Athlete of the Week: Penny priceless in MB’s rich future

After losing nine seniors and its coaching staff, the Myrtle Beach High girls soccer team wasn’t expected to compete for a championship in 2012.

But by the end of the season, with the emergence of young stars like sophomore Summer Penny, the Lady Seahawks are looking at a bright future.

“It was tough at the beginning of the season because we had a lot of new players and new coaches,” said Penny, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “But by the end of the year we started working together. We came a long way.”

After getting off to a 3-4 start, the Lady Seahawks won eight of their next nine games before being eliminated in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs against Brookland-Cayce last week.

It was during the Lady Seahawks’ final four-game winning streak that Penny began to find her way around the pitch and pout her team in position for a runner-up finish for the region crown.

“We put in a new system this year and it took some time for them to learn it,” first-year coach Mary Jo Hajek said. “Summer was playing up top and she didn’t really know where she was supposed to go in certain situations, but once she figured it out she did a great job for us.”

Penny put herself in the right place at the right time during the final week of the regular season, scoring back-to-back hat tricks and then having a two-goal game for a total of eight goals in three games.

Look for more of the same from Penny and the Lady Seahawks in the coming years. They lost only two seniors this season, and Penny, Tori Zeltner, Mackenzie Jones, Bailey Richard and Temperance Russell make up a super sophomore class that has high hopes for the next two years.

“We really want to go to the state before we graduate,” Penny said. “Myrtle Beach hasn’t been to state in a long time and we want to be the team to do it.”

Hajek believes Penny and all the other young players on the team add up to a bright future for the Lady Seahawks.

“We have a lot of young players coming up from the JV team that will give us even more talent next year,” she said. “Penny will be a big part of that. She’s a very genuine person and people look up to her.”

Photo by Beth Griffis

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