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Bandysâ€™ Cassidy Winchester made history on Friday.
The senior became the first girls soccer player at her school to sign with a Division I college, inking her National Letter of Intent with University of South Carolina-Upstate.
â€śIâ€™m so excited,â€ť Winchester said. â€śItâ€™s an honor to be the first one to sign, just for my sake. Iâ€™m really happy just to be signing.â€ť
Lady Trojans coach Clifford Mayer said the senior is unlike any player heâ€™s ever had the privilege of coaching.
â€śCassidy is by far the best soccer player that has ever played for Bandys â€” boys and girls,â€ť Mayer said. â€śWhen I coached the boys for four years, she could have started on my boys teams. She is by far the best soccer player weâ€™ve ever had.â€ť
Through three years of her high school career (2009-11), Winchester netted 70 goals, including a school-record 35 goals in the 2010 season.
She was named All-Catawba Valley 2A in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as All-Region those three years.
After leading the Lady Trojans to a 12-4-3 record (8-3-3 in the CVAC) last season and a 2A playoff appearance, Winchester earned All-State accolades.
Despite those accomplishments so far in her Trojan career, Winchester said she wants to achieve more.
â€śIâ€™m really looking forward to this year because I think our team this year will be better than last yearâ€™s,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™m hoping we can do better. We came in third and made it to the first round of the playoffs, but Iâ€™m hoping we can make it further than that. We just need to work really hard this year, especially the 4-5 seniors on the team. Hopefully, we can step up this year for all of us.â€ť
Winchester also looks forward to a potential chance at a career and school milestone.
She is 30 goals shy of breaking 100-goal mark in her career, which would make her the first Lady Trojan to reach such a feat.
â€śI limit her to three goals a game because I donâ€™t like running up the score,â€ť Mayer said. â€śI donâ€™t let her go beyond three and she knows that.â€ť
Winchester admits, though, that the record may force her to break her coachesâ€™ standards.
â€śEven when coach tells me to stop, more than likely Iâ€™ll keep going,â€ť she said. â€śI want to see how many more I can get. Hopefully I can get to 100, but I still have a ways to go.â€ť
Mayer said the thing he enjoys most about Winchester as a player is her ability to be a good person and teammate.
â€śOne thing about Cassidy is she a great student and a great kid, both inside and outside of school,â€ť Mayer said. â€śShe motivates other players. She tries to encourage them. When she isnâ€™t scoring, she distributes the ball, helps the other players out and helps them get goals. She does a great job. She is a true leader on the field.â€ť
Winchester is the second signee to be a first-time Div. I athlete coming from a sport at Bandys, joining swimmer Michaela Beatty, who signed with Lenoir-Rhyne in November.
Five Lady Trojans have already signed to play collegiately next season, including basketball player Jesse Story (Lenoir-Rhyne), and softball players Taylor Sigmon (Western Carolina) and Scarlett Harris (Gardner-Webb).
â€śWeâ€™ve had a lot of girls sign,â€ť Winchester said. â€śThe female athletes here at Bandys get it done. Us women, we know how to do it.â€ťView more articles in: