Photographs by Submitted
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Mattie Hatcher had already proven herself as one of the top girls high school soccer players in the state during her first two seasons at Pulaski Academy.
But in her junior season, the Lady Bruins striker went above and beyond her freshman and sophomore seasons.
At a glance
SCHOOL Pulaski Academy
NOTEWORTHY Finished the 2017 season with 59 goals and 35 assists. … Helped Pulaski Academy reach the Class 5A state championship game for the second time in three seasons. … Has scored 139 goals in her three-year career. … Also starts at guard on the school’s basketball team.
Hatcher scored 59 goals and had 32 assists to help lead the Lady Bruins to the Class 5A state championship game.
For her efforts, Hatcher is this year's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps girls soccer player of the year.
Hatcher scored 35 goals her freshman season and 45 her sophomore season. She has 139 goals in her career with one season left to play for the Lady Bruins.
Pulaski Academy Coach Chris Owen said Hatcher was determined to improve her game this season.
"She took chances pretty well this year," Owen said. "She worked really hard off the field and in practices, doing the extra work. That helped her a ton, to give her more confidence."
Hatcher credited her teammates for her solid junior season.
"We had a wonderful midfield this year," Hatcher said. "It helps me and Emily [Leding] a lot.
"We played more as a team this year. The team played so well together."
Hatcher helped put her team back in the state championship game for the second time in three seasons with a hat trick in a 4-3 victory over Harrison in the Class 5A semifinals May 12.
"When she scored, she was so excited," Owen said. "I don't normally see that out of her."
Said Hatcher: "That was a fun game. I wish we would have won in the state championship."
Pulaski Academy lost to Little Rock Christian 2-0 in the 5A title game May 19 at Razorback Field in Fayetteville. So, for Hatcher, there's some unfinished business for her and the Lady Bruins going into her final season.
"We've had some unfortunate luck of not playing our best in state final days," said Hatcher, who was also part of Pulaski Academy's 2016 state finalist team that lost to Harrison. "That's something that drives us."
Owen said he agreed with Hatcher on his team wanting to get back to Fayetteville and winning a state title.
"She likes the individual awards, but it's the big team award she's after," Owen said. "She's hungry to get after that. I think it will be a big year for her."
Sports on 06/03/2018
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