BECKLEY, W.Va. - For three years, PikeView's Laura Hill ran the show from her center midfielder spot.
She scored goals, but assists were her priority.
That suddenly changed early this season when Panthers all-state forward Hope Nester was lost to a knee injury.
Hill, forced to move up to striker, immediately began to put the ball into the back of the net.
The 5-foot-9 senior scored a whopping 59 goals to lead PikeView to its third state tournament appearance in the last four seasons. Today, she was named captain of the 2012 Class AA-A all-state soccer first team, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
"I didn't know until this year Laura had that nose for the goal," said her father, PikeView coach Sam Hill. "She hadn't been the type of player who tries to score at all costs."
Most of her 56 previous career goals had been from 15-18 yards out.
"Those were primarily the only true opportunities she had, not being a true striker," Sam Hill said. "This year she scored a variety of goals. She never was particularly great in the air, but she scored twice with her head."
Laura Hill could still go long, of course. Her 100th career goal was a direct kick from 38 yards out at Nicholas County.
But Hill became adept at beating defenders in the box and firing past the goalkeeper.
"Laura scores goals you like to see players score," Sam Hill said. "She reads the play and sees where she can get an advantage."