Westminster goalie Kara Hedges enjoys doing things others may not.
Though many don't like math, it has always been her favorite subject.
From age 5 until the summer before she began high school, she had played the goal-scoring glory position of striker. But a stint at a goalkeepers' camp at Mount St. Mary's College that summer convinced her a change was in order. The 17-year-old senior has been in the Westminster goal ever since.
"It's been an interesting transition," said Hedges of going from scoring goals to stopping them.
"Some players don't like the pressures of being a goalie, but I kind of like the challenge of coming up with a big save and being the hero sometimes."
Westminster coach Greg Bright, who encouraged Hedges to attend the camp, knew she had all the tools to be a solid keeper.
"She had the height, good hands and wasn't afraid to mix it up," he said. "Most importantly, she was willing to work hard and put in the time."
Soccer has become a year-round sport for Hedges. She has played on the Maryland State team of the Olympic Development Program the past two years, in the Washington Area Girls Soccer League and has gone to three more summer camps.
Throw in three years of varsity lacrosse during the spring, editor of the yearbook and two years running on the National Honor Society, and it's pretty safe to say Hedges keeps herself pretty busy.
"It's non-stop and makes for a lot of late nights, but it's been worth it," Hedges said.
Hedges and her Owls teammates had plenty of pressure on them in their regular-season finale against C. Milton Wright on Thursday. The Owls needed a win to have any chance of advancing to the regional playoffs.
Final score: Westminster 1, C. Milton Wright 0.
It gave Hedges and the Owls their eighth shutout of the season -- breaking the county record of seven, which they had set last season. Hedges had six saves that night as the Owls finished up the regular season 8-4. The Owls also tied a county record by allowing only eight goals for the season, again set by them last year.
That's 15 shutouts and a skimpy 16 goals allowed in two seasons -- numbers Hedges likes.
"We have a pretty good defense and they've played very well this year," Hedges said. "You need someone back there to take control, and I just try to keep talking and try to be a leader."
Bright said seeing someone other than Hedges in goal next year for the Owls is going to take some time getting used to.
"She's been a key on our defense for four years now," Bright said. "She's worked hard over the years and has developed into a great keeper and team leader."
That doesn't mean Hedges won't be in goal somewhere next fall. A number of colleges have expressed interest in her goalkeeping abilities, but so far she's undecided as to where she may end up.
One thing she does know is wherever she goes, she'll major in math. And she hopes she'll be getting more shutouts to add up.