Record-setting Harvey can’t help but score
summit daily news
” , in a paper titled “Life lessons: Learned playing soccer”
FARMER’S KORNER ” It happened often this spring. Hannah Harvey would take on one, two, even three defenders, beat them all, then dribble around the goalie like she was anchored by a chain, and score.
The first game of the year, it happened five times. The second game, it happened three times. On April 3, when the Summit High School girls soccer team traveled to Jefferson, it happened times.
The helpless defenders got frustrated, sure, but at least they understood: this was out of their hands. Their teammates at the other end of the field, the forwards, had a harder time comprehending. So they did the logical thing. They yelled at their defensive mates 60 yards away ” prolonged, teenage-girl shrieks, laced with equal parts frustration and anger.
“One … person’s … scoring all their goals! Just … stop … her!”
Harvey lets slip a poorly concealed grin when she recalls these moments. She created them, after all. If she were easier to stop on a soccer field, the other teams wouldn’t have had as many chemistry issues as they did the day after they played Summit.
Harvey is not just coming off a stellar campaign, she is coming off the greatest single season in the history of Summit High soccer. Her 22 goals this spring ” all but six of the team’s total ” broke the school record by four goals (the former record holder, Amanda Groneman, was Harvey’s coach in fifth grade).
Harvey, a junior, scored her 22 goals in only eight games. The rest of the time Summit, which finished the year 4-8-1, was simply too overmatched across the rest of the field for its star striker to have an impact.
When she did have a chance ” in other words, when her teammates got her the ball ” she rarely let it pass without tickling the twine between the pipes. Anyone who has watched her play knows Harvey possesses a unique ability to elude those intent on containing her. She dribbles equally well with either foot, and she is just as precise and powerful a shooter with her left foot as she is with her right.
Emily Hawkins, a two-time all-league goalie for the Tigers, gets to face Harvey on a daily basis. Her analysis: “She knows where to go and how to fake you out. And she knows what you’re thinking.”
SHS coach Stephanie Johnson has been around soccer for 20 years. She says, “I haven’t seen many girls that compare with Hannah in that striker position.”
The key to Harvey’s dominance, Johnson said, is her ability to turn and face the goal. If the defender allows her to do so, it’s over. If the defender plays her tight and prevents Harvey from turning ” as the top teams did this season, when they shut her down ” the SHS junior has a difficult time making a difference.
Harvey herself agrees with her coach. Asked how many defenders it takes to create a fair matchup, she said: “It doesn’t really matter how many people there is; it’s the style, the type of defense they’re playing. If they’ll let me turn, I really like that.”
Her scoring prowess brought a newfound level of attention as the season wore on. Teams began assigning their top defender to shadow Harvey wherever she went. Sometimes it worked. More often it provided ammunition.
“I kinda like it more when they know me,” Harvey, 17, said. “Because they know what I got, so it’s fun to prove it to them.”
When the defenders swarm, she enjoys it more still.
“It’s like, ‘You’re tripping me and I can still score,'” she said.
If you ask Harvey to explain how she was so successful this year, a deep-seated fear starts to show. “I had a lot of teammates back there helping me out,” she says. “I just got lucky most of the time, I guess.”
A few seconds later, she adds: “I never could’ve done it without my teammates.”
Shortly thereafter: “I try to be a pass-first player all the time.”
Her point is obvious, and in a few minutes she will address it directly. In the meantime, however, her coach offers a dash of perspective on the prolific scorer’s worry of being perceived as selfish.
“I think every striker worries about that,” Johnson said. “I played striker in college; I worried about that. But it’s the position where you get the glory. Everybody’s got their role on the team and Hannah plays that role well. You’ve gotta come in to that position with a lot of confidence, and Hannah has that.”
Almost as compensation for her record-breaking numbers, Harvey concedes she is “by far” not the fastest player. How is she able to score so often in light of that? Must be her footwork, she guesses. And knowing where to play the ball, she supposes.
“Sometimes I feel really bad,” she said. “Like, especially in the one game when I scored six. I feel bad that people think I’m just scoring. I want people to think I’m a team player. And I try to be; it just so happens that I get the open shot and …”
She trails off, as if finishing the sentence will again isolate her in a spotlight she must consciously avoid these days.
“I just hope people don’t think I’m a ball hog or something like that,” she continues. “But if they’re gonna give it to me, I’m gonna take it.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User