When Bloom-Carroll’s Alexis McKenzie was a freshman, she was inserted in the game as a goalie.
McKenzie wasn’t pleased, but she did what she had to do for her team and to get a chance to get on the field. However, it didn’t take the Bulldog coaching staff long to figure out she could contribute in other ways.
Although she had to overcome a hamstring injury that kept her out of action for the first five games her sophomore season, she scored 15 goals. As a junior, McKenzie more than doubled that with 31 goals, breaking the school record set by Amy Anderson.
“After scoring that many goals last season, I came into the year with a lot of confidence,” McKenzie said. “To be honest, I didn’t that would happen again. My goal was not to score goals. It was more about helping our team win a league and district title.”
This season, McKenzie not only re-set the single-season mark with 34 goals, but she helped led Bloom-Carroll to a level it never had been at.
“She is a great scorer and she really has a nose for the goal,” Bulldog coach Mark Casperson said. “She is always around the box and she puts herself in great position. She has great technique, and 10 of her goals were scored off headers, which takes a lot of courage and confidence.”
McKenzie, a midfielder who finished her career with a school-record 81 goals, is the Eagle-Gazette’s 2013 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“I have to credit my teammates,” said McKenzie, who scored five goals in a game twice this season. “They did a great job of getting me the ball. I just happen to be in the right position, and basically, it came down to everyone working together.”
McKenzie was a first-team Mid-State League-Buckeye Division pick and a second-team All-Central District selection.
The Bulldogs finished 14-1-4 and 6-0-1 in the MSL-Buckeye. The Bulldogs reached a district final for the first time in school history. They lost 4-1 to eventual Division II state runner-up Granville. McKenzie, however, was injured in the first 20 minutes of that game.
“McKenzie helped take our program to new heights,” Casperson said. “She has better speed than most people giver her credit for, does a good job of putting herself in good position to score and she is really good on free kicks.
“It’s hard to find a good scorer like her, and it’s rare to find one that is going to score 81 goals in basically two-and-a-half years. She will be hard to replace.”
McKenzie credits a lot of her success to her sisters — Lauren, who graduated in 2012, and Ellyse, a sophomore on this year’s team.
“I staeted playing soccer when I was three, and I’ve always played with my sisters,” McKenzie said. “There is no way I would be where I am today without them. It helped me leaps and bounds. We were so competitive and we would play every day in the summer.
“When you have an older sister pushing you, it really helps. Not everyone gets to experience that. I credit at least half of my goals to my sisters.”
The Bulldogs won the MSL in three of the fours years McKenzie was on varsity.
“I really surprised myself this year because whenever you have a year like my junior year, it is hard to follow that up with a better year,” McKenzie said. “I’m just glad our team was successful. Everyone was in it together from the start, and that’s why we had such an outstanding season.”