Taylor McClelland, far right, blasts a shot past Walden Grove's Lanisa Dietrich and goalie Jaylene Lopez.


For the second year in a row, Sahuarita has relied on Taylor McClelland as its top scorer.

This season, though, has been different.

McClelland has taken her offense to another level, scoring 47 goals to become the leading scorer in the state according to Maxpreps.com.

"Being overall faster and having a stronger shot has reflected on her play," said Rosi Reeves, the Mustangs coach.

"She is a lot more physical than last year. When she was a freshman she was small and easily knocked off the ball and I think she stays with the ball a lot better this year."

The sophomore striker's ability to outrun defenders is only one of the reasons she's been so successful. Here's a look at what has been key in her dominance.

Off to an injury-free start

As a freshman, McClelland led the Mustangs in goals with 14.

However, that total comes from only a half season because she missed the first part of the year with a broken arm.

McClelland fell and broke her arm in Sahuarita's season opener in the Amphitheater Panther Classic in 2011.

Once she returned to action in January it took her a while to become acclimated on the field with her teammates.

This season has started out better for her because of a stronger bond with them.

"When we are out on the field, I feel more comfortable than last year, because it was my first year," McClelland said.

Feel on the field

That bond with her teammates has led to an impressive offensive attack this season by McClelland and junior Yaritza Lopez.

It also has Sahuarita at No. 7 in the Division II seedings.

When the Mustangs have had a breakaway down the field, the two strikers have been ready to convert for a combined 68 goals this season.

Lopez has 15 assists on the season, eight of which have contributed to McClelland's goal total. McClelland has returned the favor by assisting Lopez seven times.

"They really work the ball well together," Reeves said.

Track speed

McClelland runs track at Sahuarita in the spring, which allows her to improve on the speed that has already made her a talented soccer player.

She runs the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the 400 and 1,600 relays.

McClelland attributes the increase of her speed, strength and agility in soccer to her work on the track.

"A lot of the training she gets in track transfers out onto the soccer field," Reeves said. "She is a lot faster than a lot of the girls on defense we play against."