Audrey Fletcher of Monmouth Academy is the 2019 Sun Journal All-Region Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

As a gifted goal-scorer, the 2018 season could be considered a down year for Audrey Fletcher. But by every other measurement, the Monmouth Academy junior was never better than she was this fall.

Sure, the goal total went down, but up went her assists, shooting percentage, opponents’ attention and her leadership.

Fletcher stepped up into an even more prominent role for the Mustangs, and flourished, which is why she is the 2018 Sun Journal All-Region Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.

“Everything kind of revolved around her, went through her,” Monmouth coach Gary Trafton said. “She’s a big part of the team, that’s for sure.”

Fletcher scored more than 30 goals a year ago, but saw that number drop to 26. That was due in part to the loss of a handful of seniors, including last year’s Sun Journal player of the year, Tia Day, who Trafton said took some of the attention off Fletcher.

“Trafton and I talked about it, and we knew that a lot of teams were just going to target me and Alicen (Burnham), and they were just going to try to shut me or her down. And more so me because I played more in the middle of the field, and I created a lot more opportunities for everybody,” Fletcher said.

More opportunities were created by Fletcher, who moved from a wing to the middle, and who increased her assists from 18 in 2017 to 23 this year.

“She fed the ball to a lot of the girls up front, like Abbie Crawford and Alicen, and Megan Ham,” Trafton said.

When Fletcher wasn’t feeding the ball, she was firing it on net more often than not. Trafton said 68 percent of Fletcher’s shots were on net, and only 10 went over the crossbar, which was well down from the year before.

The Mustangs were not down, even after having a lot of pieces to replace, and they stayed atop the Class C South standings with a 13-1 regular-season record. An exit in their playoff opener ended the season on a sour note, but Fletcher said that only is going to motivate them for next year.

Fletcher will be looked at as one of Monmouth’s leaders during her senior season next year, but it’s a role she already started to develop this season.

“Last year she kind of sat back a little bit and said some things,” Trafton said. “… But this year she was more vocal on the field and in practice, and then at halftime. She knew she had to step up, and she didn’t ask kids to do anything that she wouldn’t do.”

“I did try to speak up as much as I did, even though I wasn’t a captain,” Fletcher said. “I don’t know, soccer is like the one thing I really have a passion for, and I understand it, and so I think I just had to go to another level and be more of a leader than just having other people kind of lead me.”

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Monmouth’s Audrey Fletcher, left, and Oak Hill’s Olivia Cummings contend for a ball during a game in Monmouth in September. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Audrey Fletcher of Monmouth Academy is the 2019 Sun Journal All-Region Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Audrey Fletcher of Monmouth Academy is the 2019 Sun Journal All-Region Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Audrey Fletcher of Monmouth Academy is the 2019 Sun Journal All-Region Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)