Jessica Peterson found the Maryville College record books with a deafening blow in a match with Piedmont two weeks ago.
Peterson’s 71st career goal in the 71st minute in a 1-0 win for the Scot moved her past former All-South forward Jennifer Windrow into first place on Maryville’s all-time list. Junior Alex Wingo collected the assist on the record-breaking goal.
Against Wesleyan this past weekend, Peterson, an All-South Region selection herself the last two seasons, delivered a Texas hat trick of four goals, putting the mark for future Scots to make at 75 and counting.
Maryville (9-5-1, 7-0 Great South Athletic Conference) hosts Tennessee Wesleyan tonight at 7 before closing out the regular season with Agnes Scott on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Maryville men (9-5-1, 3-0) follow against Centre College at 4.
The Great South tournament is scheduled for Nov. 5 at Piedmont.
The record-breaker lifted a lot of stress, Peterson said.
“It’s a lot of pressure off, that’s for sure,” she said. “I felt like every game there was so much pressure for me to score that last goal, and now that I have, I can score for fun.”
Eclipsing the career points record earlier this season, Peterson has only one Maryville record remaining in her sights. Her next assist will move her past former Scot Sarah Harmon on the Maryville all-time list for career assists as well.
“Actually, I take more pride in the assist record,” she said. “I just feel like I can score goals. It’s the pass that gives you the goal which I think is really important.
“When I break the assist record, I will take that as more of an accomplishment than the goal record. It’s the person that works harder to get the ball to the (scorer), than if they just put it in.”
Maryville coach Pepe Fernandez said Peterson was more of an assists player in high school. Since putting on the orange and garnet, she has become a complete player while accomplishing so much, he said.
“For somebody to be that high in goals, and also that high in assists, is a pretty special feat,” Fernandez said. “Her high school coach pushed her to pass the ball and be that assist type person. She just added to it as a college player. Now, she’s not only able to get the assists, but she’s able to get a ton of goals.”
Fernandez added it’s the approach Peterson takes that sets her apart.
“As much as her career has been about records, she is really not about records,” he said. “She’s such a humble kid, and she wants the team to do well. She’s a great teammate, and it’s just kind of ironic that somebody that cares the least about things like that, that’s who it would happen to.”
Peterson proved remarkably consistent in pursuit of the goals record, excepting a sophomore year where she poured in almost half of Windrow’s total in one season. Establishing another of those records that will never broken, Peterson dazzled the competition with a Maryville single-season record 34 goals in 2008, her total second nationally in NCAA Division III that year. Her points total ranked second that season as well.
At year’s end, the 2008 Great South Player of the Year was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-South Region Team.
Peterson has helped the player who may one day break her records get off to a good start this season. Freshman Ashley Howarth has already grabbed 18 goals, including four hat tricks, in her first season as a Scot. The former Bearden Lady Bulldog provided the bulk of the scoring for Maryville as Wingo and Peterson battled injuries.
“For a freshman to do what she’s done, it’s just been great. She’s carried the goal scoring load,” Fernandez said. “To have a freshman step in and replace the goals that they scored, it’s really what’s kept us going as a team.”
Howarth will get there, Peterson said.
“She’s a great player, and I wish she was four years older so we could’ve played together our whole career,” she said. “I hope that there will be players around her that will get her the ball, just like my freshman year.”
My freshman and sophomore year I had a player that assisted a lot of my goals. If it wasn’t for her, then I probably wouldn’t be in the running to go for the record. You have to have someone else around you to help feed you the ball. I just hope Ashley has that.”
For Howarth, Peterson has been that player, the latter collecting assists on the year.
“We said for the longest time that Windrow’s record was never going to be broken, but Jessica Peterson has,” Fernandez said. “(Howarth’s) already passed what (Peterson) did as a freshman. She’s on her way, obviously a long way to go.”
Best of luck, Peterson said.
“I’d be really happy if she does break my record,” she said. “I wouldn’t care at all.”