By MATT PARRINO
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — When Chezney Belcher wakes up in the morning, she’s on a mission to find a new challenge.
She recently went out hunting for the first time and she hopes to one day play lacrosse and tear around on a dirt bike just because it sounds like fun.
Her adventurous and thrill-seeking attitude has helped her command respect — something many girls her age playing team sports can’t even understand.
Belcher is only a sophomore at Tonawanda but may be one of the school’s most talented and promising soccer players. At sweeper, she’s the backbone of a team that’s building something special — the Warriors are trying to win 12 games for the fourth consecutive season.
“Even last year Chezny really stood out. She could have been a captain as a freshman,” said Warriors coach Julie Schork. “She’s just a natural leader and she really controls the back of our defense.”
Belcher’s parents divorced when she was in middle school and she was left with a decision that would shape her life. She said she never had a doubt about where she wanted to be.
“I had to choose between moving out to Lockport with my mom or staying with my dad,” Belcher said. “I chose here because of soccer and I
didn’t want to leave Tonawa
nda. From sports I have a lot of friends. I was closer to the older kids because of soccer.”
Tonawanda has won five of its last six matches and has shut out its opponent three times this season.
Belcher is a big reason why the Warriors have been so hard to score on. Schork said that having a player that will step up and play hard in the back is the key to a strong defense.
A lot of girls are really shy, especially as underclassmen, according to Schork, which makes Belcher such a rare talent. She works hard in every practice drill and is always looking to correct her mistakes.
Schork said that Belcher is her own biggest critic and is always looking for ways to improve her game to help her team.
“She really likes to challenge herself and she likes to be challenged,” Schork said. “Some people may back down when there’s a challenge but she will face it head on. No matter what she’s doing — whether it be school or soccer — she works really hard.”
Belcher loves the outdoors and experiencing what nature has to offer — she’s always been interested in watching what goes on around her. Her attention to detail has helped her excel on a soccer field since she started playing at the age of 5.
“I’m aggressive on the field,” she said. “My mom got me into a few sports but I guess I liked soccer the most. I don’t see my mom a lot so when she comes I’m way more intense. When I hear there’s a recruiter or a coach coming to watch me play I get more aggressive and focused. I just get in the zone and do my own thing.”
Belcher has made soccer her life. When she’s not in school or hanging out with her friends doing teenager stuff, she’s on a soccer field or has a ball at her feet.
Schork said the most exciting part of this season is knowing that she still has Belcher for two more years.
“She’s really coachable and easy to work with,” Schork said. “She understands the game and she’s getting better every game.”Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda Sports on Twitter @tonanewsports.