Just call her Miss Dependable.
Senior Emma Wonn, a key link in Ashland’s soccer defense, answered the call without fail for the 16th Region champs this season.
“Emma played every minute of every game, and never missed a practice,” Ashland coach E.B. Lowman said. “A couple of times, she came (to practice) on crutches after banging up her ankle but still found a way to participate. Then she played the next game.”
One of the smallest players in the LadyCats’ lineup, Wonn relied on her quickness, experience and toughness to help lead a defense that allowed only 40 goals in 27 matches despite a rotating situation at goalkeeper.
Asked about her durability through it all, Wonn smiled.
“It took a lot of tape and strength,” she said. “A lot of people on our team had to play through injuries because we didn’t have a lot to put out there.”
There’s more soccer ahead for Wonn, a second team All-Region selection. She signed Wednesday to attend University of Pikeville.
Gary Warford, the head coach at UPike, attended the after-school gathering in the Ashland Blazer cafeteria.
“Emma comes from a very good program here and we’re excited about having her at Pikeville,” Warford said. “She’s got the ability and everything else it takes to compete in the Mid-South Conference. I saw that with her high school team, in club soccer, and at a summer camp.”
Wonn met Warford at the University of Kentucky camp.
“We just kept in touch,” she said. “I took a visit later, then he made me an offer. It’s exciting. I’m thankful for the opportunity to play soccer there and get a college education.”
Wonn, who plans to study psychology, has a family tie to the school. Her grandmother, Clare Day, graduated from the former Pikeville College.
Warford said he looks to build UPike’s soccer program with players like Wonn. Lowman said she will be missed at Ashland.
“It’s special whenever one of your players goes on to play at the college level,” he said. “Emma started her career with a lot of good backs in front of her. Last year she started the majority of the games and developed into a good player. She may be little, but she’s tough.”
Wonn played on three district and three region championship teams at Ashland. This season, the LadyCats finished 16-7-4 and defeated East Carter 2-1 in the region final.
“A lot of people didn’t think we would get that far,” Wonn said. “We grew as a team and pulled out another district and region championship.”
Jenna Cook, Emily Bond and Caroline Fannin joined her on Ashland’s defense.
“We worked really well as a unit,” said Wonn, who also contributed two goals and made a couple of penalty kicks in shootouts.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2671.