All Day, every day: Monmouth senior Tia Day led the way

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Tia Day (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Hard work paid off for Tia Day.

The Monmouth Academy senior worked on multiple areas of her game, as well as getting stronger physically, and it led to a season of 39 goals and 20 assists, all while helping lead the Mustangs to the Class C South girls’ soccer regional final.

She was the best player on the region’s best team, earning her the honor of Sun Journal All-Region Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.

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“She just put the work ethic into it,” Monmouth coach Gary Trafton said. “She wanted to be a good player, and she put the time and energy in to develop to be a very good soccer player.”

Day more than doubled her scoring total from her junior season, when she scored 14 goals. This year, Day scored in 17 of the Mustangs’ 18 games.

“I definitely felt like I had to step it up scoring-wise and … playing as hard as I could to try to motivate the other girls,” Day said.

Helping Day’s cause were two other forwards (sophomore Audrey Fletcher and freshman Alicen Burnham) who could score as well, and senior midfielder Emily Grandahl feeding all three. Day said this was the best passing team she’s played with in her career.

“They all worked really well, they all get along very well, and none of them was ball-hungry, that they had to get the shot off,” Trafton said. “It wasn’t ‘who could be the leading scorer on the team?’ it was ‘what was best for the team?'”

Day doing her best for the team meant getting better at scoring.

“Being able to finish shots and being able to place my shots better, more towards the corners, because I used to kind of shoot right at the goalie,” Day said. “So I knew I had to finish the shots when I was given good crosses.”

Trafton said Day’s progression from an underclassmen who only scored a handful of goals her freshman and sophomore seasons to one who averaged more than two per game as a senior started with getting stronger. That meant a weightlifting program so she could deal with the physical defense she would face from opponents.

Then this past offseason Day improved her footwork. Trafton tracked his players’ touches and possession during games. He said Day had over 100 balls come her way and she controlled 85 percent of them.

“Great footwork, and it was just a lot of practice and hard work,” Trafton said.

Day showed up big in the biggest games this season. She had a goal and two assists in a regular-season win over Madison — Day’s first over the Bulldogs at home in her career — and a goal in the Mustangs’ win over Oak Hill in the MVC title game. In the playoffs, she scored all four goals against Maranacook, then had a goal and an assist against St. Dom’s.

She was shut out from scoring in the regional final against Madison, but not without plenty of attempts.

“I wanted to make sure I left it all on the field,” Day said.

wkramlich@sunjournal.com

Tia Day (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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