As impressive as her scoring numbers were this season, Charlotte Catholic sophomore girls lacrosse player Natalie Wallon said she looks at the 99 goals she scored as simply a means to an end.
“I don’t like to focus on my stats, but they are what they are,” said Wallon. “I’m just going to play my game. If that means I need to score more than I’m usually scoring, then I’ll do it because I like to win.”
Her season-long resume certainly supports her stance, especially when it came to the playoffs. The Cougars entered the postseason with a 14-2 record and advanced all the way to the N.C. High School Athletic Association championship game, where they were edged by East Chapel Hill, 15-13.
Wallon caught fire in that stretch, totaling 34 goals in the Cougars’ four playoff games for an average of 8.5 goals per outing. She recorded six scores in Catholic’s second-round win over Northwest Guilford (the Cougars earned a first-round bye) and added 10 against Marvin Ridge in the next game. She scored nine in the state semifinals against Lake Norman and repeated that total in the championship game against East Chapel Hill.
For Wallon, who recently committed to Syracuse University’s storied program, such an outburst was pragmatic. Seemingly everyone else, however, thought it was worthy of a truckload of accolades. She was named the Conference 8 Player of the Year and earned an Honorable Mention All-American nod from U.S. Lacrosse. Now, she can add Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2013 Southern Mecklenburg Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year to her list.
Wallon’s season was much too well-rounded to classify her as simply a scorer, however. She also added 27 assists, 42 groundballs and 58 draw controls from her midfield position. Her favorite stat, though, may have been her 75 takeaways.
“I love to check, I love to get takeaways,” said Wallon. “Defense is just as important as offense is. If you’re letting the other team score, it doesn’t matter how much you score because they can catch right back up. It’s important to have every aspect of the game, not just shooting.”
Wallon said when she looks back on her sophomore year, her prolific scoring totals won’t be her top memory. Instead, she’s happiest with her role in helping guide the Cougars’ to their second consecutive championship appearance despite losing several key seniors from her freshman year.
“I was really happy with myself,” Wallon said. “I’m not really a big stats person. I just try to play my game and try to make others around me better.
“As a team, we really did grow up, especially after losing a lot of important seniors from last year. We had a lot of younger kids step up. It was a really good season all around, I think.”