Senior staff writer
All Greenwood senior Kayla Rance wanted to do was score 25 goals during her high school career so she could surpass brother Maxxwel Rance on the soccer field.
Rance, who has committed to play for Walsh College, passed her brother by scoring 27 points as a freshman. She followed that up with 35 more goals as a sophomore and added 27 last year for 89 goals as she approached her senior year.
She scored her milestone 100th goal Aug. 24 at Beech Grove. She entered the match with 96 goals and nailed the century mark in the 61st minute with her fourth goal for a 5-0 lead and eventual 7-1 victory over the host Hornets.
“Really, I didn’t see 100 goals when I started,” the totally unselfish senior said. “I wasn’t even close to thinking big picture as a freshman. Last year though I began thinking I could actually do it.”
Rance, daughter of Debbie (Davis) and Dennis Rance, has played soccer since she was 4 years old in a Greenwood parks program. Three years later she began playing travel soccer and eventually traveled to championship meets in California and Las Vegas.
She ran track in middle school and qualified for nationals on the Hoosier FC 4x800 relay team. That year she realized that she needed to get off the treadmill – track practice, soccer practice, eat at home, study and sleep by 11 p.m.; so she stuck with soccer.
“Soccer is my life away from the classroom. I like it because you never know what’s going to happen in a match. The game always changes. I like it because it’s ongoing and there are no stoppages. And I’m a competitive person so I like the intensity.”
Third-year varsity coach Joe Mushrush inherited Rance, and he is complimentary of her abilities, leadership and humility.
“She is incredibly humble; she just goes out there and does her thing,” Mushrush said. “She holds herself to a higher standard, and she is a great influence on all the players. I always consider goals to be important, but her preparation and the way she handles herself in the classroom has elevated the program.”
With Rance on the field, Mushrush admitted, “There’s always a goal to be had when Kayla’s out there.”
Rance is one of 12 seniors and admitted that having all those classmates helps the team’s chemistry.
“It’s just an easier flow when you’ve been playing with them for so long,” she said. “You get to know each other and you know how to play together. If I’m moving the ball, they have a better idea of where I’m going. And I know what they’re trying to do.”
She considers her teammates her best friends.
She revealed that her high school years have been growth years in terms of leadership because she urges her teammates to play better.
Her favorite plays are wall passes when she passes it to a teammate and gets the ball back immediately to charge the goal and moving down the sideline and crossing the ball back to a teammate to enable them to score from the middle.
Her parents were athletes at Ben Davis, where her father was on the diving team and her mother ran cross-country and distance events on the track team. Kayla’s brother played soccer for one year at Anderson University.
Any questions about her impact? The Woodmen were 3-15 before she entered high school. They are 31-20-4 since she started playing.