The Warner Robins Demons’ fourth soccer game of the season against Bainbridge was a big one. Not because of any implications on the season, but because of senior Alyssa Key’s chance to make school history.
Fans, friends and classmates came out in numbers to cheer her on with homemade signs of support and encouragement as she was on the verge of another career milestone: goal number 100.
She already scored once, putting her at 99 goals. The cross came in and Key tapped the ball in. She had just scored her 100th career goal and would go on to score three more to finish with 5 on the night.
“It was just a special moment for her…you could see she just was smiling and kind of relieved and then she went on (to score) three more that game. So, she knows how to put (the) ball in the net,” said head coach Bryan Watts.
Key ended the regular season at 34 goals, averaging 2.1 per game. Her scoring rate on the season is not far off from her career rate of 2.4 goals a game with 113 careers goals through 48 varsity games.
Key’s scoring ability has forced opponents to focus on her when developing their game plans.
“When we play (Warner Robins), we know she is one of their keys to success, so we do our best to neutralize her,” Veterans High School head coach Nicole Miranda said
It’s a formula that seemingly only Veterans has figured out, with the team keeping Key scoreless with a lone assist in their five meetings.
Being the focal point of the opposition’s defensive game plans is new to Key. Before playing as an attacking midfielder and scoring, she was a defender tasked with preventing teams from scoring.
“In middle school I played center back…so coming up and stepping out as a midfielder or even attacking players (is) kind of a drastic change,” said Key.
“I think it was pretty easy,” added Key. “I just fit in that position really well because I can see passes easily and I’m good with the ball at my foot and I always have pretty good shots and I think I always had the attacking instinct even at defense I would go forward. So, it wasn’t hard for me to switch.”
Watts describes Key as an “all-around...good player” being able to attack and defend at a high level and describes her as “hard-nosed.” Both Watts and Miranda think of her as an “aggressive” player, with Miranda adding that she makes “others around her better.”
Key holds the records at Warner Robins for most goals in a season, 52 her sophomore year, and most career goals, a record she broke her junior year scoring 34 goals.
“It was just a surreal feeling really,” Key said. “And I know it was like a team effort…it was just a great feeling overall to achieve that.”