MT. VERNON — Kirsten McGowen has anchored the Lady Rams soccer defense this season.
Friday, she signed with Missouri Baptist University.
“She's a really good soccer player,” Mt. Vernon girls soccer coach Jim Duncan said. “She's a standout high school player. She'll mix in with the better players at the college and she'll do nothing but improve.”
In addition to her defensive duties this year, McGowen also takes corner and free kicks. The veteran player has also taken over a leadership role on a squad that lost 10 seniors from last season.
“She's been our key player,” Duncan said. “She's the kingpin of our system.
“Kirsten's been the stronghold in every game.”
McGowen played for a pair of coaches during her girls soccer career at Mt. Vernon. Duncan has coached her this season, but she started playing for former coach Jeff Harrison. McGowen said she's learned from both coaches, adding that Harrison helped create a desire to play at the college level.
“Jeff Harrison had a big impact on that just from day one, his encouragement and his support and his love for the game.
“He was really influential in that and Jimmy coming in this year with his knowledge for the game just made my overall experience at the high school with soccer really great,” McGowen said.
Harrison said he was pleased to see his former player making the leap to the collegiate level.
“I'm really proud of Kirsten,” Harrison said. “The years I got to deal with her, she's a hard working girl. She's a girl that deserves it.”