Suyao named to all-star team

Watauga team captain Lily Suyao was named to the North Carolina East-West All-Star Game.

BOONE — It’s still unclear if the Watauga girls’ soccer team will be allowed to finish its 2020 season.

The Pioneers (1-2) were three games into their season before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the suspension of the season. The NCHSAA has set a deadline of May 18 to see if the season will be restarted or canceled for good.

That didn’t stop the formation of the North Carolina East-West All-Star teams, including girls’ soccer. Watauga’s Lily Suyao was named to the West team April 13 for the soccer game, which is in July. There is no guarantee the game will be played, but if it’s still on, Suyao has her spot on the West roster.

The game is scheduled for July 21 at UNCG’s MacPherson Stadium.

“I definitely think she deserves it,” Watauga coach Chris Tarnowski said. “If you look at her track record over the past couple of years, she’s played in several different positions and has excelled in all of them.”

Suyao, who signed with Charlotte this year, scored 30 goals and handed out 16 assists in the 2019 season. Suyao also scored 17 goals in her sophomore season in 2018.

Suyao, who has not scored this season, was moved to center-back this season and is a co-captain with Andie Waugh and Bailey Whitehead-Price.

Since there were so few games played this season, Tarnowski said most of the talent evaluation done last year was used to select the 2020 teams. He feels Suyao will play center-back in the all-star game, but also feels she could play anywhere on the field.

Tarnowski added that Suyao’s poise on the field combined with her knowledge of the game makes her a formidable weapon at any position.

“She signed with Charlotte to be a center-back, but she has such a high soccer IQ, so she could play any position they need her to,” Tarnowski said. “This year, just in the few games we did play, she was playing center-back for us and really took the leadership role on the team so she’ll probably play back there.”

According to the East-West All-Stars website, Suyao is the first Watauga girls’ soccer player to play in the game since Sarah Caldwell played in 2008. Jennifer Callahan (2006), Brittany Bolick (2005), Ashley Rex (2002), Christine Galke (1999) and Rachel Danner (1995) also played in the game. Former Watauga coach Doug Kidd coached the West team in 1998.

Jair Alvarez was the latest Watauga student-athlete to play soccer in the East-West All-Star game. He played in the boys’ game in 2019.

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