Nathan Wallace’s announcements to his Lakeview Academy’s girls soccer program about its high-scoring forward Carmen Wagner had a tendency to have something to do with a new scoring record. The most profound came during the senior night game April 12 against North Hall.
With goal No. 101 in her standout four-year career for the Lady Lions, Wagner became the all-time leading scorer in Hall County history. Wallace made a point to check with all the county schools to verify the mark, which was previously held by Johnson’s Gabi Lepeltier at an even 100.
“It was crazy,” Wagner said. “I thought the record would be like, 110 or 115, but apparently it was 100 and the girl from Johnson who had the record before was insanely good. It is crazy to think I’m up on that level and I accomplished that.”
Before it was finished, the Davidson College signee put the ball in the back of the net 10 more times to complete her high school career with 111 goals.
“She is a quiet leader,” Wallace said. “She never boasts and you never have to keep her ego in check and she works hard. Her actions do the talking and the girls love her.
“She is a superstar that does not act like a superstar.”
It wasn’t the first time Wallace found a break in the action to congratulate Wagner on reaching a milestone. During a 2016 game against West Hall, Wallace announced at halftime that his leading scorer’s goal broke the previous school mark set by Holly Bales (51).
Her four-year career was not always smooth sailing. Despite playing in only four games due to an avulsion hip fracture her freshman season, during which she found the back of the net eight times, a strong indicator of what was to come revealed itself when she was fully healed.
In the Lady Lions’ first region match of the 2014 season against Hebron Christian, Wagner sustained the injury while going for a ball. The injury caused excruciating pain. She was put on crutches for a pair of weeks and also took part in physical therapy to overcome the setback.
“I just had hip problems I was out for a couple games for that because it was hurting a lot” Wagner said.
In the remaining years, Wagner’s goal was total 37, 32 and 34 — consistent numbers for the Lady Lions’ leading scoring threat.
On senior night, Wagner was presented a soccer ball with the ‘100’ printed clearly to signify the significant and rare milestone. She logged a hat trick to reach the 100-goal mark in an 8-0 blanking against George Walton Academy the previous match.
Then two goals against Towns County put her No. 1 all-time among high school girls soccer career goals scored in Hall County.
Wagner didn’t know she accomplished that feat until the team’s senior night activities. When the Lady Lions star forward walked out on the field, flanked by family members, it was announced over the loudspeaker she had set the all-time mark.
“I’m very proud of her,” Wallace said. “She has been a phenomenal player for us.
“We have been spoiled to have her with us for the past four years.”
Wagner, who also took advanced placement classes at Lakeview Academy, is humble and never wants to take the credit for her team’s success. She said it is a team effort and everyone contributed en route to making the second round of the Class A private school playoffs in 2017. The recent Lakeview Academy grad said that her teammates always put her in a good position to score. Meredith Tucker was steadily racking up the assists by finding Wagner for the shot on goal.
“She is good with the ball, especially when we are attacking,” Tucker said. “She is a skilled and a smart player.
Sometimes you will have players who are really skilled but do not play smart; she does both.”
Success never got to Wagner’s head, Tucker said. Wallace agrees. Wallace said that sometimes the girls would praise her and Wagner would just give a nervous chuckle and compliment her teammates.
She saved her biggest moments for the most important games.
As a junior, Wagner scored the tying and go-ahead goal for Lakeview Academy in the final 15 minutes to beat Hebron Christian, 2-1, and lock up its first region championship since 2003.
Carmen’s mother, Michele, remembers another time in her daughter’s career when she was clutch for her club team United Futbol Academy. The Lakeview Academy standout scored the game-winning goal in her club’s championship game to beat the Florida Krush, 1-0.
“She has a drive and has the willingness to work hard and has a great ability to score,” said Iggy Moleka, who serves on the UFA executive board and worked with Wagner in the past. “She has never missed a practice and is always on time and she knows how to cover the field.
“She has a sense for the goal and knows when to pull the trigger at the right time and accurately.”
Carmen will be playing for her club team this summer. After summer break, the Lakeview grad will be taking her talents to Davidson College women’s soccer program. Michele feels that her daughter will be successful at Davidson.
“I have a tremendous amount of pride in her.” Michele said. “I am proud of what she has done on and off the field, she has a competitive drive and has good time-management skills.”
Carmen plans on working her way to Davidson’s starting lineup. Her Lakeview girls soccer program and her family think she will do just fine as a Lady Wildcat and score goals for them.