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GWINNETT GRADS: Central's Adeshigbin stars for Mizzou

Missouri Soccer Team Headshots - July 26, 2012

Missouri Soccer Team Headshots - July 26, 2012

Her long wait to play Division I soccer over, Taiwo Adeshigbin entered her first game at Missouri with excitement. She left it in a daze.

The Central Gwinnett grad banged heads with an opponent while fighting for an air ball, resulting in a concussion that marred her 2011 season, her first since transferring from two-year Georgia Perimeter College. She returned to play in 13 games with a couple of starts last fall, but never was quite right.

A year later, Adeshigbin is healthy and helping Mizzou in a big way. She leads the Tigers in goals and points, ranking in the SEC's top 10 in both categories.

"It's going great this year and it's so much different from last year, having the concussion and trying to fight back," Adeshigbin said. "This year, being healthy, I'm able to contribute more to our team."

Her path to Division I soccer wasn't a direct, or quick one.

Adeshigbin, a native Texan born to parents from Nigeria, had played soccer most of her life. She discovered volleyball as a seventh-grader and continued playing that sport in high school, splitting her time between it, soccer and Central's track and field team as a high-jumper.

As her high school career was winding down, she focused on playing college volleyball and declined the interest from college soccer recruiters. An injury that affected her volleyball pushed her back into soccer, but it was so late in the process there wasn't a ton of options at the next level.

She decided to stay close to home for the next two years, accepting an offer from Georgia Perimeter. The speedy 5-foot-9 forward got lots of college interest pretty quickly with her play at GPC, thanks to focusing solely on soccer.

She was among the nation's scoring leaders as a GPC sophomore with 32 goals and 15 assists, numbers that got her a spot in Division I soccer at Missouri.

"Honestly, I knew I could always play at this level," Adeshigbin said. "It took being focused on one thing. People always told me, even people on other teams, how far I could get in soccer. But I didn't think much of it. I thought I would play college volleyball."

The decision to play soccer has been a huge boost for Missouri, which took a 5-1 record into Friday night's Southeastern Conference opener at Auburn. Adeshigbin has team highs of four goals and nine points.

The Tigers' first SEC season will be a special one for the team and for Adeshigbin, who returns to Georgia on Sept. 28 to play the Bulldogs in Athens.

"We definitely have high expectations this year," Adeshigbin said. "We're excited about the new conference and we're excited to show everybody who we are."

SOCCER

Sayre named Peach Belt's top goalkeeper

South Gwinnett grad Mallory Sayre was named the Peach Belt Conference goalkeeper of the week on Monday.

The North Georgia freshman played all 270 minutes in goal the previous week and allowed just one goal. The Saints' foes attempted 44 shots and she stopped 20, highlighted by back-to-back shutouts vs. Florida Southern and Rollins in the West Florida Tournament.

Her 11 saves against 16th-ranked Rollins was second-most in school history.

Sayre currently leads the Peach Belt in saves (29) and is second in goals-against average (0.21).

Wallingford named player of the week

Berry College sophomore Zak Wallingford, a Collins Hill grad, was named the Southern Athletic Association player of the week earlier this week.

Wallingford scored three goals, including game-winners in matches vs. Ramapo and Rowan on a New Jersey road trip, the previous week as the Vikings improved to 4-0 on the season.

Berry is ranked fourth in the latest NSCAA NCAA Division III South Atlantic poll. The Vikings' roster also includes Dacula's Chris Jeanfreau and Collins Hill's Josh Fancher.

FOOTBALL

Quick hits

South Gwinnett grad Aaron Wimberly, a sophomore at Iowa Western Community College, rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown last Saturday as the seventh-ranked Reivers beat No. 6 Trinity Valley, 44-20. Wimberly has made a commitment to play his final two seasons at Iowa State. ... Norcross' D.J. Adams rushed for 144 yards and a TD Saturday, but Portland State lost 45-37 to North Dakota. ... Collins Hill's Taylor Heinicke completed 20 of 32 passes for 213 yards to lead Old Dominion to a 45-7 win over Hampton. He also led the Monarchs with 11 rushes for 55 yards. ... Buford's Dominique Swope rushed for 129 yards and a score, but Georgia Southern lost 23-21 to The Citadel.

CROSS COUNTRY

Boetje wins for GSU

Mill Creek grad Austin Boetje won the individual title to lead Georgia State to first place in the 37th annual GSU Invite last weekend.

The sophomore's winning 6K time was 19 minutes, 57.57 seconds. Teammate Carlos Gallindo, a Collins Hill grad, was fifth (20:24.75) as the Panthers edged Emory by two points for first place.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.