Smith to Play in State Games, Evaul Named Coach of Year

Mary Chesnut Smith has been named as one of twelve 1A State Players of the Year for her efforts as a junior midfielder for the Lady Viking Soccer team.  Those same efforts also earned her a spot on the Western team that will compete in Charlotte this weekend in the State Games.

Smith earned All-Conference, Player of the Year honors in the Western Highlands Conference in women’s soccer, as well as earning the Female Athlete of the Year honor in the Western Highlands Conference.  She led the Lady Viking soccer team in goals and assists on their way to the State Title contest last week.

On Sunday, the accolades kept pouring in for the Avery Lady Vikings, with Head Coach Tom Evaul being named the NCHSAA 1A Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year.  Evaul led the Lady Vikings to their best record in school history, putting together a memorable season that will be discussed for years to come.

Evaul has always been a quiet, humble coach, who wants no attention placed on him; something that has contributed to the success of both the men’s and women’s teams at Avery High.  His faith, not only in his players, but God has contributed to many successes over the years, and has been seen throughout this storybook season.

“I wouldn’t have received anything this season had it not been for a total team effort by these 17 girls and the coaching staff,” exclaimed Evaul.  “They are the ones that made all this happen.  As I told them towards the end of the season, ‘…if you play the game, they will come, and they will acknowledge you and what you are capable of accomplishing.’  They just took off and did what they had to do to reach the level they reached.

“I am truly sorry we weren’t able to bring home the big one, but the night before the game as I was restlessly trying to get some sleep, I finally just prayed to God and said, ‘Your will be done.’  I soon fell asleep knowing that the next day would be in God’s hands, it just wasn’t our time yet, but it has been a great experience for all of us involved.”

Evaul’s humble remarks echoed through the Lady Viking soccer program this season.  The team remained focused through the season, not on earning victories, but on remaining true to their beliefs and focusing with Bible Studies during the year.  Elyse Perry and others headed up the effort, remaining focused on being examples on the field, and not on fighting for the win.

There were a number of contests this season where it was evident that other teams would do anything to win a game, including trying to injure players to take them out of the contest.  The focus of the Lady Vikes remained strong, however, as they battled through the adversities; with no better examples than the resiliency of the Avery players.  Smith had to overcome a number of injuries this season, many that were intentionally inflicted, and Hayden Blackburn played part of the first half and the entire second half in the State Title contest with a broken arm.

Congratulations to Smith, Evaul and again to all the Lady Vikings on a great 2010 season!

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