Considering the talent in the Union County high school girls soccer ranks this season, it was going to take a record-breaking performance to walk away with the 2013 Union County Weekly Girls Soccer Player of the Year award. With four N.C. Soccer Coaches Association All-State selections residing in the county and the NCSCA’s All-District teams brimming with local talent, being among the state’s best players was just a starting point when whittling down the choice for the county’s top performer.
This year, amazing simply wasn’t going to be quite enough.
But what Weddington junior midfielder Chandler Arrowood accomplished this season was special. As one-fourth of the Warriors’ game-changing midfield corps, the junior set a new school record for goals scored in a season for a program that has had its share of top-level players.
Arrowood scored 33 of the Warriors’ 109 total goals this season while helping lead Weddington to an 18-5-1 record, a Southern Carolina 3A/4A regular-season title and the fourth round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Arrowood said she put her team’s success above her individual pursuits and added that coach Powell Williams, while not shielding her from the impending milestone, helped her keep her success in perspective.
“As the season progressed and my goal count was going up, my coach kept telling me, ‘You know, you’re getting closer and closer,’” said Arrowood. “But he also kept making sure I understood that, if I focused too much on breaking a record, I wouldn’t do it because I’d have that in my head the whole time I’d be playing.
“But I definitely had that in my head anyway.”
Who could blame her? After all, her sister, Taylor, set the mark in 2012.
“(My sister) was happy for me, but there was still a little bit of, ‘Ah, I can’t believe you beat me’ in that voice whenever she was telling me, ‘Good job,’” said Arrowood with a laugh.
While she came out on the better end of her sibling rivalry, Arrowood admitted that chasing her sister’s record did present a mental hurdle.
“I definitely think there’s always room for improvement though because there were a lot of games where I’d miss wide open shots,” said Arrowood. “I did score a lot of goals in some big games, but there were other games where, if I just focused more, I definitely could’ve had more of an impact on the field.”
While she’s proud of her record-setting scoring total, Arrowood said she couldn’t have done it without fellow NCSCA All-State pick and midfielder Virginia Lingo, who added 16 goals of her own and has been Arrowood’s best friend since Lingo moved to the area from Ohio in sixth grade.
“We never really had a competition between us,” Arrowood said. “That’s what’s so good about our relationship; whenever I was scoring all those goals, she was happy for me.
“We have such a good relationship that we just support each other through everything, and I think that’s why we play so well together.
“I had such a good team that helped me achieve that (record). Without Virginia and everyone on the team, I wouldn’t have been able to get it. They fed me the ball and put me in a good position to score.”