SOUTH HIRAM – Two years ago, following her sophomore year at Sacopee Valley, Emily Lane considered transferring to another high school.

“I had a really rough sophomore year,” she said. “After soccer season I kind of spiraled down a little bit. My grades dropped a lot and I couldn’t focus on anything.”

The following summer, Lane attended a soccer camp at the University of Vermont. She did so well, she was invited back for an official visit. By the end of the summer, Lane, who was 15, made a verbal commitment to play for the Catamounts.

The chance to play at a Division I school really sharpened her focus.

“I really wanted to go there, but I knew just being an athlete wasn’t going to get me into that school,” Lane said.

Lane looked into going to a high school with stronger academics and perhaps a more competitive soccer program.

In the end, Lane, who was admitted to Vermont last month, decided to stay put.

“I focused on what I was doing in school and I brought my grades up,” she said. “I ended up just sticking through it, and I’m really glad I did it.”

The Hawks are glad, too.

This fall, Lane, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Most Valuable Player for girls’ soccer, had a team-high 24 goals and 10 assists to lead Sacopee Valley to its first Class C girls’ soccer state championship.

“She’s meant a lot to the community, she really has, so I’m glad she made the commitment to the community where she grew up,” Sacopee Coach Kevin Murphy said.

But Lane said her presence wasn’t the main reason for Sacopee’s success.

“It wasn’t just one person,” she said. “It was the entire team that came together and did what we’ve been waiting to do for four years.”

Lane, recently named Class C player of the year by the Maine Soccer Coaches Association, made major contributions.

In last month’s state final, she scored her final goal as a high school player five minutes into overtime to lift Sacopee Valley to a 2-1 victory against Fort Kent. She also assisted on Kara Singleton’s goal during regulation play.

In three games in the Western Maine tournament, Lane had five goals and an assist.

During her four-year varsity career at Sacopee, Lane had 79 goals and 28 assists, both school records.

Murphy said Lane could have scored even more goals.

“She’s someone who can score 30-plus goals a year,” he said.

“She can do that. But this year, particularly, she said ‘I don’t care where I play, we have a goal in mind (as a team).’ There was a time I asked her to play sweeper. She played halfback a lot. It’s not her first choice but she knew for the betterment of the team that was where we needed her.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com