When the Berea girls’ soccer team unloaded off the bus at Lafayette two weeks ago, one of the Generals’ parents looked over the small gathering and counted the players in jerseys.
“Thirteen?” he questioned aloud to himself as the players entered the gate. The Pirates actually had 15 dressed for that evening’s matchup, but that’s not many for a game that needs 11 on the field. Lafayette had more than 20.
The more important number for tiny Berea Community High School this season might be 199.
That’s the state record for career goals by a female player.
And Hannah Wallhausser, a 5-foot-2 bundle of speed, grit and determination, could be the player to do it. With four games left, plus at least a first-round district tournament game, she needs 12 to tie and 13 for an even 200 goals and the record.
But Wallhausser doesn’t think much about what the tally means for her. She knows her teammates are as much a part of the effort as she is. She’s also doing it for Berea.
“It’s amazing playing for such a small school and being so far up there (on the all-time list),” she said. “I think it really helps my team to be on that list and get Berea out there, because we don’t get that much recognition.”
Wallhausser has 34 goals in 15 games this season, scoring at a clip of 2.3 per game. She scored 45 as a freshman, 50 as a sophomore and 58 as a junior for a total of 153 entering her senior year, tying her for 10th on the all-time list. She’s now fourth.
This year’s scoring pace is a bit slower. Berea’s schedule has been a bit tougher. And a nagging thigh injury that she’s trying to manage day-to-day has complicated the chase.
Saturday, she played sparingly against Chuckey-Doak (Tenn.) to rest it. She still managed two goals.
Wallhausser knows time is running out.
“The record’s always there, and it’s been overshadowing what I do here,” Wallhausser said. “It’s like, ‘Well I could get there (to the record), but if I don’t score here, it’s going to be even harder to get there.’
“But I also just try to relax and just sort of settle into the player that I know that I am.”
The player she is has garnered looks from Division III schools such as Transylvania, Hanover and Oglethorpe. But while she might draw more attention if she played at bigger high schools, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s special for us because most of the players that are that good, they usually move to play for (Madison) Central or Southern,” Berea assistant coach Nelu Stefan said. “But she stuck with us. She didn’t care. She wanted to prove them wrong. We can be good even if we’re a small school.”
Last year, Berea reached the regional tournament for the first time since 2010. The Pirates drew eventual state finalist Lexington Catholic in the first round and lost a mercy-rule decision, 11-1. Wallhausser scored the one.
“How many teams scored in the (regional) last year against Lexington Catholic? Nobody besides us,” Stefan said with pride. “We let 11 in, but we scored!”
State records in soccer and some other sports can be misleading. The level of competition varies greatly among schools across the state. Berea, a 1A school with an enrollment of 326, doesn’t line up against the same kind of schedule that a Lafayette or Madison Central (which both easily top 1,500 students) might. They won’t face a lot of teams loaded with year-round select players like Lexington Catholic or Sacred Heart.
So, while a player from a bigger school with a tougher schedule might shrug at the record books, the records are there. Thomas Nelson’s Ashley Ritchie (2012-2015) holds the girls’ mark of 199. Marshall County’s Aaron Beth (1985-89) holds the boys’ mark of 176. And, like the saying goes, records are made to be broken.
“It’s kind of scary how real it is that I could be up there,” she said. “But I try not to let it get into my head too much when I play, because that’s a lot of pressure.”
There’s no words to describe having a player like that, especially being a 1A school. It’s one of those one-in-a-million shots when you have a player that caliber.
Berea head coach Craig Wideman
Berea senior goalkeeper Moira Wideman, daughter of the head coach, has been friends with Wallhausser since fifth grade.
“Hannah’s a great player, she’s broken (school) records, but that’s not what she’s about,” Moira said. “She’s about teamwork. She’s about helping others. She can do a lot of good things.”
Wallhausser has 19 assists on the 68 other Berea goals in her career. Her teammates have 136 assists on 255 goals in that span, including Wallhausser’s 187 scores.
“There’s no words to describe having a player like that, especially being a 1A school,” Berea head coach Craig Wideman said. “It’s one of those one-in-a-million shots when you have a player of that caliber.”
Stefan is in his second year with Berea and led the team at Lafayette as Wideman recovered from an illness. Goals are not what drives Berea’s star, he said.
“I think her attitude just gets her there, because she can’t stand losing,” he said. “That’s what puts her over the top.”
There are games when she gets shut out. There are games where it seems like she can score at will. If she’s able to recover from her injury, she’s proven she’s able to score in bunches. She’s scored eight goals in a game twice and seven goals in a game three times in her career.
“We’re just approaching it like any other season,” Coach Wideman said. “We all want this to happen, but we’re not going to force the issue. We’re going to let it happen naturally.”
At Lafayette two weeks ago, Wallhausser had her upper right leg wrapped.
With about 12 minutes left and Berea down 6-1, she crumpled to the field after an incidental collision. She stayed down for a few moments and was subbed out. After she limped back to the bench, she stood, pained, but defiant. “I’m going back in,” she told Stefan.
That the loss was a foregone conclusion didn’t matter. That Lafayette had stymied her runs didn’t matter. She’s there to give it her all. Within moments of subbing back in, Wallhausser drove hard down the left flank and snapped a crossing pass into the box. Teammate Madison Cummings ran onto it and put in the Pirates’ second goal. Stefan shook his head and smiled.
Wallhausser doesn’t know if she will be able to break the record. But, like in the Lafayette game, she’s determined to give it her all.
“It’s definitely a pressure, but it’s something to reach for,” Wallhausser said. “You look to win the games, that’s a challenge in itself, but when you have this objective that’s bigger than the game that you’re in that you have to reach in a span of four years. … That’s very interesting. It’s a good challenge.”
Most career girls’ goals
Most goals in a Kentucky girls’ high school soccer career:
199 — Ashley Ritchie, Thomas Nelson, 2012-15
190 — Olivia Nichols, Hart County, 2013-16
189 — Sheena Ferguson, Russell, 1999-02
187 — Hannah Wallhausser, Berea, 2014-2017
184 — Christian Foster, Bullitt East, 2013-16
179 — Arianna Collins, Letcher County Central, 2008-11
169 — Jenny Moore, Bourbon County, 2002-05
168 —Madyson Tipton, Bourbon County, 2013-16
164 — Karli Parker, South Laurel, 2011-14
163 — Lexie Bozell, Hopkinsville, 2009-12
Berea’s remaining schedule
Sept. 21 at Lincoln County, 6 p.m.
Sept. 25 Somerset, 6 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Franklin County, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 at South Laurel, 6 p.m.
TBA, 44th District Tournament first round