Haley Shaw isn’t your typical sophomore.
While most athletes in their second year of high school would be content with making a varsity roster and getting sporadic playing time, Shaw had different things in mind.
Playing both forward and midfielder for the Lake Travis girls soccer team this season, she scored a team-high 22 goals and assisted on eight others while playing a pivotal role in the Cavaliers’ surprising run to the Class 6A, Region IV title match. In the process, she earned a spot on the American-Statesman’s All-Central Texas girls soccer team.
“I had high expectations for this year because, over the offseason, we bonded really well as a team and we knew what our team was going to be,” Shaw said. “As a team, we play for each other. When I score, I feel like I’m not letting my team down. Every time I would score, I would feel like I was helping the team.”
Shaw credited her teammates for her gaudy individual numbers. However, her ability to find the back of the net and set up other teammates results from a combination of factors, Lake Travis coach Trey Young said.
“What sets Haley apart is, No. 1, competitiveness,” he said. “It’s very clear she has it. She wants the ball and wants to score. And then she has off-the-chart speed and the technical ability to make her successful. There’s a lot of kids with speed, but to have the technical ability with it is what makes all those goals happen.”
Cavs sophomore midfielder Alana Clark said Shaw has the knack to make any pass turn into a scoring opportunity.
“I would play a ball, and it didn’t even have to be that good of a pass, and she would get to it because she’s so fast,” Clark said. “I was happy to play with her, because she can get to any ball, and she works hard to get through defenders and score goals.”
Shaw — who is committed to play for Texas State after high school — helped the Cavs enter uncharted territory as a program. Before this spring, Lake Travis had not won a playoff game since becoming part of UIL’s largest classification in 2012.
The Cavs won their first four playoff games by a combined score of 14-1 before falling to McAllen 1-0 in the regional final.
“It was five straight years of first-round playoff losses,” Young said. “It’s been since 2007 since we made it to a regional final — and that was in 4A — so this was a big deal to feel that success. After all the hard work the girls put in, watching their confidence grow and play as a team, to see that pay off was magical.”
Shaw and the Cavs might just be starting a run of success. Lake Travis will return nine starters next spring, and a fair number of them will only be juniors.
“That makes me feel confident about the next couple of years,” Shaw said. “I’m excited.”
And though producing another season statistically like the one she just completed might be difficult with all the attention she’ll receive from defenses the next two years, Shaw said she wants to keep doing what she can to help her team.
“I have high expectations of myself,” she said. “I’d like to improve every year.”