Try this on for size: Alyssa Heintschel, first-team Division I All-Ohio goalkeeper.
Heintschel, who just completed her senior season for coach Scott Wamer, became just the second Clay girl to earn first-team all-state honors in soccer, joining striker Amanda Watson, who earned the honor in 2007 and ‘08. Heintschel also repeats as the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Goalkeeper of the Year.
All-Ohio honors are voted on by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association. Heintschel said Wamer informed her of the award a week after she was named first-team all-district.
“He said my name would be sent to all-state voting and, worst case, I would get second team,” Heintschel recalled. “He went to the (state) voting the next weekand, and on Saturday morning I got a call from him. I picked up the phone and asked him what was up. He just flat-out said, ‘Congratulations!’
“I was stunned into silence. I didn’t know what to say. I was overcome with emotion. It was so awesome just to hear after all the hard I work put in for my team and everything we’ve been able to accomplish together, that someone from our school could be recognized like that. It was awesome.”
Heintschel, a top-10 student in her senior class and a member of the National Honor Society, led the Eagles to the Three Rivers Athletic Conference title as a junior, recording 66 saves. The Ball State recruit had 97 saves this season as Clay went 9-7-1 (with eight shutouts) and finished fourth in the TRAC. Heintschel had 111 saves as a sophomore and 138 as a freshman, for a total of 412 career saves.
“Alyssa leads by example,” Wamer said. “She did all the right training before and during her four-year career to put her in this position. Alyssa is the first-four-year captain of this program. That goes to show you her leadership skills were developed at a very early age. Alyssa has a passion for her position, and I expect her to be very successful at Ball State.”
Heintschel said the Eagles had “a lot of ups and downs” in 2013, but one highlight was handing Northern Lakes League power Anthony Wayne a 1-0 loss on Aug. 26. The Generals (14-4-2) went on to reach the D-I regional finals.
“They’re a team that coach Wamer has never beaten before,” Heintschel said. “In my years at Clay, we’ve never come close. That was an amazing feeling. We lost a player (senior Haley Kubicki) to an ACL two games before that, and she was a really good player. For us to get a win for her was really special.”
She added that beating AW was one of her best memories in high school.
“I felt like I had a really good game and I contributed a lot and helped the team keep the shutout,” Heintschel said. “Other games, I knew I could have performed better and I was sort of kicking myself for not doing as well as I was capable of doing. No matter how good of a game you have, there is always room for improvement. Overall, I would say the work I put in showed, for the most part.”
Clay assistant Kelcie Hook has coached Heintschel since her freshman year, and the two became “very tight,” according to Wamer.
“I would say Alyssa has matured immensely each year,” Hook said. “She came in as a freshman and gained valuable experience in the net, which a lot of keepers don’t get as freshmen. She had great leaders on her team who helped show her how to lead a team, and the experience she gained at Clay and at Pacesetter helped her develop her confidence and leadership. Her technical ability was the best we’ve ever seen at Clay. Alyssa has earned the respect of all coaches, not just in Northwest Ohio but around the state.”
Heintschel, who plans to go into the science or medical field at Ball State, said she wants to be remembered as a leader, on and off the field.
“That was important for me,” she said. “I hold myself accountable for my work ethic. I might not be the most skilled player on the field, but I can always control the amount of effort I put forth during practices and games. I think it’s important to hold my teammates accountable as well.”