For the second month in the award’s history, there was a tie for Bryan County Athlete of the Month. Two Richmond Hill High School soccer players were chosen Laura Nunnery and Brian Wood are the honorees, and coincidentally both offensive powerhouses. Nunnery is spotlighted this issue, with Wood to be featured next week.
With only one season to make her mark as one of Richmond Hill’s best to play ladies soccer, not only this season but since the programs inception, Nunnery made the best of it. Nunnery, a senior, has already signed on a soccer scholarship to attend North Georgia College and State University to play for the Saints.
"I am nervous and excited about making the move to North Georgia but I already have my summer workout instructions from my new coach so I am going to focus on that for now," said Nunnery on her college plans. As excited as she is about playing soccer at the next level, she has already begun her summer workout program. She expressed some misgivings about only being able to play and develop friendships at Richmond Hill for one year.
In that year, however, Nunnery proved a formidable opponent for rival soccer teams and helped the Lady Wildcats to another state tournament berth. No one is as happy for having her on the team, even for one year, than head coach Steve Kollman.
Having lost their top three scores from the previous season, including Leslie McConnell to a University of Georgia scholarship, Kollman was looking at having to move some younger players up front and count on his solid defense to carry the team. Then along came Nunnery to Richmond Hill. 51 shots, 28 goals, and 7 assists later, Kollman is grateful for her and her parents decision to move here.
"She has such maturity and poise on the field that I just let her go and, as the season progressed, I was able to see the younger players literally grow up around her," said Kollman.
Nunnery was averaging 9 shots a game by mid season, a stat that dropped off at the end as she started getting double and triple teamed by opposing defenses. According to Kollman, the rest of the team was starting to click and by that time and Nunnery’s role on the team changed from primary scorer to setting up her teammates for their own opportunities. The amazing thing about that is she did it on her own and without any urging from her coach.
Having moved here from her former high school in the Atlanta area, Nunnery's parents, John and Jan Melcher are now looking at retracing their steps a bit to keep up with their daughters career. North Georgia is a NCAA division II school in the Peachbelt Conference and do play some schools closer to Savannah such as Armstrong State University.
Mrs. Melcher explained that Laura made previous visits to Dahlonega and even worked out with the team during her tenure at her previous school, and the family really liked the North Georgia mountains and the school. So they are willing to sacrifice a little wear on their tires to go see her.
Nunnery has also gained an interest in broadcast journalism through involvement with a television program at her previous school where she was a mock television anchor and peaked her interest in communications as a field of study. Her father also says she is a good graphic artist and would like to see her pursue those interests as well.
Laura is currently working part time at Richmond Hill’s Beef ‘O’ Brady’s where the selection committee, coaches, and her parents met this past Wednesday to present her the awards, including a t-shirt and certificate of achievement from Beef ‘O’ Brady’s as well.