Many sports have their own interpretations of a hat trick, but soccer has made the term internationally famous. A hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals in one match.
It’s a difficult feat to accomplish even once, but Lakeview Academy freshman Millie Filson secured a hat trick in five consecutive games, culminating a five goal performance against George Walton Academy on Thursday.
Scoring goals triggers a rush like no other, Filson says.
“It makes you want to keep going even though you’re so tired,” she said through a smile. “It makes you want to keep going more and more and help your teammates win more games. It’s the best feeling.”
Head coach Nathan Wallace didn’t notice the achievement until Filson's fourth hat trick.
“The team is not really individual,” Wallace said. “It just so happens that she’s the one who’s getting them. We recognize it, but at the same time, everybody is contributing.”
Filson leads the Lady Lions in goals (24) and assists (12). She is one of eight freshmen who’ve started games this season.
Twelve of the team’s 24 girls are ninth graders, something Wallace still has trouble fathoming.
“This freshmen class is a first,” Wallace said. “Never have I had this. You’re lucky if you get five or six. The fact that I pulled 12 — and almost all of them can play — is rare. I won’t see it again.”
Lakeview Academy holds many advantages. The Lady Lions middle school soccer team acts as the junior varsity squad, accelerating many young athletes past the high school adjustment period. Freshmen like Filson develop sooner.
Even still, Filson seems to be of a different breed.
“There are a decent amount of players who know what’s going on, or they just kick the ball,” Wallace said. “There are players who are really athletic and just beat people. Millie kind of has everything.”
She reads the game very well and, as Wallace said, “has a knack for the goal.
“She knows how to position herself. She knows how to find the goal — how to find the goalkeeper and find the spots open for her.”
When an athlete is naturally talented at his or her sport, some movements, placements, perceptions just come easier — essentially, an athlete’s intuition.
Last weekend, Filson traveled to Virginia for a college showcase. She plays year-round in club and travel ball where she originally found her stride at forward.
Playing forward is the ultimate position for Filson to exhibit her talents. Wallace started the season with her at midfield, but an itch kept drawing her to forward.
“She’s a goal scorer,” Wallace said. “Once we put her at top, it changed. We’ve been dominating since then.”
The Lady Lions (7-3, 4-0 Region 8-A) are now on a six-game win streak.
Filson’s impressive first half of the season reminds Wallace of a similarly auspicious scorer — Carmen Wagner. The Lakeview Academy great is Hall County’s all-time leading scorer (111).
“Millie is one of those kids who we knew was special,” Wallace said. “You can tell by just watching her play just a little bit. She knows what she’s doing. She’s got it.”