Westminster • Forward from Walla Walla C.C. provides instant success.
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There seems to be a hyper-awareness, an accelerated feel for the game when watching Margo Hickman play soccer.
She's constantly gauging the situation, looking for an opening, a mistake by the defense that will allow her to slip through and find the net.
The Westminster junior has made an immediate impact this season after joining the Griffins from Walla Walla Community College. The 5-foot-3 forward scored a goal in each of her first four games, including two game-winners in overtime.
"You've just got to stay calm," Hickman said of her approach on the field. "You have to see your options and be confident enough to shoot."
The instant success is hardly new for the Boise, Idaho native, who led Walla Walla in scoring last year and amassed 45 goals the past two years.
Westminster coach Tony LeBlanc, who described Hickman as "opportunistic," said he isn't surprised by how quickly she has contributed. Once she got used to the quicker pace, bigger and older players on the field in practice, she found her comfort zone.
"She has tremendous speed," LeBlanc said. "She can burn most of the fullbacks we're playing against. … She knows how to drift out to stay away from the defense, and that gives us a huge option."
Hickman and Walla Walla teammate Justine Jones were the first junior college transfers to play for Westminster, which started the program in 2007. "We didn't have too many forwards, so it was good to get these two in," East High graduate Heather Hillman said of Hickman and Jones. "[Margo] has put away a lot of key goals for us."
Jones, a fellow forward and Hickman's roommate, played a big role in bringing the goal-scorer to Salt Lake, though Hickman said it was a joint decision.
"I love playing with her, she's a fantastic player and we play off each other really well," Jones said. "I thought it would be so much nicer to come to a team with someone I knew and a forward that I could play with and got along great with. I pushed kinda hard to get her to come here."
Hickman and Jones, who is sidelined with an injured quadriceps, compliment the team's 11 seniors and had the Griffins off to a 3-1 start entering the week.
In anticipation of challenging the experience and skilled group, LeBlanc scheduled seven nationally ranked teams.
"We've already beaten one," former Olympus High standout, Sarah Swenson said, referring to a 1-0 victory over Baker on Aug. 26. "We've started playing more challenging teams. Coach purposely scheduled them because he knew this was going to be a good team."