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Mustang looks beyond 100

In a record-breaking season, Lauren Schenk will not forget Dec. 15.

Her sixth hat trick of the season led Mitchell to an 8-0 win over Gulf.

On a grander scale, it made Schenk the Mustangs' first 100-goal scorer.

"I think it's pretty awesome," Schenk said. "I think it's pretty cool being the first one in (school) history. Being the first, you can't beat that."

Next up for Schenk is the school's single-season mark held by Kate Slaughter, a 2004 graduate who last season had 37 goals and finished with 95. Schenk enters today's game against Springstead with 105 overall and 37 this season.

With two 35-goal seasons and the potential for much more this season, the junior forward has one more season to add to both records so that even the best of phenoms might not challenge. Schenk, however, said she does not believe her records will stand the test of time.

"There's always somebody bigger and better out there," she said.

For now, Schenk is Mitchell's best.

"She makes them a better team," Land O'Lakes coach Vicky King said. "She's their strongest player."

Although promising freshman Lea Weber (24 goals, 65 points) has emerged as a Mitchell scoring threat, Schenk has shouldered more of the offensive load because she is playing her first varsity season without Slaughter. Last season, Schenk finished second and Slaughter third in county scoring, combining for 72 goals and 177 points.

Schenk and Slaughter also teamed up to help Mitchell win the first of two district titles. Schenk passed to Slaughter for a breakaway goal in the 2003 Class 5A, District 5 final, a 1-0 win over archrival Land O'Lakes.

"(Slaughter) helped me get used to the high school game," Schenk said. "She taught me to find the back of the net and about the defenders."

Schenk and Slaughter enjoyed two seasons of pushing one another in a friendly competition for the team's scoring title. Although Slaughter is gone, Mitchell coach Karl Kukec said he is not concerned about Schenk's motivation.

Kukec told Schenk she would have to shoulder more of the offensive load this season, and the coach said his scoring leader is stronger and quicker than ever.

"I think she's more well-rounded," Kukec said of Schenk in a comparison with Slaughter. "She's overall the better player.

"Kate had one big asset in that she was very quick. When Lauren gets the ball, she can do things with it that Kate couldn't. She's got a better touch. She's got a better understanding of the game."

Schenk also understands her team's rivalry with Land O'Lakes. Despite the Mustangs' win over the Gators for the past two district titles, Mitchell bowed out of the playoffs in the region semifinals after those seasons while Land O'Lakes advanced to two state semifinals and won the 2A title in 2003.

Schenk had two goals in Friday's 3-2 loss to Land O'Lakes and is eager to face the Gators again in the 5A-5 tournament at Gator Stadium.