GLENDALE — Equal parts sturdy defense and explosive offense carried the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team to its second straight Prep League title this season and the league's coaches acknowledged that duality when they recently voted the Rebels' top scorer, senior forward Brooke Elby, and best defender, junior Connell Studenmund, to the league's top individual postseason honors.
Elby was named Offensive Most Valuable Player and Studenmund Defensive Most Valuable Player to lead a total of seven Rebels included in the all-league honor roll.
First-team selections for Prep included midfielders Kaitlyn Kelleher and Kate Lyon and goalkeeper Casey Cousineau, while forward Alina Okamoto and defender Whitney Cohen made the second team.
"I don't want to say we have the best offense by far, but, defensively, I do think we were the strongest team in league throughout the season," said Prep Coach Esteban Chavez, whose team went 17-4-3 and 8-1-1 in league for an outright championship one year after sharing the league crown with Chadwick. "Offensively, [league runner-up Pasadena] Poly and us were neck and neck. … I think it shows by us winning outright [that] offensively we're at least a little stronger than everybody else."
A dynamic goal-scorer who registered seven multi-goal games, including three hat tricks and one five-goal outburst, the University of North-Carolina-bound Elby finished the season with a team-high 28 goals scored and assisted on another nine, which was third best on the team.
"I was really excited when I heard," said Elby, who was last year's league tri-MVP. "I didn't expect to get it [again], so it was a nice surprise.
"I'm really proud of Connell, too, she's worked really hard for this. I'm happy we can share it."
Studenmund, who also scored two goals and made four assists, was the best defender on a unit that surrendered 17 goals all year, including just six goals in league, where it posted five shutouts.
"It's exciting for both of us," Studenmund said of her and Elby's MVP recognition. "I was really excited and thrilled to be named defensive MVP because I know how many other good defenders there are in our league, let alone on my own team, with having Casey Cousineau and Whitney [Cohen].
"I think that we had such a solid defensive unit, but being named defensive MVP is definitely icing on top of having so many shutouts this season."
Logging 1,643 minutes in goal, Cousineau, a sophomore, made 128 saves and oversaw 11 shutouts.
Kelleher, a sophomore, had four goals and four assists, while Lyon, a junior, scored one goal and assisted on two others
"It's definitely a big deal for our whole team to be recognized for having a good offense and defense," Studenmund said. "I think we always played well together as a unit and it wasn't always just one person doing everything to help us win.
"We had to work together and we all had great teamwork and really liked playing with each other."