“From last season to this season I used my left foot more than I’ve ever used it before so it was a different tool for me to use,’ Benner said. “I’m right-foot dominant but I do prefer to shoot left-footed. Over the years I think it was progressive from freshman year to now. Most of that is the coaching, Habbel, Tim (Raub), (former Phoenixville) coach (Jason) Short, my club coaches Rob Rooney and Coach (Joe) Margusity before him.

“All the tools came together this season. And my confidence grew over the season; that’s another big thing that helped in the long run.’

Raub and his staff undoubtedly felt fortunate to have such a complete striker on the roster.

“I think some of her best traits are the ones that people knocked on over the past couple years, which I think is kind of funny: She’s a great 1-on-1 attacker, she’s got a great first move and first touch, she gets great separation with her quickness and how smooth she runs,’ Raub said. “She’s silky smooth in her cutting and moving.’

Her good form helped erase any doubts Benner may have had at season’s beginning.

“We worked all summer on how she was going to handle some of the focus that would be on her,’ Raub said. “Early on she was nervous and came to me and said, ‘ Coach Raub, I’m a little worried. All these teams are going to figure out how to stop me.’ I told her that’s not how we were going to look at it. She worked her tail off all summer, putting the time in, doing what she needed to do. Right out the gate she was effective scoring in the first eight games of the season.’

The eighth game was a big one, Benner’s first-half goal being the difference in a 1-0 win over defending PIAA runner-up Spring-Ford, a sign of the changes around the Phoenixville program during the star forward’s high school career.

“I remember sophomore year, Maddie Fritsche, Bailey Stover and Sarah Gilbert were our captains, and we were sitting down in the corner and, I couldn’t tell you the score, but we were losing against Spring-Ford. I remember them forcefully saying, ‘ Why is it always Spring-Ford? Why do we always break under Spring-Ford?” Benner said.

“And to finally, my senior year, come back and beat them felt really big for where we’ve come and where this program is going to go. That was just a great night.’

After returning from an ankle injury suffered against Methacton, Benner was back to full fitness in time for Senior Night against eventual PAC-10 finalist Pope John Paul II.

“Senior Night against Pope John Paul II, if you walked in it wouldn’t seem like that big of a crowd but that was the biggest crowd we’ve ever had,’ Benner said, sitting in the visitors’ stands at Phoenixville’s Washington Field rehashing the season. “Our student section was here, the Pope John Paul student section over there, the two sections were going at each other, yelling back and forth.

“To come back and win and score, I couldn’t have pictured a better Senior Night. I’m smiling because I can vividly see it still.’

Benner’s two goals, including the game-winner in the 74th minute on a feed from midfield playmaker and fellow All-State pick Cecilia Knaub, gave Phoenixville a 2-1 win over PJP and the Frontier Division title, allowing the team to check off one of its season goals.

Dreams of a PAC-10 championship fell short in the league semifinals when Spring-Ford — on its way to a second-straight PAC-10 title and trip to states — started hot and knocked off the Phantoms 3-2.

“We hit our goal of winning the Frontier but missed the PAC-10 championship,’ Benner said. “But we regrouped and felt that we had to attack to do well in districts. I remember sitting down and thinking, ‘ What could I have done against Spring-Ford (in the semifinal)? What more could I have done?’ I felt I didn’t give enough so going into districts I wanted to make sure I couldn’t look back and say I could have done something more. I wanted to make sure everything the team was giving, I was giving as well.’

There were no regrets to come from her four-goal game in the district opener or the Phantoms’ 2-1 second-round loss to perennial district contender Conestoga, ending their season.

The loss will fade, but Benner hopes to come back after college — she is still weighing her options — and see the progress of a Phoenixville program that has blossomed in her four years. Her footprints are all over that evolution.

“In the end, if I could back after college like Ashley Habbel and sit down and watch a game and see where the program is, from when I was a freshman to in 10 years, I think I’ll be content with Phoenixville making a statement and not being walked all over like we were thought of in the beginning of my high school career. I will enjoy that more than one loss.’