Wilsonville sophomore striker is a scoring machine
Lindsey Antonson is so good at putting the ball in the back of the net that the Wilsonville sophomore scores goals even when she's not supposed to.
"Instead of trying to embarrass somebody we work on certain goals," said Wilsonville coach Dwight Sheppick, referring to the second half of the Wildcats 10-0 win at Parkrose last Tuesday. "We put Lindsey in the back just to let her play a little bit more and she got excited. She's got the mindset to put the ball in the net, and that's what she does, and I don't really want to change that."
"It was just habit," said Antonson, who finished the game with three goals, two of which came at forward.
Antonson scored two more goals Thursday in a 7-0 victory over St. Helens, bringing her season total to 26.
With three older siblings who also played the game, Antonson has been around soccer for most of her life.
She remembers watching the 2011 Wilsonville girls soccer team, which included her sister Courtney, fall to Sherwood by penalty kicks in the Class 5A state championship game.
At around 8 years old, Antonson started playing club at Willamette United in West Linn.
She then moved on to Southside Soccer Club in Tigard, and now plays for Crossfire United's ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) program.
With Crossfire, Antonson plays soccer year-round all over the Northwest. The club also has traveled to showcases in Texas and will go to Florida next year.
"I've just always loved the game," Antonson said. "It's a big part of my life."
Sheppick, who first got to know Antonson as an 11-year-old at Southside, was not surprised to see her score 22 goals for Wilsonville last season as a freshman.
"It didn't surprise me a bit," Sheppick said. "It surprised a lot of people and I just kind of laughed."
Antonson was voted the NWOC's Co-Player of the Year and First Team all-state.
"I was really nervous going into my freshman year, but once the games started, I just felt like I was playing a normal soccer game," Antonson said. "I didn't have any goals to score a ton. I just went out there and tried my best and just went out and scored so we could win more."
The Wildcats finished 7-0 in league play, but lost to Crescent Valley, the eventual 5A state champion, 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs.
A year older, Antonson felt like even more was expected of her this season.
"I just wanted to keep up the same pace, but I kind of put this pressure on myself that I had to live up to that and keep doing even better than last year," she said.
While Antonson has received more attention from defenses, especially early in the season during Wilsonville's nonleague schedule, she has continued to score at a record pace.
Antonson scored three goals in Wildcats season opener, a 4-3 victory at Bend. She then scored four goals in a 10-0 win over The Dalles, and put five balls in the back of the net against Milwaukie.
"It's definitely been harder to score this year, but I'm just happy because it means a lot of my other teammates are stepping up and scoring," Antonson said. "Renee (Lee), Araxi (Tejada-Martinez), Karina (Borgen), Haley (Stahl), all of them are really stepping up and doing a good job of not only giving me chances to score, but also separating themselves from their defenders and scoring."
The return of Lee, who sat out last season, also has helped. Lee scored two goals in Wilsonville's 5-3 win over Caby on Sept. 26.
"Our defense has really stepped it up this year, and they've been doing really, really well, and the midfielders being able to get the ball from the defenders and distribute really good passes to forwards has really helped this year," Antonson added.
According to her coach, Antonson is a natural scorer.
"She's just one of the most focused kids I've coached," Sheppick said. "She's got that mindset that as a striker you get the ball and your job is to score. There's many kids, even on this team, who are too unselfish. They get the ball looking to pass it and your first option is always to score, to beat this person and score, and Lindsey's got that mindset."
Sheppick is surprised defenses have not done more to try to stop Antonson.
Only one team, Scappoose, has tracked her for an entire game, and Antonson still scored two goals in the second half to lead the Wildcats to a 3-2 win on Oct. 9.
"Lindsey is smart enough that she moves until she finds that crease that she can get through and she'll make that quick touch to split somebody and get after it, and you don't see a lot of that," Sheppick said.
With 48 career goals, and counting, in her first two seasons, Sheppick sees Antonson scoring 100 goals by the time she graduates.
"I love having her," Sheppick said. "I plan on being here two more years and then when she's leaving, I'm leaving. I want to see her score that 100th goal."
Antonson has a different goal in mind before she graduates.
"I really want to win a state championship here," she said.
With Antonson, Wilsonville will have a shot at the state title. Entering this week, the Wildcats were No. 6 in OSAA's rankings with two games remaining.
"She's a machine," Sheppick said. "She's special. You need a special player if you're going to compete for a state championship. She puts us in that conversation."
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