Standing at 5’4” you wouldn’t think much of it by looking at her, but Nikita McCartney has a lot of scoring power in that frame.
The Moncton, NB native is entering her 2nd year of competition with the St. Thomas Tommies, and she has taken the ACAA by storm with her ability to finish around the net. Since she has entered the league McCartney has scored 23 goals, putting her 12 clear of the next closest over that span. That goal scoring output has helped the Tommies sit atop the standings with an undefeated record of 9-0-1 and ranked #13 in the country (all statistics are as of October 15th, 2018).
“Since Nikita became a Tommie, we have a lot of speed up front,” said 4th year centre-midfielder Louisa Hughes. “Because of that she has a lot of success finding the back of the net. She is very quick on her feet and always seems to be in the perfect spot to receive any ball.”
There aren’t many people around who would be more qualified to speak about McCartney’s knack for being in proper position to receive a pass, as Hughes has been a tremendous distributor of the ball from the midfield for the Tommies.
“We've seen excellent distribution coming from our central midfielders this season and Nikita is taking full advantage,” said head coach Michelle DeCourcey referring to Hughes, and first year Tommies Leandra Upton and Abbey Curwin.
With her rise to the top of the ACAA scoring leaders you would be inclined to think she always had a nose for the net, but it wasn’t until recently that McCartney blossomed into the scoring machine that she is.
“When I first started playing soccer I was more of a defensive player,” said McCartney. “I started at centre back and then moved up to striker as I grew as a player. Just the last couple years I’ve been more of an offensive player.”
With her athleticism and knowledge of the game, McCartney has been a versatile weapon for the Tommies, not just as a striker. She has also seen time in the midfield, and is even the team’s back up goal keeper, in case anything happens to 3rd year stalwart, Mary Cronin.
With two regular season games remaining McCartney's sophomore season has been incredible so far, but that isn’t due to lack of effort from opposing teams. The big downside to having such an incredible rookie campaign is that teams will focus in on you defensively to try and shut you down. The biggest difference between her rookie season and this year has been that most teams have been assigning one player to stay with McCartney defensively, in an attempt to limit the damage she does.
“After finishing second in the league in goals in her rookie campaign, we knew Nikita would come into this season with a target on her back,” DeCourcey said. “Every defensive line has her number and is looking to shut her down, many of which have resorted to double-teaming her.”
In the second year of her Arts degree, McCartney isn’t sure what the future holds for her after her Tommies’ career is finished, all we know is that the net will continue to be filled while she’s on the field.