FORT MILL — By Mac Banks
Performing under pressure for kickers is nothing new, however, add on top of that the fact that you are a freshman at a new school, it’s your first game of the season and everyone expects things to go wrong because you are a “girl.”
For Nation Ford freshman varsity kicker Lexi Dressing all that and more could have gotten to her during the Falcons’ 57-56 win over Forestview in the first game of the 2013 football season, but it didn’t.
Dressing, 14, had been in school just three days, when she helped to get the Falcons that win by going 6-for-7 in extra points.
However, kicking is anything but new to her and neither is pressure.
“There is always pressure being a freshman on varsity,” Dressing said. “I’ve been preparing mentally for a while. I come out here and practiced every day during the summer. I imagine the football going through the goal, so I listen to my music and pray to God before every game.”
A soccer player as well, Dressing has been kicking for the past two years and played middle school football at Banks Trail during her seventh and eighth grade years.
Dressing has played soccer for nine years and one day she was talking with her mom about playing football and they decided she should try.
“Me and my mom were talking about it one night and she was ‘why don’t you try out for football?’ so I said ‘OK,’” Dressing said. “I had never kicked a football before I tried out (at Banks Trail). It’s a big change trying to kick a football because a soccer ball isn’t shaped the same, so it’s harder.”
However once she started kicking, word got around that this girl knows what she is doing.
“We got word of a female kicker that could kick really well,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Allen. “I met her during the summer time and the team has received her really well.”
Dressing said there is a big difference in playing football vs. playing soccer. So much so, that playing football has affected how she plays soccer.
“It’s a little more intense,” she said. “I get fouls a lot in soccer now just from hitting people.”
And Dressing said she isn’t worried about getting hit in football.
“I’ve been hit before,” she said. “Pain is temporary.”
Dressing was worried about how she would be perceived from her teammates, with her being a girl kicker and a freshman on top of that playing at the varsity level. However with every kick that sailed through the uprights; her confidence grows, as does the confidence of her teammates.
Allen wasn’t sure how she would handle things in game situations or after she missed her first extra-point attempt of the season, but said he was surprised at how she bounced back.
“She works hard,” Allen said. “She has her routine, she goes through. She pretty much won the ball game for us. It says a lot about who she is. I am a little surprised. But her demeanor shows she is capable of that. She knows what she is capable of and the guys support her and that is a big part.”
Dressing said she feels that support from her teammates as well.
“They are all awesome,” she said. “I think after the game they really accepted me as part of the team because I kind of proved myself.”