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BILL ALKOFER,
JSerra's Isabella D'Aquila is the Register's girls soccer player of the year. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

Girls soccer player of the year: JSerra's Isabella D'Aquila

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It wasn’t one of her county-leading 34 goals, but a charge toward the Santa Margarita net on Jan. 12 was emblematic of JSerra forward Isabella D’Aquila’s play.

The sophomore had two assists but hadn’t scored in the crucial early league match-up, so D’Aquila went right at the net and right at the Eagles’ keeper. There was no goal, but D’Aquila earned a cut across her forehead.

“That’s how my mindset is,” D’Aquila said. “I lay everything out for the team. If it means going up against a goalie, going up against a defender, getting hurt, I’ll do anything to get a ball into the goal.”

For her tenacity and outstanding performance, which lifted JSerra to championship heights, D’Aquila has been selected as the Register’s Orange County girls soccer player of the year.

She can get gritty, but make no mistake, D’Aquila is a skilled scorer through and through. She finished the season with 34 goals and 18 assists. 

D’Aquila, who has played forward throughout her career, has the perfect mindset for a player who wears soccer’s famous No. 10.

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ALL-COUNTY GIRLS SOCCER

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“During the game, once I score … it’s fire to go and put another one in the goal,” D’Aquila said. “Every single game, my mindset is I have to go score. I have to do my job, which as a forward is to score goals and assists and get goals for the team.

"When we score it’s a rush of energy.”

The Santa Clara-committed sophomore fits right in with JSerra’s direct style of play. The Lions quickly move the ball from the backline or midfield up to the forwards to turn and go for the goal.

“I like playing more direct because if you’re not attacking, you’re not going to win,” D’Aquila said. “The more chances we get on goal, the more chance we have of scoring and the more chance we have of winning. When we have quick forwards up top, it puts a lot of pressure on the other team to be able to keep up with us, and that direct play allows us to really put our forwards to use, which is a lot of fun.”

The style of play was effective for JSerra. The Lions captured their first Trinity League, CIF-SS and CIF Regional titles this season.

It was the CIF-SS title game against Mater Dei, a tight 1-1 game won in penalty kicks, that stood out the most for D’Aquila.

“That was one of the hardest games we played,” D’Aquila said. “The work rate that all the girls showed in that game and having the grit to come back from being tied and not just giving up and being able to pump each other up. It was the most accomplishing game we’ve had because that’s what we were really working for.”

By winning every title possible and leading the county in goals in just her sophomore season, there might seem to be few challenges left for D’Aquila, but her mindset won't let her see it that way.

“I think it's being able to push yourself and go the extra level because you never want to stop once you get to the top,” D’Aquila said. “It’s all just going and one-upping myself. There’s always someone out there that’s working to beat me. That just gives me the fire to go and do better than I did this year.”


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