Imagine playing in the shadow of an older sibling, one whose high school career ended with more goals than anybody in program history.

Now imagine raising the bar.

That’s what Audrey Fletcher did this year at Monmouth Academy, where the senior capped a stellar career by becoming the only Mustang in history to eclipse 100 goals en route to leading the team to the Mountain Valley Conference championship. For her efforts, Fletcher has been selected as the Central Mainel Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

Monmouth’s Audrey Fletcher kicks the ball into play against Maranacook during a Class C South semifinal game in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Ever since I was little, (older sister Haley Fletcher) and I would talk about it, about whether I could be as good as her,” Fletcher said. “She would say, ‘Yep, if you work hard.’ I think that was always my goal, to be as good as her.

“It was my junior year that I first realized I could potentially reach 100 goals. I decided then, ‘I’m going for that.’ Even if I didn’t get it, I would still break Haley’s record.”

That she did, collecting her 87th career goal before she even reached the second week of her senior season. Haley Fletcher set the career mark of 86 goals in 2016.

And, aside from the century mark, there was still plenty more Audrey Fletcher wanted to achieve as a high school soccer player.

Monmouth head coach Gary Trafton noticed it almost immediately in the preseason.

“She really grew up,” Trafton said. “In the past, she would get frustrated when things didn’t go her way, she’d get frustrated with teammates. We talked about it a lot, and we’d even developed a signal she could use when she needed to come out of games (and cool down).

“You know what? We never used that once all season.”

Part of Fletcher’s growth came from a run-out with Global Premier Soccer out of Portland last winter and spring. There, Fletcher played with a number of top-caliber players, many of whom will move on to college careers.

She said it helped her improve the mental part of her game as much as her foot skills.

“It played a big role,” Fletcher said. “Playing with higher level girls, going to Massachusetts and playing in showcases against (future NCAA Division I) girls. I wasn’t the best player playing in that, but I worked extremely hard to become one of the better players.”

Fletcher was a two-year captain for Monmouth, leading the Mustangs to the No. 1 seed in the Class C South tournament in consecutive seasons.

That leadership role also helped her become a more well-rounded player, one who featured at both striker and center midfield for Monmouth.

“(As a junior), I didn’t know how to handle everything,” she said. “Being a senior, it is different. You can be more of a role model, and you know that people are watching you. You have to make the right decisions all the time. That pushed me to become a better player.”

When she looks back at the early years of her career, Fletcher sees a player who put far too much pressure on herself.

“Thinking back to my junior year especially, I was uptight almost,” she said. “It was always, ‘I can’t let team down, I need to score, I need to be the one to get us on the board.’

“This year, it was more ‘just calm down and play.’ I did that. I got confident within myself.’

The Mustangs made it all the way to the regional semifinals this season, where they lost to reigning Class C South champion Maranacook.

Already, Fletcher has recovered from the sting of losing a close game to a geographic rival.

“I think we had the best season I’ve had all four years here,” she said. “We had high hopes, but what we did, what we put in the work for, that’s what got us to that point.”

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