Former GCHS soccer star ready to set records in college

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By Paul Gable

For Amy Vallandingham, making a name for herself in soccer has come naturally.

As a high school student-athlete at Grant County High School, Vallandingham set 10 school records, including goals scored in a season, goals scored in a career, goals scored in a game and consecutive games with a goal or an assist. Those records came a result of playing her freshman and sophomore years at St. Henry District High School before ending her high school career as a member of the Lady Braves' program.

Upon graduation from Grant County High School, Vallandingham took her game to Union College, where she plays for Jason Lanham, who coached her at Grant County High School. Lanham was hired at the conclusion of the 2007 season, and the team has not conducted many activities with their new coach, according to Vallandingham.

"From what I can see it is going to be a fun, hard-working and successful season and I think many more succesful seasons to come. I know the girls and I am excited and anxious to see what lies ahead," Vallandingham said of the possibilities of playing for her former high school coach.

While she set numerous records in high school, Vallandingham said the transition period from high school to Union College was "tough."

Vallandingham said when she got her summer fitness packet, "I knew it was going to be hard. The teams are more physical, it (the game) is much faster and you have to be more creative."

In addition to adapting to the game, Vallandingham had to also adapt to a position change. While at Grant County, she mainly played as a midfielder or forward, but she is now playing as a defender.

"What I like most about being a college athlete is the intensity. I absolutely love playing college soccer," Vallandingham said.

In her first season at Union College, Vallandingham played in 19 games, scoring one goal and recording one assist. For the 2007 season, she started 16 of the 17 matches she played in, scoring one goal and recording one assist. Against West Virginia Tech University, Vallandingham scored the game-winning goal.

Vallandingham has words of wisdom for area players dreaming of playing college soccer.

"All I can say is never give up. You can accomplish anything you want to. No matter who tells you that you can't do it, prove them wrong. Never let anyone take you out of your game and always go for your goal," Vallandingham said.