WXXV Student Athlete of the Week: D’Iberville Girls Soccer’s Paige Lutkins
The D’Iberville girls soccer team is coming off its first win of the season last night and for the Lady Warriors, it all starts in goal with Paige Lutkins.
Last season the junior keeper played a huge role in helping D’Iberville return to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years and now she’s this week’s student athlete of the week.
Playing on a soccer field since she was seven-years-old, Paige Lutkins doesn’t remember a time she didn’t have a ball at her feet.
Now, a junior at D’Iberville High School, she’s been the Lady Warriors’ starting goalie for the past two years. Head Coach Paul Langham said, “It’s important for her to be vocal on the field, command the ball, and of course communicate to players what’s going on so that we can have a counter attack whenever she gets the ball.”
The goalie position is a big-time role with a whole lot of pressure, but instead of standing in fear, Lutkins uses those pressure cooker moments as motivation. Lutkins said, “It’s definitely a very challenging position, and it takes a lot on you. It’s a very mental position because one mistake and it can cost the whole game, but I love the position. I try very hard every day to just correct the little mistakes and just keep going, keep getting better.”
But instead of getting worked up about the little things and focusing on the negatives, she lifts her teammates up instead. Left back Courtney Culwell said, “She never has a bad thing to say about anybody. Even after the games, like they said, she had 22 scores on goal so really, she could blame it on everybody else because it had to get through everybody else. She could blame it on everybody and say ‘oh it’s this person’s fault’ and she doesn’t do that. She looks straight past that and she tells us all to keep going so she’s super motivational in that sense.”
And the feelings are mutual for Lutkins as she explains that her favorite part of playing the game of soccer is the people she gets to play with. “I love the team as a whole. Just being with people that I enjoy playing with. Being with people who make me feel comfortable. I know they all have my back. The coaches will motivate me to keep going. That’s a really important part.”
From goal keeper on the field to keeper of good grades, Lutkins also succeeds in the classroom. She’s a straight A student and she’s ranked in the top ten of her junior class. “She’s an amazing student, so we don’t really have to worry about grades. She gets the academic award the past couple of years for the team, and she got the goalie award last year as well. She’s a hard worker. She doesn’t like to miss practice…pushes through pain, and pretty much a team leader.”
Although the Lady Warriors only have two games under their belts this season so far, Lutkins is confident that they will have a successful season. “I’m really excited. I think our first two games really showed how the season is going to be as a whole. Especially against Biloxi, I feel like we had really good chemistry, good communication, and I can see us doing really well this season.”
Lutkins’ dream is to play soccer at the next level and then go into the medical field where she wants to purse a career in physical therapy or dermatology.
You can catch Paige and the rest of her Lady Warriors in action on Friday on the road at Gulfport at 5:30 p.m.