Monday, October 11, 1999
closes in on soccer
Waimea alumna Alicia Vegas
of Simpson College is five goals
away from the Division III
NCAA WOMEN, 100 CAREER GOALSBy Al Chase
THE third countdown of the season for Alicia Vegas brings her closer to an amazing achievement. The Waimea High School graduate has an excellent opportunity to break the NCAA Division III women's record for career goals scored.
She is five career goals short of owning that mark. Vegas has scored 106 goals for Simpson College. Beth Byrne of Franklin & Marshall (1984-88) scored 110 during her career.
Vegas was unaware that she was approaching any kind of milestone earlier this season. The 5-foot-6 striker didn't know what Simpson College sports information director Matt Turk was talking about before a soccer match against Bethel (Minn.) in September.
"He stopped me and said, "When you score your fourth goal today, we're going to stop the game and give you ball because it will be your 100th career goal"," Vegas said.
At that point, Vegas had 96 career goals and did score two goals that day, but was glad she didn't know the century mark was approaching.
"After that, I kind of went into a slump. There seemed to be so much pressure on me," she said. "It seemed no matter where I shot from, I hit the post. It was getting out of hand."
Her teammates tried to help in the countdown to 100 by constantly yelling, "Pass to Vegas. Pass to Vegas." "I told the girls it's not going to work that way. I'm just not like that," Vegas said. "If they are constantly passing to me, then I'm going to have two or three defenders on me. I told them if I'm not open, someone else will score. We have to keep the field spread out."
She scored No. 99 against Hamline at home Sept. 19, but went scoreless against Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Central at home two days later.
Vegas broke the 100-career goal barrier Sept. 22 at William Penn when two shots found the back of the net. No. 100 was strange.
"I was kind of disappointed we were away and it was a fluke goal," Vegas said.
"My shot hit the goal post and when the goalie went to catch it, the ball hit her face and went in. It wasn't ideal as a 100th goal, but it was memorable."
Then to put a damper on the occasion, the William Penn people resisted giving Vegas the ball.
"Aziz (Haffar, Simpson head coach) said he would give them two balls for the game ball. He said he would pay for it. They said no and finally the referee said it was time to play. They finally gave us the ball at the end of the game."
Asked by her teammates what her next goal would be, Vegas said she wanted to pass Mia Hamm, who scored 103 for North Carolina.
"When I got to 104, one of my teammates took her game jersey off. She had a Mia Hamm jersey on underneath and the girls all yelled, 'Keep going, Vegas. See ya, Mia'," Vegas said.
She booted home No. 106 last Wednesday, which puts her fifth on the NCAA all-time, all-division list.
It was homecoming this weekend, so the Storm women were off, but they play an away game at Luther tomorrow. Four more regular-season matches follow, then the conference playoffs if Simpson finishes in the top four.
The women's program is in its fourth season. In the fall of 1996 Haffar would get a weekly list of applicants to Simpson and make a note of those who wanted to play soccer.
"I was more interested in numbers. I didn't even know they played that much soccer in Hawaii," Haffar said. "Then, on the first day of practice, I had a scrimmage just to see what everyone could do.
"Alicia came in and I said 'Wow!! Thank you, Lord. I'm in the right place at the right time.' "
As a freshman, Vegas scored 21 goals on 86 shots. The next year she notched 32 goals including six hat tricks. As a junior she became the first Simpson player, male or female, to be named All-Region (National Soccer Coaches Association of America second team). She led the conference in scoring (26), was second in points per game (3.11) and was first team All-IIAC.
This season she leads the conference in goals (1.46) and points (3.54) per game and is fourth in assists (0.46).
"Her strength is her effectiveness with or without the ball. She can score in tight situations and is a true leader," Haffar said. "She is deadly in the air and not afraid to go after the ball and put it away.
"Alicia uses her body well. She makes tight moves on the ball and anticipates what's going to happen. I'm very optimistic she will break the record."
Vegas discovered Simpson, located in Indianola, Iowa, by using a computer program at Kauai Community College that allows one to enter basic information like size of the school, academic reputation, location, financial aid possibilities, etc. Her printout listed eight schools that met her requirements.
"I knew I wanted a small school and I'm glad I didn't know about the winters here because I probably would have freaked out. The winters are cold," Vegas said.
She is majoring in psychology with a minor in social work and maintains a 3.49 grade point average. She has a part-time job working with an autistic child.
Vegas is president of her sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma), a member of the Simpson honorary society (Omicron Delta Kappa) and was chairwoman for this past weekend's homecoming activities.
She has two plans for the future.
"I may go back for my PhD in autism or get a masters in social work. I know I want to work with kids in need," she said.
For now, it's five goals to go and the countdown continues.
NCAA WOMEN, 100 CAREER GOALSNo. Player Div. School Years 122 Paulina Miettinen II Franklin Pierce 1995-98 118 Danielle Fotopoulas I Southern Methodist, Florida 1994-96, 1998 110 Beth Byrne III Franklin & Marshall 1984-88 107 Heidi Schuberth II New Hampshire College 1983-86 106 Alicia Vegas III Simpson 1996-present 105 Meril Davis III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 1990-93 103 Mia Hamm I North Carolina 1989-90, 1992-93 110 Tiffeny Milbrett I Portland 1990-92, 1994 102 Carin Jennings I UC Santa Barbara 1983-86 101 Lisa Cole I Southern Methodist 1987-90