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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Hailey Cruz, Sierra soccer
AOW Hailey Cruz

Cruz is already halfway through her goal total from last season.

The junior striker is off and running following her breakout campaign in which she led the Timberwolves with 20 goals. She scored 10 this past weekend in the Cougar Cup, earning the tournament’s Golden Boot Award.

“Last year, she was not 100 percent healthy, but this year she’s definitely healthy and I can see the difference in her game — she has improved a lot,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “She’s got that talent to be the target player we need on the attacking third of the field. Not only that, she’s very good at combining with her teammates.”

Sierra had a busy start to the new season last week, going 5-1 in five days. Following a tough 1-0 loss to Gregori, the T’wolves ran the table in their five games in the Cougar Cup with blowout wins over Ben Holt Academy, Weston Ranch, Tokay, McNair and Central Catholic.

Cruz was heavily involved, scoring three goals in the opener against Holt Academy on Friday and four more against tourney host Weston Ranch later in the day. On Saturday, she struck for one goal against McNair and two in the 6-0 win over Central Catholic that clinched the title.