Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Winters Mill’s Diffendal a ‘one of a kind’ forward

Megan Woodward
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times
Anna Diffendal is the Times Girls Soccer Player of the Year

No one wanted to defend Anna Diffendal in practice, much less in a game.

It transitioned over to games, and the Winters Mill forward doesn't make it any easier for opponents on the other side of the ball.

"She's always been that scoring threat on the field ever since she stepped foot on the soccer field," said Shannon Snyder, a senior defender and Diffendal's teammate. "She stepped up, especially this year, and everybody obviously sees her as that scoring threat.

"She had chances to play defensively and it was what we needed for a specific game. She filled those roles that needed to be filled to help the team in the long run."

Diffendal led Carroll with 18 goals this fall, capping off a fine junior campaign. The Times Player of the Year added five assists to account for 41 points this season and helped the Falcons go 10-4, 5-1 in county play.

Diffendal concluded her sophomore season as the county's leading scorer with 22 goals. Along with former teammate Haleigh Swam, Diffendal took control up top for the Falcons. Swam graduated this past year and Diffendal embraced her role as one of the Falcons' most essential leaders this fall.

Falcons coach Denny Snyder paired Diffendal with sophomore Kyla Holt on the attack this season, and said the girls benefited from one another at that position.

"She stepped in as a freshman and it was pretty obvious that she was ready to play at the varsity level," Snyder said. "She had eight goals and six assists as a freshman on varsity and she just reads everything so well. Her tenacity and hard work ethic is just one of a kind.

"I've had the opportunity to coach a lot of student-athletes and Anna is one of the most driven players I've ever had the opportunity to coach as far as maturity is covered. This year she took on a leadership role on the team and having a coach on the field out there is pretty cool."

Diffendal has played forward for the entirety of her soccer career and it's where she feels most comfortable.

There is something she uses to contribute to that confidence on the pitch — her speed.

"I feel like I can keep the ball close but even if players are around me, they can help check to the ball," Diffendal said. "They can create runs that take the defenders out so I can make a run, or I can do the opposite and they can make a run."

Her coach attested to that.

"When she was a freshman, we were pretty young," Snyder said. "She played a bit in the midfield but if you take a look at her three years, she's scored 48 goals and had 19 assists, 115 points. I've coached here for five years, six at the college level, and I've never seen somebody that puts up numbers like that."

If the Falcons were ever down, they could always count on Diffendal to pick them back up. Diffendal, and her dance moves, that is.

"It's so much fun playing with her," Shannon Snyder said. "Last year, she took some type of athletic movement class and came to practices with new dance moves and showed us them. She's almost as good of a dancer as she is a soccer player, that's pretty entertaining to watch."

Snyder said she felt privileged to play alongside Diffendal for two years and considers her a role model.

Diffendal is verbally committed to play soccer at Delaware, but still has one more year left with the Falcons. A driving force on and off the field, she prides the Falcons' chemistry as contribution to her success, and the team's success as a united front.

"We knew where everyone was," Diffendal said. "Like if a player was on the outside, I knew she could make that outside run and we just knew where we were all the time. Our team chemistry made us win most of our games."

mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

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All-County Girls Soccer

FIRST TEAM

Position Name School Year

Goalie Cari Rusk Century Senior

Defense Beanie Colson Manchester Valley Senior

Defense Caroline Frock Westminster Senior

Defense Sydney Hartman Liberty Senior

Defense Allison Schaffer Century Senior

Defense Kaylee Titus Century Junior

Midfield Regan Miller Westminster Sophomore

Midfield Erin Snyder Winters Mill Sophomore

Midfield Rachel Wagner Century Senior

Midfield Tayler Warehime Manchester Valley Junior

Midfield Mackenzie Wenczkowski South Carroll Senior

Forward Kylie Davis Century Senior

Forward Anna Diffendal Winters Mill Junior

Forward Kyla Holt Winters Mill Sophomore

Forward Taylor Whitmer Westminster Junior

SECOND TEAM

Century: Clairissa Kaylor, Lisi Hurst. Francis Scott Key: Jordan Gray. Gerstell: Maddie Bauhof. Liberty: Christina Charikofsky, Kasey Lamb. Manchester Valley: Lauren Bredenburg, Lauren Paulsen. South Carroll: Alyssa Chesney, Malayna Fowler. Westminster: Nicole Roberts, Hailey Sheldon, Margie Spann. Winters Mill: Hailey Bozzell, Abbey Fleet, Shannon Snyder.

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