Story by Gage Johnson, Contributing writer
In front of the Murray State home crowd on Thursday Sept. 28, senior forward Harriet Withers scored her 35th career goal, breaking the women’s soccer career goal record of 34 goals that was previously held by Theresa Reedy (2001-2004).
At 17:55 of play the Racers’ contest with Southeast Missouri State, the senior forward was able to use her left foot to curve the ball around the defender and into the back right corner of the goal. Of all the goals Withers has scored, her 35th career goal is one she won’t forget.
“It’s obviously really cool to have the record, but it’s always about the team for me,” Withers said. “As long as we’re getting the win, that’s what really matters.”
Withers also said her love for soccer has shaped her into the player she has become today.
“I love to come out and play, and I love the team atmosphere,” Withers said. “I love being out there, and I’m a competitive person. I like to play and like to score so that’s what I’m going to try and do. It’s these girls out here, though, that are my biggest motivation. It’s this team, it’s the coaches, it’s the university and the support. I’m really sad it’s my senior year. But it’s my love for the sport that drives me a lot, and I will continue to love it.”
Withers has rewritten the record books more than once this season. On Sunday, Sept. 24 at Jacksonville State, the senior forward broke another of Reedy’s records by tallying the 82nd point of her career, topping the previous record of 81. She also claimed the school record for most game-winning goals this season with 11.
Head Coach Jeremy Groves is currently in his fourth season as coach of the Racers. Withers being one of Grove’s first recruits, has been with him from the start and he is extremely proud of what she has accomplished in her four years as a Racer.
“I’m proud of her that she has gotten there,” Groves said. “She’s done a great job for us, and she’s worked hard. She’s a great kid. A lot of people don’t see all of the other things that she does. She’s always the first to be kicking up gear, or helping with food when we’re on the road. The stats and her play speaks for herself obviously but I don’t think a lot of people see the other kind of things. She’s very humble. She shows no arrogance. I think if there’s probably a model person you want to be around, she is one.”
Her fellow teammates agree with Coach Groves, that not only is Withers a talented player, she is also the ideal teammate.
“It’s great,” senior defender Nyomi Devine said. “She’s a really good player. We know we can always trust her to get the job done.”
Withers has won the OVC offensive player of the year two years running, and is in contention for a third with the way she is rewriting the record books. She can improve her case for that if she manages to move up from her spot as the eighth leading scorer this season in the NCAA.
Withers is inching toward another Murray State Record as well. After scoring her 12th goal of the year, she is now one goal away from tying the single season record for goals scored and she will have the opportunity to tie and break that record when the Racers take on the Belmont Bruins at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12 in Nashville, Tennessee.