Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sports

Freshman striker a rising star at Newsome

LITHIA

She hasn't been half bad for a girl who never expected to be in the starting lineup.

Newsome's striker Lindsey Eaton has been on a whirlwind freshman tour through the county, but prior to the Wolves' season-opening match against Land O'Lakes, Eaton figured to be at best a late-match substitute.

But just before the starting lineup was called to midfield, Eaton heard the news.

"I found out probably a minute before the start of the game," she said. "I didn't really expect to play at all."

But there she was, starting up top for one of the area's premier soccer powers as a freshman. Predictably, butterflies caromed around in Eaton's belly.

"I was so nervous," she said. "Really, really, nervous."

But almost as suddenly as she discovered she was playing, Eaton made her presence known. Just 10 minutes into the match, Eaton scored her first high school goal.

"The kid," coach Kelly Townsend says, "is the real deal."

And since that first strike in the opener, Eaton has been on a tear. She's tallied 14 goals (as of press time) through 10 games for the 7-1-2 Wolves.

"Being a freshman, there is a lot of pressure on me," she said. "I have some big shoes to fill."

Townsend, who first saw Eaton as a fifth-grader at a Newsome soccer camp, said she "was blown away" at tryouts.

"Lindsey has unbelievable ball skills," Townsend said. "She's definitely fast without the ball. She's even faster with it."

Eaton has a pair of hat tricks (Wharton, East Bay) and two goals each against Sun Lake and Strawberry Crest.

"I still get nervous before each game," Eaton said. "It's a huge relief when I score. Like a giant weight lifted off my shoulders."

Eaton has helped shoulder the scoring load while senior Taylor Decaire, a University of Tampa commit, recovers from June knee surgery. Decaire led the Wolves with 17 goals last year but when she returns, which should come after the holiday break, it won't be in place of Eaton.

"I plan to have them both in the lineup," Townsend said. "Teams usually man-mark Taylor but I don't know how you'll be able to stop them both."

Decaire's injury hasn't been the only ailment for the Wolves. Newsome lost Times first team All County defender Karli Gutsche, who injured her knee last week and starting outside back Brooke Dejong (knee).

"Yeah, I've definitely been pleased that we've started out so well with all the injuries," Townsend said. "We just need to finish strong before the break and stay consistent."

Brandon Wright can be reached at [email protected]

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