Relying on a rare combination of superior conditioning and God-given athletic ability, Lauren Stewart earned the most prestigious honors passed out by Grand Canyon Region coaches.
Those laurels arrived at the conclusion of the season when she was chosen to the GCR Region first team as a sweeper.
All season, Stewart proved to be a fast, tough player who could cover the space between the fullbacks and goalkeeper. Her responsibilities included stopping breakaways, sweeping the ball and kicking long out-of-bounds to allow the defense time to recover.
About the only time Stewart struggled during the campaign was after being sidelined by an injury Jan. 21 in a 3-2 overtime loss to Mingus in the Horns' regular-season finale.
Without Stewart and teammate Michelle Wing, also injured at Mingus, the Lady Horns went on to beat Page 3-2 in the opening round of the GCR tournament Jan. 25. The game had to be decided in a shoot out.
In addition to selecting Stewart, GCR coaches voted Jessica Coleman to the second team as a midfielder.
In the dramatic win over Page, Coleman was one of the three players who scored the shoot-out goals.
Payson's final GCR award winner, Kelsea Palace, was tapped honorable mention as a midfielder.
The trio of award winners led the Lady Horns to a GCR tournament third-place finish and the team's first berth in the 4A state tournament.
In the opening round in Tucson Feb. 1, the Lady Horns' dreams of advancing were whisked away by a 6-0 loss to Tucson Ironwood Ridge.