GROVE CITY — Winning soccer games is nothing new to Maggie Williams.
Missing soccer games is.
The Mars graduate and Grove City College junior was part of a WPIAL championship team with the Planets her sophomore year in high school. Mars reached the district title game her senior season, when she scored 18 goals and had 11 assists.
As a freshman at Grove City, Williams scored 13 goals, added five assists and was second in the Presidents' Athletic Conference in scoring during that 2018 season. The Wolverines went 17-4-1, 8-0 in PAC play, and Williams was named GCC Female Rookie of the Year a few months later.
But in March of 2019, she suffered a major knee injury playing intramural soccer and missed the entire season that fall.
“That was hard,” Williams said. “I worked hard to get back. I wanted to make sure I was ready for the 2020 season.”
Grove City and the PAC were not.
The conference canceled the fall athletic season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the waiting game continued for Williams.
“We couldn't play, but adhering to protocol, we were able to practice five days a week,” Williams said. “That definitely helped me in coming back.
“It gave me valuable time with my teammates. I was able to get back into the flow of things.”
Grove City has 12 new players on its roster since Williams last played.
She played for longtime and well-decorated coach Blair Gerlach at Mars. She's playing for coach Melissa Lamie now. Lamie has won 313 games and seven PAC titles in 28 years at GCC.
“Last fall turned out to be a best-case scenario for her,” Lamie said of Williams. “She was able to get back into the rhythm of practice and get field time with her teammates without any pressure to perform.”
In terms of preparation, Lamie said Williams is always ahead of the game.
“Maggie is a very heady player, very cerebral,” the coach said. “She knows the game well. She puts in a lot of time on her own studying film.”
Williams respects how Lamie views her and the other players on the team.
“Coach Lamie doesn't just want to develop me as a soccer player,” Williams said. “She wants to develop me as a person and a Christian even more.
“If I make a mistake on the field, nothing changes with her. She still cares about me as a person and student.”
The Wolverines are playing a 10-game schedule this spring. They defeated Waynesburg, 3-0, in their opener recently as Williams scored her first goal of the season.
“That felt pretty good,” she admitted. “I just wanted to compete again.”
Williams added two more goals in a 7-0 win over Thiel. The Wolverines currently sport a 3-0-1 record.
“Watching her play that first game, I don't see why Maggie can't be in the running for PAC Player of the Year this spring,” Lamie said. “Other coaches are going to notice her.”
After this spring, Williams has three years of college soccer eligibility remaining. She is unsure whether she'll finish it all.
A marketing major, “it's important to me that I graduate on time,” Williams said.
Williams sees great days ahead in a Grove City uniform.
“We started four freshmen in this first game,” she said. “We'll be rotating players in and out this spring, I'm sure, but we have a solid young team.
“We're capable of making a deep run in the NCAAs. I'd love to win a national championship here.”
Lamie has led Grove City to five NCAA Division III tournaments.
Williams knows what player she wants to be during her senior year at GCC.
“I'm going to strive to be the senior leader Krista (Heckman) was when I was a freshman,” she said. “She not only led our team, she was PAC Player of the Year.
“That's the way I want to close this out.”