It was really only a matter of when, and not if, for the best girls soccer player in Bradford High history.
But on Tuesday afternoon — in front of her home crowd — the Lady Owls’ Regan Johnson scored her 100th career goal just three minutes into the game as part of her team’s 19-0 victory over District 10 Region 6 foe Oil City.
The game was stopped for several minutes as Johnson celebrated with her teammates, family and coaches.
Then, two minutes after reaching the century mark, Johnson added another goal and finished with a hat trick despite sitting out much of the contest.
“It was very exciting,” Johnson said afterwards. “A moment I have been waiting for since my freshman year and it’s been a big goal of mine. I was really excited to see my team supporting me and all the fans. It was really cool.”
Johnson leads all of the Big 30 with 31 goals on the season and is the first player in Bradford history to reach the 100-goal plateau. No other player in the Big 30 has more than 19 tallies.
For Warren Shaw, who has coached Johnson over the past two seasons at the varsity level and before that for years in travel soccer, Tuesday’s milestone was the culmination of many years of hard work and improvements to her game.
“It’s cool because I’ve been with Regan since she was young,” Shaw said. “She has put in a lot of work this year to improve and it’s not just the speed thing. The passing has gotten so much better, the control has gotten better, the moving without the ball. As a coach, that’s satisfying to see because that’s the stuff you’re trying to teach.”
Not only did Johnson score three times against Oil City, but she also got her teammates involved. She had three assists in the game, something that Shaw said is indicative of the person, and leader, Johnson is on her team.
“I’ll tell you what’s cool. It’s not necessarily the goals — because a lot of times when you have a goal-scorer you look at the person and wonder if they are deserving of that — I can tell you with the utmost certainty that she is a great person.
“That’s what is the most satisfying moment for me. It’s that a great person and a great teammate, not just a great player, scored this. That’s the most important thing to me.”
Still, Johnson’s blazing speed — she is the top sprinter on the girls track team — and her finishing ability, have set her apart throughout her high school career that started with 18 goals in her freshman campaign.
For her part, Johnson said that her biggest moment in a Bradford soccer uniform was winning the District 9 championship last season, something she is hoping to accomplish again in her senior season.
“In my freshman or sophomore years we didn’t win districts but last year was the first year we won so that was definitely a monumental game for us,” she said.
“Our goal right now is to win districts and hopefully move on to winning maybe a state championship.”
Also scoring for Bradford (10-3, 7-3) on Tuesday were Emily Prince (4), Mackenzie Lucas (3) Chloe Shaw, Maddie Emerson and Abbie Nuzzo with two goals each. Emily Bosworth, Alexis Reynolds and Lauren Placer scored once. It was the first career high school goals for Emerson, Reynolds and Placer.
The Oilers did not register any shots on target, with three Bradford goalies combining to earn the shutout.
The Lady Owls have outscored Oil City (0-12, 0-10) a combined 35-0 in two games.
That success — which has led Bradford to a District 10-leading 82 goals this season — begins and ends with the play of Johnson, according to Shaw.
“In previous years she was more of a goal-scorer than a playmaker,” he explained. “And now she’s becoming more of a playmaker than just a goal-scorer which means the goals are coming more because she’s actually working without the ball and then working with the ball to set up teammates. So it goes hand-in-hand. Once it starts clicking, it can be very good.”
Bradford travels to Meadville for a league contest on Thursday.