Katie Levesque never thought she would be among the state’s all-time top goal scorers when she began her soccer career at Central Aroostook High School in Mars Hill.
Now, 135 goals later and with a handful of games still remaining, the Panthers senior finds herself as the No. 5 scorer in state history.
Shelby Pickering of Lee Academy ranks first with 178 goals, followed by Waterville’s Jordan Pellerin (171), Washburn’s Mackenzie Worcester (153) and Kris Kelly of Camden Hills, who came into the season with 127.
Joe Levesque, Katie’s father, also is her coach at Central Aroostook.
“The thing about Katie is when she has a goal set in her mind, she is relentless about getting it,” Joe Levesque said. “When she found out that soccer was something she really enjoyed, she wanted to play it all the time and master it.”
That meant spending two years traveling, mostly with her mom Heidi, to Brewer to practice with her Seacoast United club team during the week. They then traveled across New England on weekends to play games.
“It definitely helped my foot skills and my overall knowledge of the game,” Katie said.
She learned the importance of playing off the ball and running to space so her teammates could find her with a pass.
“You need to look around before you receive the ball,” she said. “And I learned how to get by a defender.”
After training with Seacoast United, Levesque eventually began training with Brian Morrison at County Physical Therapy in Presque Isle.
“I’m definitely stronger and faster now. I’ve been able to hold defenders off me a lot better,” she said.
Coach Levesque said Katie has often demonstrated breakaway speed this season and has benefited from playing with exceptional teammates during her career.
The 5-foot-3 Levesque has two older sisters, Karli and Kassie, both of whom were accomplished soccer players. Katie said she learned a lot by watching them.
“Karli had a good strong shot, but she wasn’t as polished as Kate. Kate can score equally with both feet,” coach Levesque said. “Katie is a natural finisher.”
Katie has scored 27 goals this season to lead the defending Class D North champion Panthers to a 10-1 record. The only loss was a 5-3 setback to defending Class C state champ Fort Kent.
Katie, who also plays basketball, feels her soccer improvement is ongoing.
“I’ve developed better moves. I’ve learned about changing directions and how to be smart on the field,” she said.
Central Aroostook is on break for three weeks, through Oct. 15, for the potato harvest.
The Panthers went 16-1-1 last year, their only loss coming to North Yarmouth Academy (4-1) in the state final. Levesque scored the only goal, her 39th of the season.
CAHS lost only one starter off that team.
“You can throw more at them because they’ll understand what you’re doing and will execute better,” coach Levesque said. “I put in a whole different formation when we played Madawaska, one that we had never practiced before, and the girls went out and won 9-2.”
CAHS has an impressive senior class that includes midfielders Breann Bradbury, Brooke Blackstone and Kayla Martin, along with backs Macey Coffin and Sydney Garrison.
Sophomore Liberty Fulton starts up front with Levesque, junior Janelle Tweedie is a regular midfielder, and juniors Maddison Coffin and Libby Grass are starting backs. Sophomore Olivia Blackstone is a two-year starter in goal.
The Coffins and Blackstones are sisters.
Freshmen Calleigh Crawford, Anna Kilcollins and Katie Carvell have been productive coming off the bench.
Katie Levesque said playing for her father can be difficult at times because it is important that he doesn’t show favoritism toward her. But she enjoys it.
“He’s not like my dad; he’s more like my coach,” she said.
Winning the state championship is the team’s goal and Katie Levesque said it is important the Panthers stay humble and continue to work hard.
Coach Levesque is concerned about the 19-day layoff between games due to the harvest break, but CAHS has a demanding three-game stretch to conclude the regular season to help prepare it for the playoffs.
Central Aroostook plays Ashland (9-1), Fort Kent (60-02) and Fort Fairfield (8-2).
Katie, who is leaning toward attending the University of Maine at Presque Isle, said being part of this senior class is special.
“We have played together so long, and we have accomplished so much. We really want to win [the state title], and we know we have to work hard to do that,” she said.