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The Day's All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year: East Lyme's Meredith Healy

A lethal scorer and playmaker, Meredith Healy's biggest dilemma when bearing down on the goal isn't what corner to fire a shot into. It's sometimes whether to shoot at all.

She'd rather get her East Lyme High School teammates involved.

"She's definitely unselfish," coach Rachel Redding said. "She has battled that because she wants everybody to be successful on the team. We've had conversations about that, knowing when to be unselfish and when not to be."

Healy's team-first attitude is just part of what makes her special. She was named The Day's 2021 All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year.

A starter since her freshman year at East Lyme, Healy earned her third all-state honor and first All-New England selection after helping lead the Vikings to another successful season that included Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I regular-season and tournament championships and a state tournament berth.

She finished her senior season with 24 goals and 16 assists, the latter total an example of her unselfishness. For her career, she had 59 goals and 40 assists.

"It's definitely a balance you have to have," Healy said. "You can dribble through everyone and score but it's alway nice to have someone else do it and score and be happy because you don't want it to be all about yourself."

As one of three team captains, she tried to set a good example, "bringing happy, positive energy."

"She is a leader by example," Redding said. "She's not going to ask somebody to do something that she's not willing to do. Her work ethic is unbelievable and her drive. She has a great drive for soccer. She doesn't want to disappoint anybody.

"In our last state game, she wanted to win and we didn't (win). I think she held a lot of that on herself. I was like, 'We're a team. We win as a team and lose as a team.' She held that close to her heart."

Often heavily marked, Healy took her share of hard knocks and still managed to be a major factor.

After being carried off the field following a hard collison in the ECC tournament semifinals, Healy returned about 10 minutes later to score three goals in a 4-0 win over Bacon Academy.

"She's not big but she's mighty, that's for sure," Redding said. "She got knocked around a ton. ... I'm sure she was frustrated. She just kept working and working. She tried to not let the other team know."

Healy said she learned to be tough during her years of playing sports.

"I definitely tried to stay up and push back and be as strong as I could," Healy said. "Growing up, I've always been one of the smallest kids on the team, so it's just something I learned to do."

It's not surprising that Healy named a team accomplishment — East Lyme's first ECC tournament championship in five years — as the highlight of her season.

She scored two goals in a 3-1 win over Waterford in the final and was named Most Outstanding Player.

"Not really knowing what was going to happen coming off our COVID year, I thought we had an amazing year," Healy said. "We had a very young and good team. Winning the ECCs, that was probably the biggest thing because we haven't done that since I've been there. It was just a great accomplishment to have in my senior year."

There's really no off-season for Healy, who comes from a family of athletes. She has three sisters — Caroline plays lacrosse at Saint Anselm, Kristen is on the sailing team at Fordham and Meredith's twin, Sarah, who was on the field hockey team in the fall, also plays golf.

Healy plays indoor soccer with her club team, Southeast.

Soccer has always been Healy's sport since the first day she laced up her cleats.

"I've always had a passion for soccer my whole life," Healy said. "Starting at a young age, I loved it right away. You're just always active and always moving. It's such a fun, friendly team game that I love to play."

In the spring, she's a member of the lacrosse team.

Next fall, she will attend Springfield College, where she'll play soccer and study elementary education. She hopes to be a teacher and a coach someday.

Redding will miss Healy as a player and a person.

"She's a great kid," Redding said. "She is very well-rounded, very grounded. A hard worker. She gives herself goals and works hard to achieve those goals inside and outside of school."

g.keefe@theday.com

The Day's 2021 All-Area Girls' Soccer Team

Player of the Year - Meredith Healy (East Lyme)

Forward - Abby Belleville (East Lyme), Alexis Fenton (Old Lyme), Skylar Gustavsen (Bacon Academy), Angelica Tompkins (St. Bernard)

Midfield - Margaret Dunne (East Lyme), Jess English (Ledyard), Aimee Girard (Waterford), Nicole Li (Waterford)

Defense - Ella Mazzulli (East Lyme), Lyla Powers (Old Lyme)

Goalie - Mckenzie Gregory (Waterford)

Utility - Magda Carpenter (Lyman Memorial), Carleigh O'Keefe (Stonington)

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