Belle Morel painted her soccer career in broad strokes of adrenaline.
Peak to Peak’s center striker finished her four-year run as one of her program’s, as well as the state’s, most prolific goal-scorers. But when she reflects on the 108 times she put the ball in the back of the net since she was a freshman, one stands out above the rest.
Morel’s goal in the 109th minute of the 2013 Class 3A state championship was most certainly a picture-perfect finish for one of the state’s most exciting players. It netted the Pumas a 1-0 victory and gave Peak to Peak its second straight state title.
“I just got all my energy up, jumped for the ball and got my head on it,” Morel said. “I saw it hit the goalie’s hands, but it had just enough oomph to go into the goal. It was a relief.”
The BoCoPreps.com girls soccer Player of the Year has given the Pumas an almost unfair advantage in recent years. This season alone, the striker punched 38 balls past the goalie with her coach estimating four of them hit the back of the net as game-winners. Morel’s success on the attack, however, comes as little surprise to Peter Chandler. To the Pumas’ coach, she has the perfect mix of mental and physical assets to be a lead attacker.
“She is what I call a goal sniffer, she always around the net,” Chandler said. “More than that, she knows how to score. She has so much confidence in what she does and she wants to be there.”
Morel’s scoring has thrilled Chandler the four years she has started for his varsity squad. But the coach was blown away with her production this season, given the striker was a well-known commodity across the state.
“That was the crazy thing, she produced the way she did even though everyone knew she was our go-to girl,” Chandler said. “She was triple-marked in games and still got goals.”
An attribute the coach believes made Morel such a threat in front of the net was the same one that earned the Pumas their second championship — her head. The striker was an imposing figure on the pitch, taller than the majority of the marks she faced. And she was fearless at launching her noggin at the ball.
Morel won’t argue with Chandler’s evaluation, but she believes there were other dimensions that made her an offensive menace. One of the most influential aspects to her production, from her own estimations, was her dedication to improving. The striker did everything to live and breathe soccer throughout high school.
“After my freshman year, I carried a ball with me wherever I went,” Morel said. “I juggled it, kicked around with my friends and always kept it at my feet. I just wanted to become better.”
Morel had the tendency and ability to steal the show, but she is the first to admit Peak to Peak’s run at the top of 3A has far from a one-woman act. From the Pumas’ lockdown defense to a roster of all-stars, Peak to Peak had all the elements of a stellar program.
“Playing with a team like that raises your expectations for yourself,” Morel said. “I knew I had to play as well as they did every game.”
The Western State College recruit aims to keep her offensive production rolling at the next level. And while she knows it will be a challenge, she has all the motivation in the world to keep on netting the ball.
“I just want to keep my confidence up, go in with a strong head and keep on scoring,” she said.
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