06/09/04 — News-Argus girls soccer player of the year -- Mary Beth Hooks

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News-Argus girls soccer player of the year -- Mary Beth Hooks

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on June 9, 2004 1:58 PM

PIKEVILLE - Despite her frustration in what would be her final prep game, Mary Beth Hooks never stopped hustling.

She played with the same fire and desire that made her the team's offensive catalyst and 16-goal scorer during an impressive season that saw Charles B. Aycock top perennially tough West Carteret in Morehead City and sweep rival Eastern Wayne.

Hooks wasn't getting her traditional amount of touches and deep-striking attacks in the Golden Falcons' Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff match at Jacksonville White Oak.

Nearly everytime the senior forward or any Aycock offensive player tried to make a move, it seemed as if a White Oak player was in the right position at the right time to defend the play.

After the longest soccer playoff-run in school history and a 10-2, co-Eastern Carolina Conference 3-A championship season, the Falcons eventually fell to the traditional eastern powerhouse.

"It was frustrating for me and all the girls," Hooks said. "It's hard to play a team that skilled to where you want to give up, but when you think about it you know that's not right to do, especially being our last game.

"You don't want to look back and think that you didn't give it your all."

The daughter of Tommy and Beth Hooks, played a vital role in a number of Aycock's big wins, but always put the team before her own accolades.

For her success, unselfishness and the team's success, Hooks is the 2004 News-Argus girls soccer player of the year.

"The coaches have put their whole hearts and souls into this," Hooks said. "It's hard to be pointed out as a single person because this is a team, and I'm so proud of everyone."

Hooks and her senior teammates didn't win a lot of games in their freshman and sophomore campaigns, but advanced to the playoffs as juniors when they meshed with a promising group of underclassmen.

One year later, the gelling continued and their experience together started paying divedends. In the win column and also importantly, as teammates.

"Experience is the main factor in this process," Hooks said. "The girls who are sophomores now have really stepped up. We had a year with them last year. "Playing together has given us an opportunity to grow with each other."

Basketball was her first love, and she continued to play on the hardwood through high school. But, Hooks continued to gain interest in soccer -- playing coed middle school at Norwayne for Carol Bartlett before her first two years at Aycock under Chris Faria.

She is thankful for all of their tutelage, especially that of her coach over the last two years -- John Fidler.

"He has put his whole heart and soul into making things better for the program," Hooks said. "We've had more intense practices and that helps us with game situations."

While her love for soccer has increased, she has also peaked the interest of a handful of collegiate programs in eastern North Carolina.

She plans to study child psychology at either North Carolina Weslyan or Meredith College and could possibly play for either.

Whatever she decides to do, Hooks and the rest of the seniors have helped build a solid foundation for girls soccer at Aycock.

"She's the ultimate team player. She sacrificed being a scorer sometimes to play where we needed her," Aycock coach John Fidler said. "Scoring goals were secondary to us winning the game. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want her on the field."