Athlete of the Week: Confident Cook having standout season for Falcons

Lauren Cook Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Confidence can be a great thing, and this season it’s helped Lauren Cook become one of the top scorers in the area.

The Central junior leads the girls soccer team in goals, and has emerged as a top threat for the Falcons.

“I think this year she’s gained a lot more confidence,” Central coach Kim Dellinger said. “I think with that, I think she’s also gained a lot more speed. We did a lot of speed work this season. All the girls have gotten faster and you can see the speed that she’s gotten.”

Dellinger said that she scored the team’s only goal against George Mason earlier this season, by making a move on a defender and the scoring.

Cook, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of May 1-7, scored two goals in last week’s 3-1 victory over Conference 35 rival Clarke County.

Cook scored twice within 10 minutes to put the Falcons up 3-0. It was the first win for the Falcons over the Eagles in quite some time, and Cook said she was a little nervous for the game.

“I was very nervous and I felt like we had a lot of pressure on us,” Cook said. “But I was really, really happy in the end.”

Cook scored nine goals last year and had one assist.

This season Cook said she’s had a better attitude.

“For some reason starting this season I told myself through all of the conditioning that it’s going to be worth it,” Cook said. “I tried to have the best attitude and it’s really paid off, because before I never really wanted to go to practice. I never really wanted to condition, but this year I kind of changed my mindset and it’s worked a lot.”

Cook has 11 goals and four assists to lead the Falcons this year.

She said she’s been playing since she was 5, and has been coached by Dellinger since she was 10 in recreational leagues, travel teams and in high school.

Dellinger said that Cook’s ability to find holes and openings in the defense is one of her strengths.

“She’s got some of the best ball skills in the middle of the field in the middle of traffic of any player we have,” Dellinger said. “We have some good players with ball skills, but she’s got a lot of one-on-one moves. She puts moves on girls. She’s one of the only ones that can do it.”

He said she is also very good at controlling the ball in the air, and scoring on headers. Dellinger said she had several goals on headers this season.

Another factor he said was her ability to shoot with either foot.

“She has the advantage over the other players in that she’s both left-footed and right-footed,” Dellinger said. “She can shoot from either side. So if the ball comes to the left or the right she’s got a good leg to it, and I think she’s one of the only players that we have that has that.”

The Falcons are 9-4-1 this season and in second place in Conference 35.

Cook said she’s really enjoyed being on the team this season and playing with her teammates.

“I’m very happy. Everyone’s had a real good attitude,” Cook said. “I’m really happy about that, because there hasn’t been a lot of fighting or anything. Even though we condition and even though we lose and things like that happen, we all are able to come together and have a good attitude about it. Kind of just focus on moving forward and not letting it get the best of us.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com