Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Decatur High junior forward Meg Adams was named The Daily’s girls soccer player of the year for the second straight year.
tops in soccer
Decatur junior leads team to Class 5A state semifinals
By Bradley Handwerger
Meg Adams admits it — she pushed herself too hard at the beginning of the season.
Goals were her goal, and when she didn’t score, she wasn’t happy.
But hours after she and her Decatur teammates fell 1-0 to Austin in the Morgan County Soccer tournament championship game, Adams had an epiphany. It’s not all about the goals.
And so the junior forward settled down, relaxed and led her teammates to the Class 5A state playoffs, getting the school’s first-ever postseason soccer win on its way to the semifinals.
For her efforts, Adams is The Decatur Daily’s girls soccer player of the year, earning the honor for the second year in a row.
“I was thinking too much, ‘Oh, I need to do something spectacular. I need to score all these goals to help my team.’ If I didn’t score a goal, I was upset,” Adams said.
She recovered from the pressure, however. Adams scored 16 goals this season, three fewer than a year ago. But she upped her assists total to seven, five more than in 2006.
Head coach Mike Pline said Adams’ midseason change was born not just from a personal realization, but from team drills.
“From a team standpoint, we weren’t scoring many goals in games,” Pline said. “We were losing to good teams 1- and 2-0. We made a concentrated effort in practice on our attack and finding the open person in the goal. I think she really bought into that at that point.”
Said Adams: “I tried so hard to just do something special that I ended up playing tense, and I ended up complaining to my family. They were like, ‘You’re playing how you always play.’ I guess I judged my success on how many goals I scored. I realized in the middle of the season you can’t do that.”
And once Adams began to relax, her game turned around.
And once her game turned around, the field opened up for her teammates.
It was quite common to hear teams call out her No. 23 to make sure someone was guarding her. That only incensed her, firing her up to play even harder.
“When I hear them say, ‘Hey, somebody get 23,’ I’m like, ‘OK, let’s go,’ ” Adams said. “It actually motivates me.”
Decatur went 15-8-4, losing to eventual state champion Briarwood in the semifinals. The bulk of the team, including Adams, will return for the 2008 season.
The Lady Red Raiders, in fact, have a lot to look forward to next year.
“We realized we can play with the best team,” Adams said.
“We can play with some of the best girls in the state. We just have to believe, as cliché as
that is, in ourselves. We have talent.”
Adams, though, is a large reason why Decatur is earning respect these days.
The older she gets, Pline said, the better she’s going to get. Her understanding of the game will continue to increase, a scary thought if you’re not a Lady Red Raider.
“To follow up last season with another stellar season on a team where we don’t try to run up scores ... to still stand out and be respected by all her teammates, to draw the kind of attention she did from top-level teams, says so much about her an about her desire to get better and win,” Pline said.
Past Daily girls players of the year
2007: Meg Adams, Decatur
2006: Meg Adams, Decatur
2005: Brooke Daron, Athens
2004: Morgan Chunn, Brewer
2003: Erica Glidewell,
2002: Sarah Sollie, Decatur
2001: Mary Kate Kennedy, Hartselle
2000: Carly Thomas,
1999: Carly Thomas, Decatur
1998: Beth Porter, Athens
1997: Stacey Feinswog,
1996: Stacey Feinswog,
1995: Stacey Feinswog,
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!