenah Munoz and Jaylin Meza joined Pust to comprise the league’s most potent attack. El Capitan’s Chalyss Evans, Atwater’s Marisol Camargo and Buhach Colony’s Andrea Zarate round out the local first-teamers.
Carris Burgess (Merced), DeAnna Govea (Merced), Andrea Vazquez (Golden Valley), Ariana Severo (Golden Valley), Kelsey Davis (El Capitan), Nitza Rodriguez (Atwater) and Natalee Vang (Buhach Colony) were named to the second team.
The boys postseason awards were dominated by the Turlock schools. The league-champion Bulldogs had the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in Marcus DeCouto and Eduardo Zamora and Coach of the Year in Doug Sperry. Pitman’s Vladimir Montejo took home Goalkeeper of the Year.
The local teams had six first-team representatives, led by Daniel Martinez and Andy Rodriguez of Golden Valley. Atwater (Zeb Stevens), Merced (Adriyan Garcia), El Capitan (Ignacio Manzo Lopez) and Buhach Colony (Diego Del Toro) each had one player on the first team.
Cruz Melgarejo (Golden Valley), Erick Gomez (Golden Valley), Gerardo Delgadillo (Atwater), Oscar Romo (Atwater), Miguel Lua (Merced), Roberto Ceja (El Capitan) and Jose Zamudio (Buhach Colony) made the second team.
All-CCC girls soccer team
Offensive Player of the Year – Megan Pust, Golden Valley
Defensive Player of the Year – Baylee Lawry, Merced
Goalkeeper of the Year – Amaya Valenzuela, Merced
Coach of the Year – Temo Arteaga, Turlock
Jovanna Salazar (Merced), Elizabeth Mendoza (Merced), Amenah Munoz (Golden Valley), Jaylin Meza (Golden Valley), Chalyss Evans (El Capitan), Marisol Camargo (Atwater), Andrea Zarate (Buhach Colony), Daisy Martinez (Turlock), Danielle Sousa (Turlock), Ashlee Hill (Turlock), Serena Walls (Pitman).
Carris Burgess (Merced), DeAnna Govea (Merced), Andrea Vazquez (Golden Valley), Ariana Severo (Golden Valley), Kelsey Davis (El Capitan), Nitza Rodriguez (Atwater), Natalee Vang (Buhach Colony), Maureen Clark (Turlock), Kishauna Mavis (Turlock), Isabella Shallou-Enes (Pitman), Jill Leon (Pitman).
All-CCC boys soccer team
Offensive Player of the Year – Marcus DeCouto, Turlock
Defensive Player of the Year – Eduardo Zamora, Turlock
Goalkeeper of the Year – Vladimir Montejo, Pitman
Coach of the Year – Doug Sperry, Turlock
Daniel Martinez (GV), Andy Rodriguez (GV), Zeb Stevens (A), Adriyan Garcia (M), Ignacio Manzo Lopez (EC), Diego Del Toro (BC), James Filling (T), Allan Sanchez (T), Isac Contreras (P), Ricardo Casillas (P), Carlos Amaya (P).
Cruz Melgarejo (GV), Erick Gomez (GV), Gerardo Delgadillo (A), Oscar Romo (A), Miguel Lua (M), Roberto Ceja (EC), Jose Zamudio (BC), Isaiah Johnson (T), Samuel Padilla (T), Brandon Pineda (P), Israel Lopez (P).