Stephanie Allen was once told by a coach that every shot she did not attempt had no chance of going in.
In other words, shoot when there is the slightest opening.
The Lakeside junior led the Panthers' attack this season because she was not afraid to shoot. She scored 31 times for Region 3-AAAA champions and was named the region's top player.
Allen, The Columbia County News-Times All County Girls Soccer Player of the Year, did not expect that level of scoring output or the postseason honors.
She was just glad to be healthy. In June 2008, playing for her Columbia United Club team, her foot planted as another player hit her from the side. Allen's knee popped out of place, tearing her ACL.
Allen was familiar with the injury. Her brother, Aquinas senior Joshua Allen, had torn both his ACLs playing soccer and was finishing his recovery when Stephanie suffered her tear.
She underwent surgery last August, the third knee operation in the household that year, and started rehab. Her goal was to return to the soccer field in time for the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association State Cup, held in December.
With her brother preaching the importance of sticking to her exercises, Allen said she was recovered in less than five months and was able to play in the State Cup.
Allen said her knee was fully recovered by the time Lakeside soccer practice began. She had even played with the Panthers basketball team to help stay in shape.
"I feel better now than I did before," Allen said.
Allen started the high school season playing center midfielder. After the first few games, Panthers coach Nick Edmond moved her up top to forward in his 4-3-3 scheme.
Allen's 31 goals were part of the team's 114 total.
"We were trying to figure out the pieces and trying to find what combination worked," said Edmond, the Region 3-AAAA Coach of the Year. "Once we moved her up there, I think everything started to fall into place."
The Panthers rolled to the region title, not allowing a goal during region play, and totaling 13 shutouts. Lakeside was finally stopped by perennial power Marist in the Class AAAA quarterfinal.
Edmond, The Columbia County News-Times All County Girls Soccer Coach of the Year, expects another solid season in 2010. He should return all 11 starters next season and 19 of 20 letter winners.
Allen will be back for her senior season. She said she would like to play soccer in college, but noted her missed time last summer might have cost her. But if a school offers her the opportunity, bet she'll be ready to take it.
"I'm still hoping for it," she said.
Here are The Columbia County News-Times 2008 All-County Girls Soccer selections:
Player of the year
Stephanie Allen, Lakeside, Jr.
Coach of the year
Nick Edmond, Lakeside
Jamie Alexander, Augusta Prep, Fr.
GISA's third-leading scorer led the Cavaliers with 35 goals and 10 assists.
Stephanie Allen, Lakeside, Jr.
County Player of the Year was also named the top player in Region 3-AAAA.
Jameela Bryant, Evans, So.
Speedy striker was an all-region pick and forced opposing teams to track her on the field.
Alex Johnson, Harlem, Sr.
Two-sport standout will play softball and soccer at Georgia Military College.
Libby Dalis, Greenbrier, Sr.
Wolfpack MVP was a first-team selection for Region 2-AAAAA.
Megan Wray, Lakeside, So.
Center back was an all-region pick and used her speed to prevent shots on goal.
Brittany Ufrett, Evans, Jr.
Center mid earned praise for her knowledge of the game and ball-handling skills.
Alex Cohen, Greenbrier, Jr.
First-team all-region selection led the Wolfpack with 22 goals.
Paige Eber, Greenbrier, Jr.
Wolfpack keeper praised as a big-game performer.
Mary Senn, Lakeside, So.
Center mid distributed the ball, but also got in on the attack, finishing with 10 goals and 12 assists.
Lindsay Hammer, Greenbrier, Jr.
Versatile player was a first-team all-region choice after starting 18 matches and moving to defense late in the season.
Stormi Childs, Greenbrier, Sr.
Kelsey Waechter, Greenbrier, Jr.
Hillary Wilson, Greenbrier, Sr.
Brianna McLeod, Lakeside, Jr.
Elizabeth Pugh, Lakeside, Jr.
Lindsey Williams, Lakeside, Jr.
Kim Fisher, Evans, Jr.
Suzanne Ozturk, Evans, Jr.
Kia Graham, Harlem, So.
Chelsea Fechter, Augusta Prep, Sr.
Becca St. Louis, Augusta Prep, Jr.
Brittany Huggins (E), Theresa Bailey (L), Diana Tran (L), Marianne Davignon (H), Paige Eber (G), Jesse Lewis (G), Carley Ray (G), Bay Daniel (G), Alex Ploetzke (AP), Ashleigh Miller (H)
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