Setting goals is one thing, but taking the time to write them down and review them every morning is what separates the mediocre student-athlete from Hammond High's Kacy Williams.
"I make a list of 10 goals each sports season and I keep them by my bedside," Williams explained. "Each morning when I wake up, I read through them and it helps me stay focused."
Among some of the entries on Williams' autumn list of commitments are "prepare for the SAT," "play basketball at least twice a week and improve vertical leap" and "use soccer for mental and physical growth."
Williams' strong mental attitude is as genuine as the leather that goes into making a soccer ball.
"She's just one of those type of players you love to have as a coach," said Hammond coach Dave Guetler, whose Golden Bears went 15-1 last season and emerged as the state Class 2A/1A champions. "She's a coach's dream. Kacy is just a tremendous player, a tremendous person, and a perfect student."
Hang on, Guetler wasn't finished dishing out the praise.
"She's the nicest kid you ever want to meet and she's very unselfish," he continued. "She's the type of player that would rather pass the ball off to her teammate than score herself."
In Hammond's three games this season -- all victories -- Williams has yet to score, which she did with regularity last season in collecting 10 goals and 12 assists.
The multitalented junior has taken on dual responsibilities this season, moving back and forth from her "home" at midfield, to sweeper, where she admittedly is just "attempting" to fill a huge void left by the graduation of first-team All-Metro defender Jackie Rieschick.
"I like playing sweeper, but I've been playing midfield all my life, so I'm still adjusting to the position," said Williams, who maintains a 4.0 grade-point average despite her active schedule. "It's a new experience for me."
Williams and her basketball team at Hammond enjoyed another "new experience" last December when the Bears captured their first Class 2A state title. Only a sophomore, Williams contributed 15.1 points and 4.7 assists at point guard. She set a school record with 133 steals (5.6 a game), averaged 7.3 rebounds and was named to The Baltimore Sun All-Metro team.
"Kacy could get a Division I scholarship for soccer or basketball," said Guetler. "That's how good of an athlete she is. On the soccer field, she's not our scorer, but our playmaker. She controls the midfield."
Soccer may be Williams' first love, but if she had her druthers -- and the right college comes knocking -- she will retire her shin guards when she graduates from Hammond in 1994.
"I'd like to play basketball at the collegiate level, but people keep telling me not to rule out soccer because I may be able to get a scholarship in that as well," said Williams. "I've played soccer a lot longer than basketball, so basketball is more of a challenge for me."
For now, Williams has accepted the challenge at hand, which includes the defense of her team's state soccer title and the pursuit of a first-ever county title.
And for now, Guetler will keep on creating new superlatives for his team's co-captain.
"If I had to sum up Kacy, I'd have to say that she's the perfect student-athlete," he said. "She's a real 'gamer,' if you know what I mean."