High school girls soccer: East’s Berry is Rowan Goalkeeper of the Year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 26, 2024

By Mike London

GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan goalkeeper Daisy Berry wore the No. 31 jersey, but 502 is the number that East soccer coach Andrew Poston wants people to remember.

Berry, who has a fitting first name for a girl who blooms in the spring, was credited by the Mustangs with making 502 saves in 23 matches. That’s a crazy number of saves, which screams two things — that she was facing way too many shots on goal, but also that she stopped a lot of them.

Berry is the Post’s Rowan County Goalkeeper of the Year.

“Daisy has had no technical soccer training, but she’s a special athlete and she’s setting records,” Poston said. “She did face a lot of shots, but she was able to stop 85 percent of them. That’s a very good percentage. There were times when she carried us and she helped us win more games than East has won in a long time.”

East won seven times this season. Putting that number in perspective, the Mustangs won a total of three matches from 2019-22.

There are states in which girls soccer is played in the fall, but as far as spring soccer, Berry’s save total was the highest in the state — and the nation — for the hundreds of schools that reported stats to MaxPreps.

The NCHSAA credits Kenna Martin of Douglas Byrd High in Fayetteville as being the state’s all-time leader for saves in a season (517 in 2006) and career (1,133).

Berry may top that career mark next spring, as she has been credited with 921 saves in two seasons. Berry broke Lauren Weisensel’s East season record of 367 when she posted 419 in 2023.

Berry was a junior this season. She played in her first soccer match as a sophomore.

“I was previously playing basketball, but soccer was something new and exciting and I wanted to try it,” Berry said. “I can still remember my first game as a sophomore, feeling that mixture of excitement and nervousness. It was all new, but I picked up soccer pretty fast.”

Berry helped East win four times in her debut season.

East continued to improve in 2024 and won four games in the South Piedmont Conference in addition to taking three non-conference match-ups.

Carson coach Lauren West and West Rowan coach Chris Mead said Berry made amazing saves against their teams.

“I’ve picked up some skills and I have improved on my dives, punts and catches,” Berry said. “There’s always been a lot of support for me from my team and my family to keep improving.”

Not surprisingly, there were some tough times this season against the best SPC teams — Lake Norman Charter, Northwest Cabarrus and Central Cabarrus — but there also were rewarding nights. Berry posted three shutouts.

“I thought my best performance probably was against West Rowan, even though it was a game we lost,” Berry said. “On the majority of their corner kicks, I was able to go up and catch the ball.”

Jumping is something the 5-foot-8 Berry does well.

“She can get up in the air,” Poston said. “And she has very quick reactions. That allows her to stop some lasers, some buzz shots. We had key additions that really helped us this season like (transfer) Lillian Jeffers and (freshman) Arden Miller, but Daisy’s continued development was probably the biggest factor in the success we had.”

While Poston stepped down as East’s head coach after the season, he looks forward to watching Berry in action in 2025.

Berry, whose favorite soccer player is Mexican goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, is setting the bar high for her senior season.

“I want more team wins and I want to beat my saves total from this season,” she said. “I want to get Keeper of the Year for our conference and I’d like to find a school to play for in college.”