She’s the reigning state player of the year — honored last spring as a sophomore — and a member of the under-18 U.S. National team. Those kind of players don’t come around very often.
But fellow junior Madison Oracion is pretty good, too, and her emergence has been key for a Huskies team that seeks yet another deep run in the state playoffs and a possible fourth state final appearance in six years.
In fact, it’s Oracion who leads the Huskies in scoring this spring with 16 goals in 13 matches.
“The biggest thing this year is she’s really upped her finishing,” says Hough coach David Smith. “She’s really taken it upon herself to improve her finishing. She’s had some great goals.”
Oracion has scored multiple goals in five matches this season, including three in a 7-0 win over North Meck March 28. Like Serepca, she is in her third year on the varsity team, no small feat in itself. She spent her freshman season primarily playing defense out of necessity because of injuries. Now she’s flourishing as an attacking midfielder in Hough’s 4-4-2 formation.
“I feel more comfortable where I am,” says Oracion.
Her ability to work in space and take on opponents with the ball at her feet has given the Huskies another weapon.
“She has the ability to control the game,” says Smith. “If people want to put all their focus on Ashlynn, she can make them pay.”
The combo of Oracion and Serepca can be overwhelming for the opposition, and much of the team’s production comes through them. Oracion has also assisted on six goals, while Serepca has scored 14 and assisted on a team-leading 20. Their ability to work together sets them apart.
“We know each other’s strengths so well,” says Serepca.
“It’s fantastic,” adds Smith. “They seem to know where each other is on the field without hesitation.”
It’s not by chance. The two have been close for some time, and their bond extends beyond soccer, which both see as a factor in their on-field success. Long before they were high school and club soccer teammates, they became friends while attending preschool in Cornelius. One of their earliest memories involves Serepca showing Oracion how to draw stars.
“I thought it was so cool,” says Oracion.
Now, both are prep stars who have already committed to play at the next level. Serepca has committed to Virginia, while Oracion has committed to Maryland.
Their goal this spring is to lead Hough back to its first state final appearance since 2014, when the Huskies won their second 4A title in three years.
Hough entered spring break 12-0-1 and 8-0 in the MECKA 4A Conference, with a 52-2 scoring advantage in league play, including a 2-1 overtime victory against Mallard Creek March 17. Hough’s lone tie was a 3-3 match against non-conference rival Lake Norman March 6.
The Huskies are back in action April 18 when they host Mallard Creek, and Hough will host its annual Cookies for Kids’ Cancer benefit games April 21-22.