hat does it take to score 30 goals in 15 games? “I don’t really have an answer for that,” said Granite Hills’ Mercedes Steidley.
Steidley’s response is understandable considering that it may be hard to imagine scoring 30 goals in 15 games. Steidley became the first player ever at Granite Hills to accomplish the feat.
Steidley, who is a junior with the Granite Hills girls soccer team, has already scored 81 goals in her career as she scored 24 goals as a freshman and 27 goals as a sophomore.
After shutout losses against Monache and Poterville High, Steidley is still sitting with 30 goals in 17 games this season. That still ranks her 33rd in the nation, 16th in the state and fourth in the Central Section in goals scored per game.
And Granite Hills coach Gabe Rodriguez figures Steidley could have even more impressive numbers next season with the Grizzlies move to the East Seqouia League as opposed to competing in the East Yosemite League. “It will be interesting to see what she can do against similar-sized schools,” Rodriguez said.
And Steidley did come up with an answer when she was able to think about what it took to score 30 goals in 15 games. “A lot of practice. Lots and lots,” said Steidley, who has scored six goals in a game this season. “And a lot of help from coaches and parents.”
And of course, Steidley, who has played soccer since she was four, said she couldn’t have done it without her teammates. “It takes a lot of work and a lot of encouragement from the people around you, especially the people on teh field,” she said.
Rodriguez said Steidley, who was named as a team captain this season, has become more of a complete player this year. “She has come into her own this year,” Rodriguez said. “She’s become a coach on the field which is absolutely wonderful.”
And Steidley has become a more complete offensive weapon as well, Rodriguez said. “Any time she’s in the defensive third could be a scoring chance for us,” he said. “She’s that dangerous. She’s starting to understand openings. She’s really understanding she has the potential and the shot to put it in from anywhere on the pitch.”
When talking about coaching Steidley, Rodriguez said he couldn’t begin to describe “how much of a pleasure it is to coach such a talented player.”