Soccer

Montgomery Academy star named state’s best girls soccer player by Gatorade

Montgomery Academy won three straight AHSAA soccer titles and four in the last five seasons.

Tara Katz played a big role in all of those championship runs.

Katz, a 5-foot-2 senior and Tennessee signee, has been named the 2019 Gatorade Alabama Girls Soccer Player of the Year after scoring 66 goals and adding 28 assists this season for the Eagles (23-2-1).

“Tara’s impact on the field was big,” Westminster-Oak Mountain coach Jay Hammond said in a news release about the award. “There isn’t a team that can effectively defend her and her activity in a game.”

Katz emerged as a standout and effective goal-scorer as an eighth-grader and finished her high school career with 225 goals, which ranks second in AHSAA history according to the governing body’s online record book.

In the 2-1 victory over Southside-Gadsden to win the Class 4A-5A state title last month, she assisted on both goals and was named the state tourney MVP for the third time. Katz also played basketball and ran cross country and won an individual state cross country title in 2016.

The Gatorade award honors a player who blends academic excellence, academic achievement and community involvement. She maintained an A average in the classroom, served on the school’s honor council and volunteered with MA’s H.E.A.R.T. Community Service Club, according to the news release about the award.

Other recent state girls soccer Gatorade players of the year:

2018: Jasmine Greene, Spain Park

2017: Eva Knapstein, McGill-Toolen

2016: Julia Pack, Oak Mountain

2015: Leigh Haynes, Mountain Brook

2014: Claudia Day, Briarwood Christian



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