High School Sports

Woods Charter girls soccer’s Isabel Pearce closes in on NCHSAA record

Isabel Pearce (22) of Woods Charter connects with a pass against the defense from Madison Fournier, left, and Ilaina Hertzig, right, of East Wake Academy. The Woods Charter Wolves played the East Wake Academy Eagles in a girls soccer game that took place in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Monday, May 1 2017. Woods Charter won 3-0.
Isabel Pearce (22) of Woods Charter connects with a pass against the defense from Madison Fournier, left, and Ilaina Hertzig, right, of East Wake Academy. The Woods Charter Wolves played the East Wake Academy Eagles in a girls soccer game that took place in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Monday, May 1 2017. Woods Charter won 3-0. newsobserver.com

The goals keep adding up for Woods Charter girls soccer player Isabel Pearce, and now she’s on the cusp of history.

The UNC-Greensboro-bound senior can break the N.C. High School Athletic Association record for most goals in a career in Wednesday’s third-round home playoff game against conference foe East Wake Academy.

Pearce is tied with South View’s Carolyn Lindsay (class of 2003) for the most with 217. Pearce had 45 goals her freshman year, 52 her sophomore campaign, 49 as a junior and 71 this year.

“She’s a dynamic player,” Woods Charter coach Graeme Stewart said. “She’s fast and powerful. She creates goals out of nothing. She’s scored against some of the best defenses in the state when we’ve played (Community School of Davidson) and Franklin Academy. We’re a 1A school, but she could start for anybody and be an asset with the way she scores goals.”

76: Sarah Winslow (Fike), 2006

75: Jane Cline (Charlotte Catholic), 2013

74: Katie Andreski (Wilkes Central), 2006

72: Sarah Winslow (Fike), 2003

71: Isabel Pearce (Woods Charter), 2017

Pearce accounts for 67 percent of the goals scored the Wolves (14-4-1) this year. Her total of 71 is fifth in NCHSAA history for goals in a single season, five behind Fike’s Sarah Winslow (class of 2006). Pearce passed Winslow’s 214 career goals in the first round and tied Lindsay’s mark in the second.

Pearce’s speed has always been an advantage she has used to score since she first followed her siblings into the sports playing in the Chatham Soccer League. Her brother Elliott was an all-conference player at Woods Charter and her sister Sophia played at both Woods Charter and Northwood.

217: Carolyn Lindsay (South View), 2000-2003 (48, 62, 56, 51)

217: Isabel Pearce (Woods Charter), 2014-17 (45, 52, 49, 71)

214: Sarah Winslow (Wilson Fike), 2003-06 (72, 17, 49, 76)

203: Stephanie Rose (White Oak), 2006-09 (47, 51, 49, 56)

But she began adding skill to her game at early age that will help her adjust to the college level. She first started playing for Under-6 teams, but she was soon playing up a couple of years with Under-10 and Under-12 teams.

“I matured earlier than everyone and was faster than everyone,” Pearce said. “When people starting catching up to me, I realized I couldn’t just run past people anymore. I had to develop skills – foot skills and deception. You have to be able cuts and not show where the ball is going. And you have to be explosive.”

Pearce talks about maturing physically earlier, but her focus on techniques and fundamentals also is a level of maturity. It will serve her well in college. Many high school stars in all sports struggle at the college level when they learn they can’t dominate with physical advantages alone.

“I love soccer because it’s a team game,” Pearce said. “You have to have a lot of moral support in the game. It feels like a second family, and that helps you grow as players and people.”

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