Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Caroline Betts joined an elite club last week after leading the Lady Lions to a 9-0 shutout of Providence Christian Academy.
The standout sophomore scored the 100th goal of her young career. She netted five goals for CPA against PCA as the defending Division II-A champion Lady Lions improved to 7-0 this season.
Betts first mentioned her teammates when asked about reaching the milestone.
“It’s just been a special treat being a part of this team,” she said. “We’ve had so many great seniors and leaders here and it means a lot, but I don’t get 100 goals without 100 assists from my teammates.
“Playing the game with my teammates means so much more than 100 goals.”
CPA coach Tom Gerlach praised Betts' beyond-her-years wisdom as well as her prolific scoring ability.
“She’s one of the most humble and coachable girls you could ever meet,” he said. “It’s never about her because she’s out there thanking her teammates, saying kind words about her teammates and it’s just incredible. That’s just as rare as her talents on the field.”
MURFREESBORO — Their jerseys were filthy and their tanks were empty.
Gerlach, who has about three decades of coaching experience, said Betts is the first player he’s coached to reach the 100-goal milestone.
“I’ve been fortunate to have coached a lot of very talented players, but one of the things that really stands out with Caroline is how she was an impact player from day one,” he said. “That just doesn’t happen very often. I mean 25 goals per season for four years and you’re lucky to get 100 in your career, but here she is early in her sophomore season with 100.
“It’s just phenomenal.”
Betts netted 48 goals last season and turned heads nationally when she tallied hat tricks in seven consecutive matches. CPA went on to edge Chattanooga Christian in penalty kicks to win the state championship.
Per TSSAA rules regarding private schools, Betts was eligible to play as an eighth grader for the Lady Lions and helped CPA reach the state semifinals in 2017. She scored 36 goals in her first season at the varsity level.
Betts has 16 goals this season heading into Tuesday’s match at Grace Christian Academy near Leiper’s Fork.
Betts’ seven hat tricks in a row are a state record. She is 54 goals away from cracking the top 10 in state history for goals scored, according to the TSSAA records. Madison Luttrell, who graduated from Covington last season, is the most prolific scorer in state history with 243 goals in her career. Only two others have broken 200 goals for their careers.
“I give all the glory to the Lord for my accomplishments,” Betts said. “It’s not like I created this talent, it was given to me. … I get to use soccer as part of how I can make a difference and make an impact on others.”
Gerlach can only smile to have such a talented youngster leading his team on the field, while constantly trying to better herself to help and inspire others off the field. He added that Betts carries a 4.46 GPA. It was so inspiring to see how she carried herself last season while supporting her family as her mom battled breast cancer as well, he said.
“She’s an incredible girl,” he said. “That’s just a perfect storm from her abilities, faith and mindset that comes around only once in a lifetime as a coach.”