Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Parkview's Kim Spence set records for single-season and career goals this year and has been named the Daily Post's girls soccer Player of the Year.
Even Judson Hamby had some doubts when senior Kim Spence told him one of her aspirations, to break the single-season goal record for the prestigious Parkview girls soccer program.
The Panthers coach knew she would score goals as she always has, but he wasn't certain she could get to 30 goals, the mark set in 1993 by Jenny Crawford. Not against Parkview's typically demanding schedule. And not with her barely playing in her team's scarce blowout victories.
"I was thinking at first, no way," Hamby said. "Like past years, I knew Kim would be double-teamed and triple-teamed all the time. She was going to get beat up. So for her to score more than 30 goals shows how great her desire is."
Spence, the Daily Post's girls soccer player of the year, accomplished that feat this season with a school-record 33 goals. She also pushed her career goals total to 90, also taking over the No. 1 spot from Crawford, a former Clemson standout who had the previous mark of 85.
The scoring explosion was an improvement on the steady scoring of her first three seasons -- 18, 21 and 18 -- despite getting more attention from defenses than ever before in her career. She also became known for scoring big, game-winning goals throughout her career, a trend that continued this season with a late game-winner in a second-round showdown with state-title contender Lassiter.
"It was such a great feeling (to get the records)," Spence said. "From freshman year when I had 18 goals, that's when I started to pay attention to who had the records. ... When it came down to senior year, it was my last year. I wanted to give everything I had to try and break it."
Hamby is quick to point out that Spence's play is far from selfish. She's goal-hungry, but has always been key in setting up opportunities for her teammates.
She finished her career with 33 assists, only three shy of Kara Palmquist's school record from 1995-1998.
"Just looking at her numbers, they're pretty impressive," Hamby said. "For her to break the career scoring marks, those have been around 17 years during Parkview's history of success. It says a lot about her and what she brought to us.
"If you had told me we'd have a freshman back in 2007 to come in and score 18 goals, I would have said no way. But her and the other seniors (off this year's team) came in and took us to high levels."
The Parkview senior class won the ultimate prize, the Class AAAAA title, for three straight seasons. The goal was for a fourth this season, but it was derailed with a stunning upset loss to Northview in the semifinals.
"It was rough, especially to be in the semis, so close to the finals and to only lose by one, it was rough," said Spence, who scored her team's only goal in the semis for an early 1-0 lead. "It was hard right after, then you think about the three in a row we won, that was a great accomplishment in itself. But then it's hard not to think about losing that last one, especially your senior year."
Spence has battled knee problems the last two seasons, but she hopes to correct the problem with surgery next week. Her doctor is hopeful the issue is minor, giving her a prognosis of being out of soccer eight weeks at the most.
She's eager to return so she can play and possibly start later this year as an Auburn freshman.
"I think she's going to go right in and compete at Auburn," Hamby said.
"I'm going to try and recover and rehab because I do want to come in and work my way into being a starter," Spence said. "That's my ultimate goal."
And as Hamby knows well, don't doubt Spence when it comes to goals.