Ever since head coach Shawn Hindy took over the Lehighton field hockey program four years ago, the Lady Indians have had one goal in mind a state championship.
2006, 2007 and 2008 weren't too kind to the Indians in that they fell short of their ultimate goal in each of those three seasons.
Corrine McConville and her Lehighton teammates made sure that didn't happen again in 2009.
McConville did it all her senior season, as she helped lead her Indians to a perfect 26-0 record and the school's first-ever state championship. She was also recently recognized by Harrow Sports and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association by becoming the first Lehighton athlete to be named a First-Team All-American.
Today McConville is recognized once more. She is now the fifth consecutive Indian to be the recipient of the TIMES NEWS Field Hockey Player of the Year Award
"It feels awesome to win this award," said McConville. "It is a big honor. There are a lot of talented girls in our area who are all deserving of this award, but this is definitely a big deal to me and it feels great."
Winning the state championship wasn't easy even though the Indians outscored their four opponents 6-0. Three of their games were decided by one goal including the final game.
With the scored tied at zero midway through overtime, Lehighton was awarded a penalty stroke after Vanessa Rimbey was taken down on a breakaway by Selinsgrove's goalie. After years of playoff heartache, it was only fitting that the Indians' state-title hopes rested on the shoulders of McConville.
McConville remained as calm as possible as she lined up the shot. She fired low and to the right. A second later the ball smacked the wood in the back of the cage. The weight had been lifted.
"My first thought was 'Oh my gosh, we finally did it,'" admitted McConville. "It was like a huge ball of emotion. All I could do was drop to my knees.
"It has been a huge deal for us the last three years. Last year we won a lot of games but came away with no titles. We realized how much that hurt and it really pulled us together as a team. I think we worked harder this year than we did any other year and it paid off."
Although McConville's offensive stats weren't staggering (11 goals and 17 assists), her role on the field could not be measured by numbers. Hindy gave his senior captain a lot of responsibilities this year, including everything from taking penalty strokes, handling the point on penalty corners and distributing the ball on offense.
"Ever since my freshman year he has given me more responsibility," McConville said. "He would put me in charge of one thing, then another and then another. He broke me in slowly so I could handle everything.
"Coach Hindy has always been there for us. His off-season practices brought us more together. He gave extra help when I asked for it, but at the same time he gave me a lot of reality checks. He would let me know when I needed to do something differently. Trust me."
McConville leaves Lehighton as one of the most winningest players in the program's history. Hindy and this year's senior class end their four-year run with an 88-8-1 mark, three Mountain Valley Conference championships and three District 11 championships.
But according to McConville, the Indians saved the best one for last.
"The state title is definitely something I will remember forever," said McConville, who has already committed to the University of Albany for next fall. "We had a lot of chemistry and really became a family. We weren't freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors. We were teammates.
"I am being sent out on a good note. We never lost a game and we won the state championship in the last game of my career. It is like 2009 will never end because we will never be beaten."