A-K Valley Girls High School Athlete of the Week, Sept. 15, 2021: Grace Gent, Springdale

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 | 10:36 AM

Grace Gent

Class: Junior

School: Springdale

Sport: Soccer

Report Card: Gent got off to a strong start by scoring five goals in a 7-2 season-opening win over Deer Lakes. She added two more goals in an 11-1 victory over Highlands on Wednesday. Gent had a pair of goals in Springdale’s 4-1 win over Bentworth in the first round of the playoffs last year.

Was five goals the most you’ve ever scored in a game, and how did it feel to get off to such a good start?

It was definitely the most I’ve scored in a game. It was a Saturday morning game, and I got a good night’s rest before. I woke up with confidence. I was really excited for the game. I’m usually nervous, but I was more excited than nervous this time. We played as a team, and as soon as I scored that first goal … that was it. I was so excited, and I told myself I was scoring more. Next thing I knew I got two then three then four. I kept crashing the net, and then I got my fifth. I couldn’t have done it without my team. We worked together, and it was a great game for all of us.

What’s been the key to Springdale’s good start?

We’ve been working well in the middle. Our passing and connecting together has been great. Our chemistry is off to a great start, and it’s going to keep improving.

What is an area of your game that you’ve been working on that has allowed you to flourish as a goal scorer?

I’m right footed, but I started messing around and shooting with my left foot, so now I am confident finishing with both of my feet. It really comes in handy with through-balls. Whatever angle it comes from, I know I can take it with either foot. I’m lucky to have Coach (Marc) Bentley help me with my finishing.

Who has been a big influence on your soccer career?

My coaches and my teammates. I’ve been working with the same girls my entire life, and we know how each other plays and are always there for each other. Our coaches always strive to help every single one of us and are always there for us no matter what. They bring me up when I’m down, and they’ll help me improve on my skills and whatever I’m struggling with.

Do you have any superstitions or pregame routines?

I do, but it’s mostly a mentality thing. I struggle with being anxious and nervous, so I just tell myself to relax and that everything is going to be good. I’ve figured out that having a good time before a game helps me go in with much more confidence than sitting there with a bunch of nerves. I remind myself to be happy that I’m there and keep a mental state of positivity.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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