Bailey Crofts has much to owe to her friend, former teammate and mentor, Allie Brocke.
The two played as center midfielders a few years ago when Brocke was a senior and Crofts a sophomore, Brocke showing Crofts the ropes of the position: when to move up to help the forwards, when to fall back to support the defenders and how to be a leader.
“I thought she was really good. I thought, “I want to be just like her,’” Crofts said. “I would watch her, learn from her. After she graduated, I took that on and did it for everyone else.”
Crofts stepped up this season, her final at Middleton, helping a team that lost a major player when striker Terrika Nelson graduated in May. Among the highlights of her senior campaign were scoring the winning goals in the 4A state consolation game and being selected to the Southern Idaho Conference’s first team.
For her achievements, Crofts is the 2015-16 Idaho Press-Tribune Sports Stars Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year.
“The center midfielder is everywhere,” Crofts said, “playing the whole field. Not to be bossy, but I like to help and tell (teammates) where they need to go and give them advice on what they need to do. I found that I had a big voice on the field.”
Her leadership was vital to Middleton’s offensive effort. Nelson, who had tallied more than 100 goals through four years of varsity play, left big cleats to fill, and the Viking strikers at times had trouble putting the ball in net.
“It was frustrating at times,” Crofts said. The Vikings won two of their first 12 games, failing to score in five matches. “We had other forwards who were strong, but they weren’t like Terrika. It was hard for them to take on that responsibility, but they played their hearts out. It’s all the team could ask for.”
Crofts took it upon herself to increase her presence among the strikers, either sending quality passes or working as a third striker. The Vikings reached a turning point in late September, winning eight of the next 11 matches, earning a state play-in appearance and winning that match, then claiming the consolation trophy.
Along the way, she passed on what she had learned, in particular working closely with junior Miranda McKay, answering questions and giving advice so McKay has a foundation to become a leader in her own way — just as someone once did for her.
“Our whole team played the best it could,” Crofts said. “I don’t think it could have ended any better.”
The following are all-conference teams from District III, as provided by district officials.
5A All-Southern Idaho Conference
Player of the Year: Raimee Sherle, Rocky Mountain
Coach of the Year: Jon Ruiz, Capital
Goalie: Maggie Burton, Eagle; Shenae Kreps, Columbia
Defender: Olivia Reiten, Boise; Peyton McBride, Borah; Brecken Johanson, Rocky Mountain; Arianna Romero, Timberline
Midfielder: Maddy Watts, Boise; Jadyn Baumgartner, Timberline; Brenna Davidson, Centennial; Lily Schlake, Rocky Mountain
Striker: Makayla Christensen, Centennial; Johanna Di Lulo, Boise
Goalie: Taylor McClellan, Mountain View; Annika Rademacher, Rocky Mountain
Defender: Jaynee Taufoou, Meridian; Alyse Erickson, Centennial; Julia Lewis, Boise; Evie Hoggan, Eagle; A.J. Reed, Rocky Mountain
Midfielder: Zona Kinnaman, Columbia; Allie Callister, Eagle; Delaney Reed, Capital; Maya Chavez, Boise; Kate Blickenstaff, Boise; Kylee Geis, Borah
Striker: Keneika Webster, Mountain View; Emma Bailey, Eagle; Sierra Smith, Boise; Elizabeth Gonzalez, Vallivue
Defender: Sabrina Castaneda, Nampa; Jennifer Castaneda, Nampa; Casey Compton, Capital; Josie Young, Centennial; Sarah Trumble, Eagle; Alyssa Goff, Vallivue
Midfielder: Tennyson Young, Mountain View; Britney Ciavarella, Mountain View; Alexa Glick, Centennial; Josie Bush, Centennial; Sydney Glynn, Mountain View; Abigail Bufford, Vallivue; C.C. Gutierrez, Columbia
Striker: Gabi Coprivnicar, Timberline; Sam Desloover, Meridian; Matti Fone, Columbia
4A All-Southern Idaho Conference
Players of the Year: Aubree Chatterton, Bishop Kelly; Christa Lewis, Mountain Home
Coach of the Year: Curtis Viall, Mountain Home
Goalie: Paige Kubista, Skyvkew
Defender: Halle Heffner, Bishop Kely; Kaiti Brocket, Middleton; Annie Kotte, Kuna
Midfielder: Catie Augustine, Bishop Kelly; Bailey Crofts, Middleton; Sidney Sandburg, Kuna; Katie Farris, Middleton
Forward: Emma Mills, Bishop Kelly; Mikee Furrow, Middleton; Abbie Wilson, Kuna
Goalie: Kylie Atkins, Bishop Kelly
Defender: Kairyne Cochran, Skyview; Isabelle Howard, Bishop Kelly; Elizabeth Ryan, Mountain Home
Midfielder: Jasmine Ramos, Kuna; Natalie Robison, Skyview; Hanna Bideganeta, Mountain Home; Violet Martinez, Mountain Home
Forward: Maddie Edwards, Skyview; Sam Webster, Bishop Kelly; Lexie Hibler, Kuna
Goalie: Lita Forse, Caldwell; Karleigh Belnap, Kuna
Defender: Cassidy Nelson, Middleton; CeAnna Benner, Skyview; Dreena Soto, Kuna; Abby Kofoed, Middleton; Claire Lucas, Mountain Home; Vicki Vega, Mountain Home
Midfielder: Gabriel Corado, Caldwell; Brenna Rill, Skyview; Abby Lowe, Kuna; Anna Pedroza, Mountain Home; Nikki DeRoco, Middleton; Miranda Mckay, Middleton
Forward: Jacey Carr, Mountain Home; Kenzie Jensen, Middleton; Leah Myers, Middleton