BAR HARBOR — With one game left in the regular season for soccer, Mount Desert Island High School senior Daisy Granholm broke a 32-year-old school record set by her mom for the most goals scored in one season.
In 1987, MDIHS sophomore Whitney Williams, now Whitney Granholm, set the record at 36 goals for a single soccer season. Daisy, who has averaged three goals per game so far this season, scored a hat trick in the game Saturday to set the new record at 38 goals for one season, thus far.
When Daisy and teammates went against Ellsworth on Monday, Granholm scored another hat trick, putting her scoring record at 41 goals for a single season.
Both Whitney and Daisy made the varsity soccer team as freshmen, but their paths took slightly different turns after that year.
Whitney set the school scoring record her sophomore year. She suffered an injury her junior year, which limited her play. She came back strong her senior year but not enough to beat her own scoring record.
Daisy began playing for Acadia Fire FC Soccer Academy before she could play for a middle or high school team. At 12 years old she went to Brewer to join the Seacoast United team and continued to move through that organization. It meant traveling for practice one day a week, first in Portland and then in Epping, N.H., and even longer weekend trips for games.
“She has a very high level of soccer knowledge and that displays itself on the field,” said MDI girls’ varsity coach May Dow, who is in her fifth season with the team.
“She’s a great role model for the younger girls. Everyone on the team gets along so well.”
Daisy played on the high school’s varsity team her sophomore year. Her junior year, she joined Seacoast United’s junior development academy where she could be seen by college coaches and play at a more competitive level.
“This was her thing,” said Whitney about Daisy’s love for soccer. “It took on a life of its own for her when she started playing on the southern [Portland] team … She’s gotten up at 4 a.m. many, many a time to go to a game in Boston. She’s never complained once.”
Daisy said her mother has “never been a part of any coaching.”
“I mean, obviously sometimes she has stuff to say after the game and we process the game together,” she said. “She’s very much a parent, as far as that goes.”
Daisy admits she went into this season, after not playing for the MDI team last season, aiming to break her mom’s record. And, Whitney is all for it.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Whitney prior to a game against Hermon on Oct. 14. “I’m thrilled that she’s going to break my record. It’s a personal achievement.”
There had been lots of talk about Daisy breaking Whitney’s record after she hit 35 goals for the season in the game against Old Town on Oct. 8. When they went up against Hermon the following Monday, Daisy wasn’t feeling as confident as others that her tally would change.
Hermon had handed the Trojans their only loss for the season and held Daisy to one goal, her lowest score of any game during the season.
“I don’t know, Hermon’s pretty good,” Daisy said just before boarding the bus to go to that game. “They’re our biggest competition. Right now I think they’re number 2 and we’re number 3. They’re our only loss this season.”
The Hawks handed MDI their second loss of the season that day, shutting Daisy and her team down all together.
“I think we got in our heads a little bit,” she said about the defeat.
For the record-breaking moment, fans would have to wait until the Trojans faced Foxcroft Academy on Saturday.
Even though MDI pulled off a 5-1 victory, it was not an easy win.
Julia Rush scored in the first half for the Trojans, but Granholm did not land one in the net until the second half.
Once the first goal went in to tie her mom’s record, it almost seemed like she could breathe again and ease back into just playing the game. When Daisy kicked the ball into the goal to break the record, it was a smooth, Granholm-esque shot with little resistance from the Ponies’ defense.
“It felt pretty good because everyone has been talking about it,” she said after the game. “It was kind of a sense of relief.”
A third goal made the game memorable because it not only broke the record, but continued to make exceeding it in the future even more difficult.
Dow said when the team was congratulating Daisy, she told her teammates breaking the record would not have been possible without them.
“I think she could have broken the record earlier,” Dow added. “But, she sees the field well and distributes well and tries to help her teammates get into scoring position.”
Midfielder Lelia Weir and Granholm have teamed up for many of the goals scored this year.
“I think we work really well together and she’s just a big force in the mid-field,” said Granholm about Weir. “I have definitely connected with other players … Playing for MDI, I have a ton of chances. In a club game I’ll have maybe two or three. But, here I can score three or four goals.”
Or, as many as the 6 she scored in one of the team’s games against George Stevens Academy this year.
“Coming off this season and going into club season I have a confidence in front of the goal that is really hard to have in a game,” said Granholm, who is one of the team’s captains and plays soccer all year.
“My coaches have said I’m a pretty true center forward. I can keep the ball, hold on to it and wait for help, or play it back.”
Throughout her time with Seacoast United and at soccer camps, Granholm has been coached by coaches on many different levels of the game.
“I got coached a lot by college coaches,” she said. “That’s a really fun change too to see what they have to say. It’s a lot of the same stuff after awhile, but it’s just cool to get different perspectives.”
Last year, when she decided not to play for the high school team and participate in Seacoast United’s development academy it was a tough decision made by her entire family.
“We knew that was going to be quite a bit harder,” Whitney Granholm said. It was a commitment to commute at least four hours, twice a week. “We’d get home at 1:30 a.m. … It became a full-time job just to strategize.
“It was hard on Daisy,” she continued. “We had to miss school … Travel teams, those girls are sacrificing a lot of time and effort.”
For Daisy, missing weekend activities to put in more time on the pitch paid off when she was offered a supported spot on Dartmouth College’s soccer team.
“I’ve verbally committed,” she said, explaining that she still is going through the application process for the school.
Whitney said the college had recently called to ask for Granholm’s size so that uniforms could be ordered.
College is something she can focus on in the near future, but for now she and her Trojan teammates have a shot at the playoffs.
“Daisy is such a great person [and] has such passion for the game,” said Dow. “[She] cares about her teammates both on and off the field. She works hard and all of the time and effort she has put into the game over the years has shown on the field … she’s fun to watch.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the MDI player who scored the team’s first goal Oct. 19 against Foxcroft. The Islander apologizes for the error.