BEAUFORT — Gracie Somers has the record for goals in a season by an East Carteret soccer player, and she still has at least one more game remaining.
The junior forward matched the record of 36 goals set by Alex DeOliveira in 2014 earlier in the month. She scored her 37th and 38th goals of the year Friday in a 4-0 victory over Voyager Academy in the second round of the 1A playoffs.
“Coach (Antonio Diaz) told me after,” she said. “He told me right when I scored 36. I was like, ‘Wow, I wish you told me that before.”
After a moment of reflection, Somers, who ranks fifth in goals in the 1A division, realized that perhaps her coach had taken the right approach after all.
“Yeah, it probably worked out better that way,” she said. “I probably would have put too much pressure on myself if I knew.”
Somers, who has the career record for goals by an East girls player with 74, tied the record for goals in a season by a girls player a long time ago. She matched the mark of 21 in the 14th game of the year with two goals in a 5-1 win over Lejeune. Emy Cloutier set the previous record last season.
Somers netted 18 goals last year as a sophomore after scoring that many as a freshman, which begs the question, where have these 38 goals come from this season?
“I don’t really know,” she said. “I guess I’ve played forward more, but I don’t really know. I just kept trying to score.”
The talented forward has scored in 17 of the Mariners’ 22 games. In 11 of those contests, she’s scored multiple goals, including registering a hat trick in seven matches. She had four goals apiece in three games, including the first match of the campaign – a 9-0 win over Bartlett Yancey.
“I start like that every year,” Somers said.
In the first game of 2018, she also tallied four goals in a 6-1 victory over East Duplin.
The record-breaking year hasn’t been relegated to Somers’ performance.
East has also destroyed the previous record for wins with an 18-4 mark. The previous high for victories came in 2014 and then 2015 with 12. This year’s 18 wins stand in stark contrast to Somers’ first two seasons when the Mariners went 7-9 and 11-13, respectively.
“That is a really is a good record for us,” she said. “We’ve played really well. We’ve worked together and gotten along, and I think that makes a big difference, getting along and supporting each other.”
East swept 2A Onslow County programs Dixon, Richlands and Southwest Onslow and went 4-0 in penalty-kick shootouts with two wins each over Dixon and Richlands.
“When we beat Dixon, Richlands, when we started beating those tough teams, that is when I thought the season could be special,” Somers said. “Those PK wins were very stressful, but they definitely gave us confidence, though.”
Following a 2-2 start to the year, East has gone 16-2 with its only losses coming to 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference champion Croatan, which went 14-0 in the league and is now 20-3 overall. The Cougars beat the Beaufort squad 6-1 in the first matchup and 1-0 in the rematch.
“We didn’t play well when we first played Croatan,” Somers said. “We didn’t have a lot of confidence going into that game. The second time, we knew how they played, and we thought we could be even with them.”
The Mariners will face Roxboro Community School (15-4) tonight at home in the third round of the playoffs. They went to the fourth round last year and advanced to the third round in Somers’ freshman season.
“I think we’ll play well against Roxboro,” Somers said. “I think Saturday (if East advances) will be tough. I think we have a lot better chance this year of going farther in the playoffs. We weren’t all on the same page before, but now we’re all trying to go all the way.”
The Mariners are also set up to have a successful campaign in Somers’ senior season. They will lose three seniors from a team that features nine freshmen.
“We have some good freshmen on the team, a lot of young talent,” Somers said. “I give them a lot of credit for our season. A lot of them start and play a lot of minutes. They’ve been playing soccer for a long time.”
A standout student with a 3.85 GPA, Somers said she is talking to a couple of colleges about playing soccer at the next level, including Wingate.
“I want to play Division II,” she said. “I don’t want to play Division I. I don’t want that much responsibility. It’s really tough at that level.”
Here are a few of Somers’ favorite things, as well as her ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse and the five items she would take with her on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “The Kissing Booth.”
Favorite TV Show: “Riverdale.”
Favorite Cartoon: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Taylor Swift.
Favorite Song: “Better Now” by Post Malone.
Favorite Book: The Face of Fear by Dean Koontz.
Favorite Team: U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
Favorite Athlete: Alex Morgan.
Favorite Vacation: London, England.
Favorite Hobby: Going to the beach with my friends.
Favorite Subject: Science.
Favorite Quote: “Success isn’t given, it is earned. On the track, on the field, in the gym. With blood, sweat and the occasional tear.”
Favorite Food: Tacos.
Favorite Drink: Dr. Pepper.
Favorite Restaurant: Plaza Mexico.
Favorite Season: Summer.
Favorite Sports Memory: Beating West Carteret.
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Antonio Diaz.
Favorite Sport: Soccer.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Praying before games.
Favorite Website/App: Snapchat.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Chandler Dixon, Abby Bullard, Katy Willis, Emy Cloutier, Breslyn Studebaker and coach Antonio Diaz.
Items For A Deserted Island: Water, food, tent, phone and boat.