Wylie's all-time leading scorer enjoys the pressure
ABILENE, Texas —
Randie Dennison says her favorite part of playing soccer is scoring, and rightfully so.
The senior has scored 131 goals in her four years on the Wylie Lady Bulldogs varsity team -- more than anyone else in team history.
"She has the competitive edge and the right mentality," seventh-year head coach Manuel Cordova said. "Once she gets around the 18-yard box, she knows what she wants to do. She wants to score.
"She has that personality. I think that's got to be the goal-scorer's mentality, the killer instinct."
Dennison scored 13 goals her freshman season, then had a breakout sophomore year with 41.
She followed that up with an eye-popping 51 goals as junior, and has 26 this season.
"She's the one that's going to score, but we're all there backing her," senior Gracie McCaslin said about Dennison. "It's good to know she's going to work just as hard. She's got that fight and grit to get goals in the last three minutes of the game when we really need it."
That's just what Dennison did for Wylie during last Friday's third round playoff game against Brownwood. With no score in the 77th minute, Dennison fought through defenders to score the game-winner and send the Lady Bulldogs back to the regional tournament.
"It's definitely a lot," said Dennison of the pressure she faces as the team's go-to scorer. "Sometimes it's really hard to live up to the expectations, but it's really nice knowing that everyone looks to me that way."
"Everybody knows they're going to try to kick her a little bit here and there, or shove her around," added Cordova. "But she does a really good job of responding time and time again."
Dennison is committed to play for the successful Hardin-Simmons' women's soccer program. She said she's been going to head coach Marcus Wood's summer camps for years.
Wylie advanced to play Fort Worth Castleberry in the Class 4A Region I semi-final on Friday at 1 p.m., at Birdville ISD's Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.
On the other side of the bracket is defending state champion Stephenville, who defeated the Lady Bulldogs in each of their three district meetings this year.
While Dennison has broken school records and won plenty of games, she, and the program, have never made the state tournament. That's something Wylie has a shot at with two wins this weekend.
"It'd be like a dream come true," said Dennison. "I've been wanting that since freshman year and we're so close."