West Iredell’s Helen Summerell got kicked in the right leg as an Ashe County player cleared the ball out of bounds during the first round of the 2A state playoffs.
The star forward was helped off the field. She later tried to warm up along the sideline with hopes of reentering the game, but the right knee gave out. She didn’t return. Summerell’s two goals in the opening 12 minutes would have been enough offense in the Warriors’ 5-1 victory.
Summerell soon learned that she tore her ACL. The career of West Iredell’s all-time goals and assists leader ended prematurely.
With the exception of a symbolic substitution in the final minute, the senior was a spectator May 10 when the Warriors’ season drew to a close in the second round.
Not the kind of farewell Iredell’s all-time leading public school goal scorer—boys or girls—had in mind.
“I was really upset because I couldn’t play my last game,” said Summerell, the R&L County Girl Soccer Player of the Year.
The Warriors lost 6-0 in Belmont and finished 15-6 overall.
Coach David Heintz feels they could have given South Point a run for its money had the Catawba College signee been able to play.
“It would have been interesting to see them try to defend her,” Heintz said. “She gives problems to almost every team we play.”
You don’t factor into 200 goals during a four-year span without being a thorn in the opposition’s side. Summerell leaves West Iredell with 152 goals—tied for 15th in the N.C. High School Athletic Association record book—and 48 assists.
The ACL tear wasn’t the only injury Summerell endured this season.
There was the sprained ankle in the Feb. 25 season opener which she sprained again in the middle of March.
Overcompensating for it led to a strained quad.
“She wanted to play,” Heintz said. “We managed it with her. We gave her some strict limitations.”
Despite the injuries, Summerell scored 40 goals and assisted 17 in 19 games.
“I tried to stay positive,” she said when asked about being hobbled.
Heintz estimated that Summerell was at less than 80 percent health most of the season.
It was enough to be recognized. The Northwestern Foothills Conference named her its player of the year. It’s the first time West Iredell can claim a conference player of the year in girls soccer.
Summerell was scheduled to undergo ACL surgery Monday. Unlike high school, the college soccer season is in the fall. She will most likely be redshirting with the Catawba women’s soccer team as a freshman.
The knee injury will also force her to sit out of this summer’s N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Women’s Soccer Game.
She became West Iredell’s second player chosen for that showcase event, which pits the top seniors in West versus their counterparts from the East.
“I was honored to selected,” Summerell said, “but I’m sad that I can’t represent West Iredell there.”
ALL-COUNTY GIRLS SOCCER TEAM
Erin Shaver, South Iredell
Helen Summerell, West Iredell
Sarah Tuttle, Lake Norman
Kerri Coffman, Lake Norman
Meredith Jenkins, Mooresville
Nicole Rhyne, West Iredell
Jessi Brotherton, Lake Norman
Ellie Fielding, Lake Norman
Tara Grogan, South Iredell
Morgan Quinn, South Iredell
Kaci Brotherton, Lake Norman; Haley Stoup, Lake Norman
Honorable mention: Samantha Collins, Mooresville; Lindsay Durham, South Iredell; Delaney Edge, Mooresville; Mariah Hill, South Iredell; Savannah Horan, Mooresville; Tate McCord, Lake Norman; Addie Pennell, North Iredell; Jaden Stutts, Statesville Christian; Miriam Tomerlin, West Iredell; Frankie Vargas, Statesville Christian