Prep soccer: West's Baucom signs with Catawba
By Ryan Bisesi
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan coach Nick Brown didn’t hesitate to say a few words about senior Allison Baucom at the beginning of her Signing Day celebration last week. After lauding her three seasons of service to the Falcons, Brown took the liberty of penciling Baucom in as a prospective starter for the upcoming season.
“We’ll see,” Baucom joked. “I have to make the team first.”
For a player who was voted best in the region last year, there’s little doubt of that, but she had some uncertainty about her post high-school days until recently.
Baucom considered interest from Division I schools Charlotte and UNC Wilmington before deciding on Catawba. Her travel teams took her away to play soccer. This time, it told her to stay home.
“It was a really long process and a lot of downs and a few ups,” Baucom said from the West cafeteria. “Catawba just felt right. A big difference was that I knew people on the team and made it seem more like a family.”
Familiar faces are aplenty with the Indians. Baucom has played with West grad and current Catawba freshman Allison Parker since she was five. Catawba freshman Brittany Gibbons starred at West and Salisbury alum Karen Presnell, last year’s county player of the year, will be a sophomore next year. Brown is also an assistant at Catawba, where he played and graduated from in 2005.
The possibility of immediate playing time at Catawba is more likely for Baucom, who played club soccer with the Charlotte Soccer Academy. The Academy had conference games in Florida and Virginia and traveled throughout the country. She played on the middle school team at Sacred Heart as a fourth grader.
“I realized that if I went to one of those schools (UNC Wilmington, Charlotte) I probably wouldn’t play very much,” Baucom said. “At D2, I think I would play a good bit and enjoy it a lot more.”
Normally a center midfielder, Baucom has to think a bit before talking about positions because of her versatility. She’s played just about everywhere between her club and school teams.
“I think she can play just about any position,” Brown said. “I’ve played her everywhere except goalkeeper and I wouldn’t doubt that she’d play there if I asked her.”
Baucom says she has to improve her confidence to prep for the college level. She hasn’t decided on a major yet.
“I think when you’re looking for a college, it’s important to find a situation that you’re comfortable in,” Brown said. “Catawba, whether it’s close to home or some old teammates there, is probably a good fit for her. I don’t doubt that she could have gone to a division I and played. At the end of the day you’ve got to find somewhere where you’re comfortable athletically and academically.”
Baucom’s prep career has yielded 66 goals and 55 assists for 187 points with a season to go. A team captain for the last two seasons, Baucom helped West to a 17-3 record and a second-round apparence in the state 3A playoffs in 2011. The Falcons were 12-0 in the NPC last year.
“She was a major factor in a lot of our games,” Brown said. “She’s always working so hard and she’s always going to bring her A game.”
Baucom scored a pivotal goal last year against Statesville for West to claim the NPC championship. Last year featured 22 goals and 26 assists for a 70-point year. 2010 featured a career-best 26 goals and a County Player of the Year honor. She was a factor her freshman year too, with 15 goals and 13 assists.
“We want to add a county championship in there too,” Baucom said of 2012. “We want to carry on what we did last year.”
Despite losing Parker and Gibbons, the Falcons return 16 players and nine of 11 starters.