Lake Norman & Mooresville

Right time, right place (plus talent, focused training)

Allison Stearns wasn't the most experienced player on North Mecklenburg's 4A championship girls' soccer team, but the sophomore came up huge this season for the Vikings.

Stearns led the team in goals with 20 this season, excelling at her attacking midfielder position.

But when the season began, she didn't care about personal stats as long as her team could accomplish its goals - to win the conference and to win a state championship.

"I wasn't trying to be leading scorer or anything because the team was more important than having glory for myself," said Stearns.

That mentality paid off as Stearns went on to be named all-conference, all-region and all-state.

Stearns, who referred to her playing style as possessive, is humble about her scoring abilities. She gives her teammates most of the credit.

"I was just there sometimes at the right place, right time to finish a cross from one of my teammates," she said. "They set me up for it most of the time."

Stearns' most significant goal of the season came in the 4A championship game, when she scored the only goal in regulation for the Vikings.

North Meck's opponent in that game, Hoggard, went on to tie the game and would force North Meck into double overtime before heading to penalty kicks.

Stearns admits that the pressure of penalty kicks was just too much for her.

"It was nerve-racking," she said, as she explained that she asked Vikings coach Neil Roberts to not make her kick a penalty kick.

"It was just right after the game, and I just knew that mentally I didn't think I could do it. I guess it was a good choice." Lisa Myers, the team's eighth kicker, scored the title-winning PK.

Winning the state championship was without a doubt Stearns' highlight of the year.

"It was the best feeling in the world," she said. "You couldn't be any happier than winning that championship you've worked so hard for."

Stearns got into soccer at the age of 4 when her parents signed her up for a co-ed league. It was at these early levels of the sport that Stearns began to realize that the game was for her - and that she could excel.

At age 8, she was moved up an age group because her talent was up to their level.

Stearns said the love of the game has kept her interested in the sport, adding that the team nature of soccer is one of her favorite aspects.

"I just have fun playing it, and I'm a competitive person, so I've just stuck with soccer," she said.

Stearns has played attacking midfielder and forward, but enjoys playing in the middle more.

"You get everything going - you're kind of like the quarterback of the soccer field," the 16-year-old said, adding that the position not only puts her in a good position to score goals but also to place the ball for her teammates to have a chance to score.

Stearns plays the sport year-long to stay fit. She plays for Lake Norman Soccer Club's Eclipse team.

She will spend a large part of her free time this summer playing in tournaments for her club team. She also plays for the team during the fall and winter..

"I really have no other hobbies, I'm focused on soccer," Stearns said.

She will also be attending college soccer camps.

At the end of the summer, Stearns will attend the new Hough High, leaving behind the school she helped win a championship for.

"It feels like we're breaking the team apart," she said.

Stearns, who also played basketball for the Vikings in the winter, explained that next year's game between the Huskies and her former team will be a tough, competitive game.

"But we'll still know we won a state championship together," she said.

Stearns said she will always have a soft spot for North Meck and that she's proud of being part of the team that was able to accomplish so much.

"The fact that you can reach your goals is an amazing feeling," she said.