The Lady Hoyas have been known for their defense since coach Steve Riccard took over seven years ago, and shutouts had become commonplace.
But there haven’t been many seasons in which Harrison averaged 4.7 goals per game and scored 10 or more goals as often as it did, including four times this past season.
Aycock, a rising junior, scored 38 goals and played a key role in the Lady Hoyas’ march to the Class AAAAAA state championship with a 22-0 record.
Those contributions didn’t go unnoticed as Aycock was recently named an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She was one of 34 girls nationally to receive the honor among states that play soccer during the winter and spring seasons.
Aycock, a forward, joined Brookwood’s Jenny Allen as Georgia’s representatives on the all-America team.
“I’m just thankful for my team and coaches because I couldn’t have done anything without them,” said Aycock, who was also the Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Soccer Player of the Year. “I was really shocked when I found out (I was an all-American). I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s definitely a big honor to be ranked with the best in the country. I’m thankful and truly blessed.”
Aycock made the NSCAA’s all-Atlantic Region team, along with teammates Allison Leone and Lizzy Sieracki, making her eligible for all-America honors. She was also selected the NSCAA Georgia player of the year, helping Harrison to No. 3 nationally in the final spring rankings.
“This was my seventh year at Harrison, and since I’ve been here, we’ve played very good defense,” Riccard said. “But the one thing you can’t coach is scoring goals.”
Riccard saw Aycock’s talent early on when she was in middle school, and he couldn’t wait to have her playing for Harrison’s varsity squad.
“I’ve known since her sixth grade that, when she got here, she’d be special at scoring goals,” Riccard said. “She finds a way to lift the team offensively.
“All-American is a great reward for her. It’s a statement for the caliber of player that she is. She has the ability to break down defenses and make things happen.”
That was certainly evident for Harrison in the state championships against Grayson. The Lady Rams took a 1-0 halftime lead, but Audrey Tanner’s second-half equalizer knotted the contest before Aycock scored the game-winner about 9 minutes into the second half.
Aycock is Harrison’s first all-American since Riccard first took the reins. In that time, the Lady Hoyas have won two state championships, been runner-up three times, a semifinalist once and a quarterfinalist once. Harrison has also won five region championships.
The NSCAA also didn’t overlook Riccard when in named him Georgia’s coach of the year.
“It’s really about the kids for putting me in the position to help this team be successful,” Riccard said. “It’s a demanding program, and we try to win all the time. Our senior class did a great job focusing on the goal and keeping everyone on track.”
Aycock and Riccard are slated to receive their awards during an awards brunch in Orlando, Fla., on Aug. 2, the final day of the NSCAA’s summer symposium.