Haven Stevenson was not playing for herself.
After a late-season loss put Copperas Cove’s playoff hopes in jeopardy, the Lady Bulldawgs’ freshman forward knew something had to change, and she wanted to be the catalyst.
But Stevenson’s motivation was not selfish.
“I knew I had to make a huge impact if we were going to make the playoffs,” she said, “and in the last couple games, I was playing for the team, especially the seniors. I didn’t want their careers to end that way.
“So, I just wanted to win for them.”
And she did.
Stevenson recorded two of her team’s three goals as Copperas Cove closed the regular season with a pair of victories, defeating Harker Heights and Killeen in consecutive matches to secure District 8-6A’s final playoff berth.
But the showing did more than extend the Lady Bulldawgs’ season, it also earned Stevenson the title of Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week.
“It feels really good,” she said, “but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all my friends and family supporting me by voting.”
On the heels of falling to Ellison, Stevenson tallied the opening goal at Harker Heights, propelling Copperas Cove to a 2-0 victory and the series tiebreaker.
Later in the week, simply needing a win to clinch a postseason spot, she was responsible for the Lady Bulldawgs’ lone goal against Killeen, scoring on a header late in the first half.
For her effort, Stevenson received 53.7 percent of the 1,256 votes cast to earn the award, edging out one of the area’s top girls soccer players in the process.
Class 4A No. 9 Salado junior Ashlen LaCanne produced five goals in an 8-0 victory against Lampasas, tallying her first three goals within the match’s first 23 minutes.
LaCanne finished with 561 votes to place second in the poll.
Rounding out the nominees were Belton soccer player Edgar Soto and Killeen track and field standout Bobby Smith.
Soto, a freshman, posted a hat trick against Ellison, helping the Tigers win the district championship, while Smith swept the throwing events at the Killeen ISD Relays.
Although Stevenson is quick to point out she was playing for her teammates, especially the seniors, as the squad fought its way up the standings, she admits it is nice to be acknowledged as an individual.
“It feels amazing,” Stevenson said. “All my hard work and all the effort I put in paid off by being recognized.
“I’m very surprised to have so much success, because I didn’t expect to be making an impact as a freshman. I just thought I’d be helping the team.”