KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Corinne Lyght is only a sophomore, but that doesn’t mean that the Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls’ soccer star plays like one.
“Corinne definitely plays above her years,” Scotch Plains-Fanwood head coach Kevin Ewing told TAPintoSPF. “She does not play like a true sophomore.”
In just two years, Lyght has risen to become one of the best players in the entire state. She burst onto the scene by scoring 16 goals as a freshman starting varsity in 2017, and there was no let up this fall, when she scored 13 times and dished out eight assists as a clear leader of the Union County Champion Raiders.
On Monday, Dec. 3, Lyght’s case as a premier player not just in the state, but the country, was solidified. The forward was named to the United Soccer Coaches Fall High School Girls All-American and All-East Regional Teams. Lyght is one of only four sophomores in the nation tabbed on the All-American Team, and one of just three from the Garden State.
“It is a huge honor to be named All-America,” said Ewing, who has coached two other All-Americans in Jackie Law and Sarah Van Buskirk. "Corinne has been the only one [from Scotch Plains-Fanwood] that has been a sophomore. It is a nice honor specifically because it means you were recognized by a lot of people outside your playing area for being exceptional.”
Entering the 2018 season, Scotch Plains-Fanwood was in a transition as a program. The Raiders had graduated a large group of seniors, including Kerri McNeely and Erika Muskus, two of the team's top three leading scorers from 2017. This called for Lyght to step up and take more of a lead on the Raiders’ offense, as it went for a ninth consecutive county title — not an easy task for a sophomore.
But Lyght more than rose to the occasion. Among other stellar performances, Lyght churned out an unforgettable two-goal performance in the Raiders’ 2-0 Union County Tournament Final win over top-seeded Cranford on October 26. That gave the program its ninth-consecutive county title.
Lyght also recorded the assist to Holly Nelson in the semifinals that got them there.
Another highlight this fall for the Raiders was how, for the first time in years, they swept arch rival Westfield, winning both games by an accumulative score of 3-0. Lyght scored all three of the goals.
“Coming into the season she was our best returning scorer,” Ewing said. “Other teams knew this and tried to man mark her quite often in games. We used her in a few positions to help her use her natural technical skills and her speed. She adjusted to these new positions flawlessly. That is not easy to do for a young player.”
Despite all this success at such a fast pace and young age, Lyght’s poised mindset has not changed one bit. The fleet-footed three-sport athlete remains humble as can be, no matter the circumstances.
“[What] is most important is that Corinne is very humble and will not like all of this attention,” the coach explained. “She will give all the credit to her teammates and say they are the ones that have helped her succeed. She is a true team player.”
As an All-American as a sophomore, Lyght is part of exclusive company. In terms of All-Americans from the Class of 2021, Lyght is joined only by Mia Asenjo, Valley Stream High, NY; Taylor Huff, Madison (Ohio) Comprehensive High; and Megan Donnelly, Pine-Richland High in PA. Additionally, Lyght is one of three All-Americans from the Garden State. Fellow New Jerseyans are Claudia Dipasupil (Northern Highlands) and Kelli McGroarty (Eastern Regional).
“Corinne's accomplishments just validate she is one of the best players in our county and the state,” Ewing said. “Now it just proves she is one of the best players in the country.”
The athletic season is far from over for Lyght, though. She is expected to play a major role as a key returner on the varsity girls’ basketball team this winter, and during the spring, she excels while running varsity track.