One of Syracuse’s Top Soccer Recruits State Crown Would Be Fitting For Medway’s Aviza

Shannon Aviza will take her excellent soccer skills to Syracuse next year, but she first hopes to see a championship title for Medway this year.
Issue Date: 
October, 2016
Article Body: 

To label Shannon Aviza as the best soccer player in the Tri Valley League and one of the best center midfielders in Massachusetts isn’t going overboard.
After all, the 5-foot-10 Medway High senior has been a three-time TVL all-star. A two-year captain, she also was chosen as an Eastern Mass. all-star for the last three years and was an all-state and all-New England choice as a junior. Because of her New England all-star status, Aviza is on an All-American watch list, which could lead to her selection to play in a national all-star game in North Carolina later this year.,
The 17-year-old Aviza, who’s a National Honor Society student, already has solidified her future — she’ll be playing soccer next year on scholarship at Syracuse University. With all her achievements and accolades, it might seem like she’s totally satisfied.
Far from it.
Aviza wants to add one missing link to her long list of accomplishments. She wants Medway High to win a state championship, an honor the Mustangs almost achieved last year when they bowed, 2-1, to Millbury in the state finals. Aviza has played key roles in leading Medway to three straight TVL championships and one South Sectional title.
“To win a state title won’t be easy, but our team is focused on that goal,’’ Aviza said. “We’re confident that we can win the states because we’ve got great team chemistry and we’re all on the same page. A state title is the ultimate prize.’’
Aviza is a major factor in Medway’s overall success, because she’s so adept at controlling play at midfield. She’s quick in transition, knowing when to pass and when to attack. Medway coach Jason Rojee marvels at her instincts and soccer IQ.
“Shannon has such great field vision and awareness,’’ said Rojee. “She sees things on the field that I don’t. She’s a dynamic passer who’s also an excellent captain, able to lead by example and by being vocal.’’
Her team goal is to win a state crown but individually Aviza has two other objectives.
“I’ve got 71 career points, but it would be cool to reach 100,’’ she said. “I’d also like to be selected to play in the All-American game in North Carolina.’’
Those goals are very likely, because the Medway native is a player comfortable in her role and comfortable with her coach and teammates. She enjoys distributing the ball, transitioning from offense to defense, and attacking in air. She also likes controlling the ball with a specific purpose in mind.
“We’ve got great captains in Erin O’Rourke (goalie) and Kaelyn Beach (defense),’’ Aviza emphasized. “We communicate well and we’ve set the same goals. Erin makes big saves and Kaelyn is a solid defensive player. Coach Rojee is a tremendous motivator who knows the game and displays trust in his players. As for where I can improve, it’s is in my leadership role. I want to be more vocal, in a positive way, when providing direction or offering advice. I’ve been blessed to be on such good teams at Medway.’’
Aviza rates Medway’s game against Dedham in the South Sectional her sophomore year one as one of her best. She scored on a penalty kick and many facets of her game improved. But the Mustangs lost on penalty kicks.
Always concerned about sore ankles, Aviza missed two weeks as a junior when she developed some pain. And, after playing in the nationals in Colorado with her club team this summer, she entered this season recovering from a torn quad suffered in July.
Aviza is pleased with her decision to commit to Syracuse, a school she immediately fell in love with because of its academics and its soccer program. She’s being counted on as a freshman. “Coach (Phil) Wheddon said he expects me to play considerably and to contribute right away,’’ Aviza indicated. “He stressed that I have the potential to be an impact player.’’
For the present, however, Aviza is focused on her impact at Medway. She knows Dover-Sherborn and Medfield will battle the Mustangs for the league crown. “They both have great teams and great players,’’ said Aviza, who’s helped Medway jump out to a 2-0 record.
Aviza also is focused on dedicating herself to her competitive philosophy and to keep learning valuable life lessons from athletics. “I believe in playing to win but there also must be a desire to give 100 percent and to enjoy competing. Athletics teach great life lessons, like overcoming adversity, developing leadership skills, setting goals and working as a team.’’
Aviza started playing soccer at age five. That helped in her drive to become a success but so, too, has her blood lines. Her mom played in high school and her dad played in high school and at Assumption College. Her brother John is playing for Assumption and her brother Austin is competing at Syracuse. “My uncles and aunts also played in college, and my younger sister (Isabelle) is also playing for Medway,’’ Aviza said.
Soccer is not only a way of life for Shannon Aviza, but it’s also a family affair.