The end of the season was, of course, a disappointment for the Jackson girls soccer team.
But along the way the Timberwolves accomplished some special things with the help of a special player. Jackson won the 2015 Wesco 4A and District 1 titles for the second straight season, and the team’s success was due in no small part to the play of senior all-conference forward Drew Locknane, who led the T-wolves in scoring with 18 goals, including five game-winners.
For her standout season, Locknane is The Herald’s 2015 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
A year ago, Locknane helped Jackson to the state title game, where the T-wolves lost to Central Valley 5-2. The team’s goal this season was to go one step further, but that dream was dashed in the opening round of the state playoffs with an 8-2 loss to Issaquah, the eventual state champ.
“We knew we’d have to beat them anyways if we were going to win state,” Locknane said, “but losing — and not only losing, but losing the way we did — was real disappointing.”
Even though it ended painfully, “I really couldn’t ask for a better high school career,” she said. “Looking back on all four years, we were able to make school history as the best soccer team to ever play at Jackson. We had a great team and a great coach, and to accomplish the things we did … I can’t complain about anything.”
On a team of top players, Locknane “was somebody we always knew we could rely on to score goals,” Jackson head coach Jesslynn Kellerman said. “She was really difficult to defend. She can score in so many different ways, and we knew that regardless of the type of game, we could always count on her to score or assist or to be a key in our offense.”
The funny thing is, Locknane is rarely “the tallest player or the strongest player or the fastest player (on the field),” Kellerman said. “She’s just great at all of them. And since she’s so multi-dimensional, it was hard (for opponents) to know how to defend her. She can score in the air, she’s really strong, she can beat you on the dribble and she’s fast enough to get behind defenders, so (the other team has) to look out for all those options.”
She also has a booming kick, which is sort of her signature. Locknane is not, by her own admission, “the fastest person … but I’m able to kick the ball pretty hard. Half the time I don’t even feel like I’m trying to aim, I just shoot it. But my outside shot has always been a strength of mine.”
In Kellerman’s mind, Locknane contributed in other ways, too. As a senior and a captain she was expected to be a team leader, and it was a role she filled capably.
“A lot of times with high school girls you have a leader who is either a vocal leader, or you have one who is a lead-by-example type of leader,” Kellerman explained. “You rarely get one who kind of does both. But that’s what Drew does. She motivates verbally, she can pick people up and encourage them, and she can even give the pregame or halftime talk to pump people up.
“But she also leads by example. Everybody knows she’s always going to give 100 percent, so she encourages the rest of the team to give their full effort.”
Locknane, who also plays basketball at Jackson, began in soccer when she was 4. As a high school freshman she started on the junior varsity, but was promoted to varsity late in the season. The T-wolves missed the playoffs that year, but they were Wesco 4A co-champions the next season and outright champs the last two.
Though Locknane was certainly a star for Jackson, she was hardly alone. Among the team’s other top contributors was fellow senior co-captain and All-Wesco selection Maddie Cooley, a midfielder, who scored eight goals (four game-winners) this season along with nine assists (five game-winners).
“It’s so nice to be surrounded by so many great players on field that make you look good,” Locknane said. “I couldn’t have scored as many goals as I did without teammates making it easy for me.”
Locknane will play club soccer for Snohomish United through the spring, but said she expects that to be the end of her competitive soccer career. She plans to attend college in the fall, but will likely participate only in intramurals.
Still, Locknane can look back in the future on an outstanding high school soccer experience. It was, she said, “the best ride ever.”