In all the years that The Post-Journal has been selecting its soccer players of the year, not once has it seen fit to name a goaltender - perhaps one of the most, if not the most, important positions on the pitch - as the area's most outstanding player.
Well, we say it's about time.
And who better, after more than 15 years and 38 selections (of both boys and girls), to be that inaugural choice than Maple Grove's very own brick wall, Lauren Nickerson?
"She's certainly very deserving," her coach Mike Burr, who put her in the nets for the first time some four years ago, said. "I think she is a great choice."
One can easily see why the eight-year girls varsity skipper, and now three-time Post-Journal Coach of the Year, is of that mind.
Not only did Nickerson, who first stepped between the pipes as a confident, yet green, freshman five games into the 2008 season, finish her career as the school's all-time leader in career shutouts with 46 but, and maybe more importantly, she has been a constant for a Maple Grove girls soccer team that this season captured it's third straight league title.
With the senior backstop guarding goal, Maple Grove has gone an impressive 35-2 over the past two seasons (17-1 in 2011 and 18-1 in 2012), with both losses coming in the Section 6 Class C semifinals.
And for Nickerson, Burr notes, winning, not individual accolades, are what she really strives for.
"I remember that first Frewsburg game (this year) when she got hurt," Burr said. "She was playing great and made a couple of phenomenal saves, and (on that particular play) she just launched herself, sacrificing her body, to stop the ball.
"That just epitomized what Lauren is all about. She is more than willing to sacrifice herself for the good of the team to make sure that we win. It didn't matter that she was bruised, kicked around or anything. She's a tough kid, willing to do whatever it took to make sure the other team didn't score."
And more often than not, they didn't.
Amongst goalies with 75 saves or more in the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association, none allowed few goals (4) than Nickerson; none had a higher save percentage (96 percent) than Nickerson and none came anywhere near her minuscule goals against average of just 0.229.
Two of those four goals came in just one game - against Allegany-Limestone, a Division 1 school, in the Class C semifinal.
What's more, the senior, who missed 1 games due to the aforementioned minor injury against Frewsburg, still managed to record the third-most minutes off all goalies in the CCAA.
"There were games where she just played phenomenal," Burr said. "She kept us in playoff games, kept us in all our games because she is an unbelievable athlete. We were fortunate that very rarely did Lauren not come through if (an offensive player beat Maple Grove's defense). She always came through, and there were times when she made saves that no one else in our league could."
Among those outstanding performances were her 11-save shutout of eventual third-place finisher Portville, her 10-save shutout of fellow Class C semifinalist, and rival, Frewsburg and an eight-save, playoff game shutout effort in the pouring-down rain and biting cold against Salamanca when she, forgetting her earlier injury, rushed out of the net and with a sliding save (followed by another hard collision) stopped cold a Salamanca offensive player on a breakaway.
"It's very rare that you find a goalie of her athletic ability that is also so fearless," Burr said. "In fact, if I had one word to describe her, it would be fearless."
Nickerson is, in short, the type of player that Burr is loath to lose.
"We had confidence knowing she was back there, and that alleviated a lot of the pressure," he said. "She has all the intangibles that you can't coach."
He added with a laugh, "And, as you can see, she got pretty darn good at it."