Chris Schiemer and his Lake Norman girls’ lacrosse team were celebrating the 2011 season at their team dinner, when an important question came his mind.With two-year starting goalkeeper Catharine Savage graduating and no clear heir-apparent waiting in the wings, the Wildcats’ head coach asked his team if anyone wanted to try out for the goalie position.When midfielder Shannon Martin raised her hand and agreed to take on the challenge, neither the player nor her coach knew what to expect.“I knew we had some amazing midfielders ...and I knew it would be tough to get playing time in that group,” Martin said. “I was just trying to get as much playing time as I could. I also really like Cat and kind of idolized her as a younger player. I thought I had the quickness and some of the other skills to play in the goal, so I decided to give it my best shot.”Schiemer also enlisted his son, C.J., who was the Lake Norman boys’ lacrosse team’s goalkeeper at the time, to help train Martin. The younger Schiemer spent the entire fall, winter and preseason helping introduce Martin to the position and teaching her the skills she would need to become a quality goalkeeper.“C.J. was very patient with me and such a sweetheart to help me learn the position,” Martin said. “He taught me how to step to the ball and just how to play goalkeeper in general.”While Martin caught on quickly, helping lead her team to an 8-0 start last year, with 11 saves in an 11-9 win over Providence and 14 saves in a 14-11 victory over Hough, she had her ups and downs.“Shannon was good in the goal from the start, but she was a not great communicator to her teammates,” Coach Schiemer said. “Once she got the confidence that she could really play the position, now she is like the point guard of our team, always telling people where to be.”Martin, 18, carried that confidence and experience into this season, when the 5-foot-8 senior was determined to be better than ever.While Martin’s year-round work on the lacrosse field was a big key to her success, taking hundreds of shots in the backyard from her younger brother, Jay, also helped.Martin said she came up with the idea because she wanted to work as hard as she could to get ready for her senior season.“I really wanted to go all out and be at my very best,” she said.Martin saved 61 percent of opposing shots, giving up less than five goals per contest this season to help lead Lake Norman to an 18-1 record. The Wildcats’ only loss came in the state semifinal against Charlotte Catholic.The Lake Norman goalkeeper has had her best games in her team’s biggest moments, including a 16-save effort against Myers Park, 12 saves in a win over defending South Carolina champion Fort Mill and 16 saves in a 20-18 nail-biting victory over Marvin Ridge.Martin also had 11 saves in the Wildcats’ 23-12 rematch win against Myers Park in the state quarterfinals.While Martin has been big in her team’s success, she is quick to point out that she couldn’t have done it without the defense in front of her.“Everybody always wants to look at our offense and the 20 goals per game and that is great,” said Schiemer, whose team leads the state in goals scored and the least goals given up. “But our defense is what starts our offense and has been a big reason for our success.”Martin has reaped the rewards of Lake Norman’s success, signing a lacrosse scholarship with Mercer University, where she will help start the program in its inaugural season, before the Bears go to Division I play in 2015.Martin, who has a 4.6 grade-point-average, hopes to double major in biology and chemistry while also joining the Army ROTC program. She plans to be a trauma surgeon in the U.S. Army.While her role with the Wildcats may pale in comparison to her intended profession, it may also have prepared her for a challenge.“I put a lot of pressure on myself, no matter what I am doing,” Martin said. “I always want to be the best that I can be.”
Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2013
Lake Norman senior reaps reward from challenge
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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