22 Sep Haley Mignon strikes back with Worcester State – Lowell Sun
When it comes to her prowess on the soccer field, Haley Mignon has the uncanny ability to make things happen.
From her early days lighting it up with the Tewksbury High girls soccer team, to her current status as Worcester State’s resident striker, the 5-foot-4 junior seems to provide that necessary spark whenever her team needs it the most.
And after the WSU women’s soccer team dropped its first three non-league contests of 2021, it was clear there was no better time than now.
Mignon helped reignite the team’s offense, during a recent four-game unbeaten streak. The Tewksbury talent buried the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over Gordon College, Sept. 14, setting things in motion. Two more 2-1 victories over Salve Regina and MCLA followed, culminating with a 2-2 stalemate against Keene State, Sept. 21, getting them back to the .500 mark.
“It’s been going well,” Mignon told the Lowell Sun. “It obviously started off tough, but then I think we realized it was time to flip the switch with conference play coming. We knew having six games in two weeks was going to be tough, but we could change the season around if we could win a few games.”
Going up against Gordon College tested the team’s fiery resolve. The first half was controlled by Worcester State, with the offense steadily working their way to the visitor’s half of the field. Nicknamed ‘Fillet’ by her teammates, Mignon had several glittering opportunities before finally cashing in on a header, setup by teammate Jordan Bailey. The goal proved to be the eventual winner in a hard-fought battle.
“That was an extremely physical game,” said Mignon, who originally had a go-ahead goal waved off on a questionable offsides call earlier in the match. “That (bad) call gave me all the motivation that I needed. I knew I wasn’t going to let that goalie take another one away.”
Mignon is no stranger to success in the athletic arena. The 2019 Tewksbury High graduate played four years of varsity soccer, as well as three years of varsity basketball and lacrosse for the Redmen, earning Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star status on all three squads.
Her true calling was on the soccer field, however, where she first picked up the sport at the age of four.
“I just loved the intensity of it and how its non-stop action,” she said. “It’s very fast paced, which is my kind of game.”
While at Tewksbury, Mignon was a two-time All-Merrimack Valley Conference selection, an Eastern Massachusetts All-Star, as well as the winner of the school’s Outstanding Female Athlete award. With those kind of credentials, it was only a matter of time before the colleges came calling.
“I had known a few people who had gone to Worcester State for other sports,” Mignon said. “I knew they had a really good athletic program, so I reached out to the coach. I think he watched some of my high school games online and ended up recruiting me.”
Mignon certainly didn’t disappoint. She appeared in all 21 games for the Lancers as a freshman, scoring six goals and two assists in 15 starts. She also won MASCAC Rookie of the Week honors, twice.
No slouch in the classroom, the mathematics major also earned a spot on the 2019 Fall MASCAC Academic Team.
Her sophomore season was promptly cancelled, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving everyone waiting in virtual athletics limbo.
“That was really hard, because I stayed at home that fall semester,” Mignon said. “I didn’t even participate in any of the fall practices. It’s hard to keep up with soccer on your own.”
Instead, Mignon would regularly workout at Tewksbury Field, shooting around every day over the fall. From there she focused on her fitness training over the summer, in preparation for the 2021 kickoff.
Mignon entered this season driven to succeed.
“Coming into this preseason, we knew we needed to push ourselves in order to get back on track,” she said. “We have the goal of winning the championship again. We won it (in 2019) and our coach wants us to be two-time champs. Westfield was our toughest opponent last year, so that’s our number one goal to beat them this year.”
The junior striker is poised to lead her club to even bigger and better things in the weeks ahead. They’ll host Curry, Sept. 23, before travelling to Fitchburg State, Sept. 25
“I think these games are winnable” Mignon said. “They’re going to be really intense, and Saturday we go into conference play again, so that’s always good competition.”
And Worcester State can count on Haley Mignon to rise to those occasions, as she always does.
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