From across the field, North Hall soccer player Tess Patton can be heard yelling, “through,” “play it up,” “I’m ready” or, as was the case in a practice scrimmage Monday afternoon at North Hall Middle School, “I know! I (stink)!”
Patton, a freshman forward for the Class AAA No. 7-ranked Lady Trojans, helped her team finish the regular season with an undefeated record in Area 7-AAA capped by a 7-0 rout of Lumpkin County last week.
The ninth grader had three goals within the first 10 minutes of the match and finished the regular season-ending match with a total of four goals.
For her efforts, Patton has been named The Times Athlete of the Week.
“It felt good,” Patton said of her three quick goals to open the game.
“We wanted to come out and score early, try and put the game away early and I was happy and surprised that we did it that well.”
“You can look at her and tell she’s not the size of a regular freshman,” North Hall coach Paul Brown said. “She has brought more scoring to our team and made us more of an offensive threat.
“She’s also been seeing the kind of pressure that the current competition brings since her early days of playing, so she’s used to it.”
Pressure is one way of putting it.
Patton’s most recent soccer-driven and pressure-packed excursion took her to Costa Rica where she, along with 14 other hand-picked members of the Olympic Development Program, took on the national teams of Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and the host country.
The highlight of the trip for Patton came in a second-half score against Trinidad and Tobago.
“It was fun to go in and score immediately,” the 15-year-old Patton said.
“International play is hard but I feel like I know more about the game from playing it. It also doesn’t hurt that the coaches are good.”
On Friday at The Brickyard, Patton will lead North Hall into a first-round state playoff game with Class AAA No. 4-ranked Grady, the fourth seed out of Region 5-AAA.
“Grady is a legitimate concern,” Brown said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us but we are hoping for good things.”