Marlee Sonnier delivers MVP results for Port Neches-Groves

Published 12:36 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

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Marlee Sonnier, a senior captain of the Port Neches-Groves High School Lady Indians, has made quite the name for herself in the world of high school soccer.

With an impressive list of accolades under her belt, including being named District MVP in 2021, Offensive MVP in 2022 and District MVP once again in 2023, it’s no wonder why she is considered a standout athlete.

Sonnier finished her senior season with 31 goals and 23 assists, bringing her career total to 86 goals. But it’s not just her stats that make her such a formidable player; it’s her mindset and leadership skills that set her apart.

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Before the start of the season, Sonnier talked about how the early exit from the playoffs in 2022 motivated her and her teammates to work harder.

“I guess as a leader I had to dig in to our new girls coming in how bad we want it,” she said. “Their energy matched ours and they wanted it just as bad as us.”

That hard work and leadership paid off, as she led the Indians to a 24-4-1 record on the season, and a district championship.

Along with her leadership, Sonnier’s positive attitude and dedication to improvement shone through even in the team’s few losses.

“After we lose a game it makes us more hungry to go out and win more,” she said.

Marlee Sonnier, center, is seen celebrating with her Port Neches-Groves High School teammates. (Courtesy photo)

Her on field performance was nothing to shake a stick at either. At one point during the regular season, Sonnier went on a hot streak, scoring three hat tricks in back-to-back-to-back games — nine goals in three games.

In the playoffs, Sonnier continued to lead her squad to success, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and communication.

“We worked together through each game, and all three of our playoff wins were definitely team wins,” she said. “I think that’s what helped us — winning as a team.”

Even in the fourth round loss to Belton High School, she recognized the hard work and effort her teammates put in, despite the challenges they faced.

Off the field, Sonnier’s leadership style is just as impressive, highlighting the relationships she forms with her fellow teammates.

“I like to bond with my team, and have a unique bond with every single player on the team,” said Sonnier. “It’s important to make sure that we’re all communicating well, and that everyone’s bought in.”

Coach Aimee Bates has immense praise for Sonnier‘s hard work and unselfish nature, noting she is an inspiration to her teammates.

“She goes into every game. All in. All out. It’s fun to watch,” Bates said. “She has just been a joy to coach the last four years. She’s a great captain, and on paper she is a stud.”

Bates also made a clear emphasis on Sonnier’s unselfish nature: “There are games where she could’ve scored 10 goals, but that’s not who we are, and that’s not who she is.”

By all accounts, PNG benefited from the upbeat, team-oriented style of play Sonnier brought to the table.

As for next year? Sonnier has a bit of advice to offer to the girls coming up.

“Enjoy every single moment,” she said with a nod.

Her passion and love for the game, and her ability to inspire and lead her team, make her a truly remarkable athlete, coaches say.

As she graduates this year and heads to Lamar University to study engineering and play Division 1 soccer, Sonnier is looking to continue making an impact on and off the field.

— Written By Clayton Eaves