When the ball nestled in the back of the net for Kenneth Hott’s 100th career goal, he didn’t instigate any special celebration. He simply turned and started running back up the field.
“To be honest, I didn’t really remember that it was my 100th goal,” said the Cumberland Valley Christian School senior soccer player. “I was just trying to put my team in the lead.”
His teammates, however, were another story. Right after the goal that gave the Blazers a 2-0 lead over St. Maria Goretti in an eventual 3-1 victory, Hott’s teammates mobbed him, leaving little doubt that he had attained a rare career milestone.
“He has carried us,” said junior midfielder Elijah Randolph. “He really cares about the team first. He’s so team-oriented and unselfish. He likes to keep the team together – he’s like the glue of the team.”
Hott has stuck five more goals into the net since No. 100, including a pair in the Blazers’ 5-2 victory over rival Shalom Christian Tuesday evening, pushing him past the 300-point mark for his career.
But the scoring has been more difficult for Hott than it was last year, when he scored 43 goals and added 34 assists to rank fifth in the nation in scoring with 120 points (two points for a goal, one for an assist). The Blazers lost six seniors from last year’s Mason-Dixon Christian Conference runner-up team, and they haven’t scored as freely as they did last year during their 19-win season.
Hott is the only senior on this year’s team, and defensive players have shadowed him relentlessly.
“He’s been man-marked in every game except one,” said Stan Hott, Kenneth’s father and coach. “He’s done all right, but he’s not finding the help to score like last year.”
Kenneth admits the defensive attention has gotten frustrating at times.
“Teams are just trying to stop me,” he said. “Either the whole defense collapses, or two or three guys are on me when I get the ball. It’s really annoying.
“I’m trying to exploit that by trying to get my teammates open so they can score. If a defense follows me to one side, somebody should be open on the other side or in the center.”
Next on the horizon: 100 career assists. He currently has 92.
“[Scoring 100 goals] is a great accomplishment, but I’m really looking forward to 100 assists,” Kenneth said. “That’s the bigger accomplishment to me. Not many people have ever done that.”
His father said that only three players in Pennsylvania, public or private school, have gathered 100 goals and 100 assists.
He will carry that scoring prowess to college soccer next year. Among Kenneth’s college possibilities are Clarks Summit University near Wilkes-Barre and Hood College in Frederick, Md.
“A few years ago he was talking about going to a big school, but lately he’s been pushing away from the big schools,” Stan Hott said. “He’s looking at smaller schools that are closer to home.”