ARLINGTON — Speed is the name of the game and Danielle Baker delivers.
The senior forward led the Arlington soccer team with a hat trick Sept. 19 to shutout Everett 6-0, as a result she is the Arlington Times Athlete of the Week.
“Scoring is just fun and winning 6-0 is fun,” Baker said. “I got to play off of really good through balls and finished them, which is something I’ve been working on.”
Speed is Baker’s best skill, which allows her to score off of balls passed to her by teammates. She leads the team with four goals.
“I also run track; it really helps here because I can get past most the girls with my speed alone and my skill helps afterward,” Baker said.
Though she’s quick, Baker relied on her teammates to give her a chance to score.
“Without those through balls, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to score,” Baker said.
“Danielle is really fast and athletic,” coach Nathan Davis said. “She is a tough forward for teams to handle. She did a great job finishing.”
It was Arlington’s sixth match of the season, but Baker is motivated to repeat her performance in the upcoming matches.
“Now my team knows I can finish and score goals so then they’ll be able to play more balls for me, and I’ll get more opportunities also,” she said.
Because of her speed, she goes through specialized drills during practice to hone her finishing abilities.
“My coach tweaks a lot of things for me throughout practice and has me work on different things,” Baker said.
Baker struggled with the game before, so for her to score three goals in one game was a huge confidence builder for her, Davis said.
“I just hope it’s consistent. It was a great game,” Davis said. “It’s not easy for anyone to score like that.”
Also specializing in the 100 and 200 events in track, she is looking more into track than soccer after high school, but Davis thinks soccer is still an option for her.
“She’s totally capable,” Davis said. “It’s a matter of desire than ability.”
Arlington’s record is 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the league.