By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Port Townsend’s Irina Lyons’ senior season required maturity and sacrifice, but to a different end.
Lyons, who is the All-Peninsula girls soccer MVP for the second time in her high school career, entered the 2012 season with a reputation for being a goal scorer on successful teams.
The Redskins made the postseason her sophomore season — the year of Lyons earned her other All-Peninsula MVP — and fell just short when she was a junior.
Lyons scored 31 goals in those two seasons, as well as nine goals as a freshman.
Things were different her senior year, though.
Many players from the previous two seasons’ playoff-contending teams had graduated, and Port Townsend needed more than goals from Lyons.
“We were a really young team, not as experienced as we have been before, so I think, really, it was a building year, trying to build the team back up again,” Lyons told the Peninsula Daily News.
“This year, my goal wasn’t be a huge scorer. I mean, I’m always trying to be a threat to other teams, but mainly it was more of a leadership role for me, and doing what I can to help out the team.”
Rather than focus solely on putting the ball in the back of the net, Lyons, a team captain, had to be more concerned with the development of her teammates and helping them maximize their contribution to the Redskins.
“She was more of a provider than a scorer,” Port Townsend coach Colin Foden said.
“She made a great captain. She certainly rose to that position.”
Lyons finished the year with seven goals and five assists. Those numbers might fall short of what Lyons accomplished in the first three years of her careers, but they were still among the best on the North Olympic Peninsula in 2012.
Besides, there was plenty for Lyons to be proud of in her final year of high school soccer.
“I was definitely bummed because is was my senior year,” Lyons said of being on a rebuilding team.
“But at the same time, being a leader and inspiring my teammates to be better . . . I think that sometimes is better than winning games.
“My sophomore year was a big year, definitely. I scored a bunch of goals and did what I did, but it’s not the same feeling as being a good captain and supporting everyone.”
Lyons said she spent a lot of time this season sharing knowledge she’s gained from her four seasons with the Port Townsend varsity team — as well as her seven years with her Silverdale club team — with younger players and pumping up or calming down her teammates.
She said her favorite moment of the season was beating Sequim in a shootout.
True to a good team captain, her enjoyment stemmed from what the team accomplished that day.
“Not just personally, but as a team we really came together,” Lyons said.
“We showed our heart on the field. We played until the last whistle. I mean, we did everything we could.
“That was definitely a proud moment, especially as a captain, seeing how much we had grown throughout the season.”
Foden lists Lyons’ best soccer attributes as her strength, control, technical ability, competitive nature, a good left foot (“That’s unusual in girls soccer,” Foden said.) and an ability to quickly implement things she learns.
“You teach her something on Monday, and she could incorporate in on Tuesday,” Foden said.
After receiving offers from Division I and II schools, Lyons plans to play soccer next year at Edmonds Community College, largely because she feels there’s still more for her to learn.
“I just thought I’d see what I could do to develop more as a player,” Lyons said.
“I have the skill and strength to play [Division I or II] level, but I just need two years to kind of get my confidence up a know that I can play at that level.”