In four regular-season matches against American and international schools, she gave up just one goal, none after March 30. In last week’s Far East Division I Tournament, she gave up one goal in regulation and one in a penalty-kick shootout, each to her opponents’ top goal scorer.
And sophomore goalkeeper Harleigh Lewis fashioned her 11-1 mark against U.S. and international teams for a Kubasaki girls side that was ravaged by injuries all season, which began with turmoil and ended in triumph.
For her efforts, including backstopping Kubasaki to the Okinawa regular-season title and the school’s fourth Far East D-I Tournament title in history, Lewis has been named Pacific girls soccer Athlete of the Year by Stars and Stripes.
“She’s obviously the anchor for us defensively,” coach Terry Chumley said of Lewis and her ability to position players on the field to have the best chance of success, and to positively motivate and encourage players off the field.
All of Lewis’ abilities were “a big part of our success,” Chumley said. “We’re happy to have her on the team.”
It was far from numbers that made observers of Kubasaki throughout the season refer to Lewis as a human wall in the Dragons’ net.
She was one of the keys to a Kubasaki team that employed three coaches in just a three-week span to start the season. Rob Loyd began at the head post, but resigned due to undisclosed reasons.
Todd Hyson served as interim coach for one match, then Chumley, who had coached the Dragons to Far East titles in 2002, ’03 and ’07, took over.
While all that was going on, the Dragons lost 1-0 at Kadena on March 30. They didn’t lose again the rest of the way. Aside from three goals in a 3-3 draw in a rematch with Misato, Lewis was nearly perfect, racking up eight shutouts against U.S. and international teams.
“I just did my job, to protect the net and keep any other team out of my ‘house,’” Lewis said. “I wanted to better myself and prove to everyone that we have what it takes to be champions and that I have what it takes to lead them to victory.”
Lewis gave up a regulation goal to Guam’s top scorer Kayla Kinney in a 2-1 Far East pool-play win. Then in the final, which went to penalty kicks, Lewis only allowed a PK by American School In Japan’s leading scorer Katey Helwick. The Dragons won the shootout 3-1.
And this despite losing striker Sydney Johnson to a knee injury just before Far East, and Lewis’ sister, Peyton, to a groin injury during Far East.
“Though we did lose key players along the way, we weren’t defeated by any means,” Lewis said. “It just meant we would have to work harder and we did and that overall paid off. We worked together as one unit, one team, one family which led us to be Far East champions.”
All-Far East girls soccer team: Marissa Mesquita, Alexis Townsend, Kubasaki; Katey Helwick, Joey Yamada, American School In Japan; Kaile Johnson, Nile C. Kinnick; Kayla Kinney, Guam; Michelle Richardson, Seoul Foreign; Vanessa Black, Robert D. Edgren; Katrina Reid, Zama; Andrea Carandang, Osan; Bobbi Hill, Matthew C. Perry.