Sunday, June 24, 2018
Sports

Girls soccer: Fab freshman keys Mitchell's unbeaten run

NEW PORT RICHEY — Before she graduated in 2006 and committed to the University of North Georgia, Mitchell's Lauren Schenk established herself as one of Pasco County's top scorers of all time.

This year, Mitchell has another player who reminds Mustangs coach Karl Kukec of Schenk.

Sabrina Wagner has played 18 games in her high school career, and the freshman already has 28 goals.

"She's played several positions, and she excels in this sport in any position," Kukec said. "She's definitely going to make her mark."

She isn't new to soccer or to being coached by Kukec. She began playing when she was 4 years old, watching her older brother play.

"I always wanted to be better than him — at everything," Wagner said. "So I started playing."

It didn't take long for her talent to become obvious. Kukec met her four years after she started, with West Pasco Soccer. He was the director of coaching, and even then, he said she was one of the top scorers among girls her age.

"She's very coachable, and she's a natural goal scorer," Kukec said. "I'm happy to have her."

Kukec describes Wagner as an aggressive, fearless player. Her stats back up his assessment. In addition to 28 goals, she has eight assists for 64 total points.

The pressure could have been dialed up for Wagner when Taylor Meek was sidelined with a knee injury last week. Meek, a senior, is Mitchell's second-leading scorer with 18 goals.

Meek had an MRI exam early this week to determine whether it was an ACL tear, and she could be out for the season.

"It's very sad about Taylor," Kukec said. "She did very well this year. But injuries, that's something you know you'll have to deal with."

Wagner said she isn't feeling added pressure. The Mustangs are 18-0, and their 6-0 district mark wrapped up the top seed for the upcoming 4A-8 tournament, ahead of No. 2 Freedom (4-1-1) and No. 3 Sickles (3-2-1).

"I feel like we have good enough players on our team that even though one player's down, we should be fine," Wagner said.

Kukec agreed. He said he placed junior Amanda Hayes at forward last year, and he would be comfortable doing so again. Hayes has 11 goals and 13 assists this season. Last year, she had 33 goals.

"I'm confident that they'll do very well up on top," Kukec said. "So I do have options."

Though Wagner is years away from any decisions about college play, Kukec already says it's possible she'll go to a Division I program. Wagner knows she wants to stay in Florida, so her dream schools are FSU and UF.

It isn't her aggressive style of play that has put her among the top North Suncoast players, though.

"I think a lot of it has to do with the players on my team helping me, and making opportunities for me," Wagner said. "I wouldn't have this many goals without them."

Mary Kenney can be reached at [email protected] Find her on Twitter @MaryKNews.

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