High school soccer: Nothing but net, praise

Irwin earns Catalina goals record, 3.9 GPA, ride to New Mexico
2013-02-05T00:00:00Z High school soccer: Nothing but net, praiseAndrew Cockrum Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

No other girls soccer player from Catalina High School has gone as far as Madison Irwin.

Soon, she'll travel even further.

After a historic high school career with the Trojans, Irwin will take her soccer talents to the next level at the University of New Mexico.

She earned an academic and athletic scholarship to play for the Lobos starting this fall and will be among several local high school athletes signing letters of intent Wednesday.

Irwin is the first girls soccer player from Catalina to earn a Division I scholarship, athletic director Ken Harcus said.

The last Trojan athlete from any sport to earn an athletic scholarship was James Eichberger in 2008, who is currently running cross country and track at the UA.

Irwin, who also plays for the Tucson Soccer Academy club team, also received interest from UC-Riverside and Point Loma Nazarene University. She chose New Mexico because of the Lobos' style of play and the work ethic their players have.

"I really liked their campus and their coach, so it was a pretty easy choice for me," Irwin said.

The 17-year-old was an offensive force at Catalina, scoring 75 goals in four varsity seasons and helping the Trojans make the second round of the Division III state tournament her senior year.

"In 25 years I really have not seen a player like Madison," Catalina coach John Faruolo said. "She is a special all-around player and person."

The Star recently sat down with Irwin to see how she'll be remembered at Catalina. Here are three things the Trojans won't forget:

1. Record holder

After scoring 18 goals as a junior, Irwin increased her scoring total to 32 in her final year at Catalina and broke the school record for goals in a single season.

Luz Duarte, who now plays for the Mexican National Team, held the previous record.

"Honestly, I wasn't even expecting to even attempt to break it," Irwin said. "I was just going into my senior year of high school soccer just wanting to have fun and play."

It was when she began averaging two goals a game early in the year that she realized the possibility of breaking the record.

Irwin credits teammate and best friend Chole Cox for helping set her up on numerous scoring opportunities this season.

2. 'One of a kind'

Off the field, Irwin is a noticeable figure around campus at Catalina.

She is a member of National Honor Society, the student body secretary for student council, and is a manager for the boys' volleyball team.

Even with those activities, Irwin also has maintained a 3.9 grade point average and is considering a degree in biology at New Mexico.

"She is one of a kind," Harcus said. "You would like to have a girl like that at every school."

3. On the court

If academics and soccer hadn't already kept her busy enough, Irwin is also a star on the volleyball court.

The outside hitter helped the Trojans reach the state tournament four straight years, including her junior season when they played in the Division III state championship game but lost to Chandler Seton Catholic.

However, Irwin got revenge against the Sentinels this season in soccer knocking them out of the first round of the Division III state tournament last week.

"Beating Seton Catholic was the best thing ever," Irwin said. "It was just an awesome feeling."

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