Melissa Williams walked onto the lacrosse field as a high school sophomore owning just a single varsity goal. She didn’t become a full-time starter at Egg Harbor Township until her junior season.

(Listen to Williams on the SJ Sports Report with Tyler Donohue.)

For a young athlete who didn’t even play lacrosse prior to high school, Williams quickly developed the skills and stamina to succeed against Cape-Atlantic League competition. On Tuesday, April 3, the Eagles’ senior standout eclipsed 100 career goals and cemented her status as one of the region’s most dynamic scorers.

“I didn’t think I would ever get 100 goals,” Williams admitted. “It was great [when I reached the milestone]. It was such an amazing moment. My whole team was very proud of me and I’m glad that they were so supportive... It’s pretty amazing; I never thought I would be where I am right now.”

Williams is undeniably a “late bloomer” in South Jersey’s lacrosse scene. She invested a considerable amount of time and effort in order to quickly improve and compete at a high level against student-athletes who grew up playing the sport.

“I played all summer and during the offseason I’m always on the turf,” Williams said. “I really push myself.”

Williams tallied 20 goals after being permanently elevated from the junior varsity level as a sophomore. She developed into a team mainstay during her breakout 2011 junior campaign, scoring 74 goals and gaining confidence along the way.

Williams entered last Tuesday’s CAL showdown against Our Lady of Mercy Academy just two goals shy of the century mark. She obliterated the milestone by burying a team-high seven scores in EHT’s 14-10 victory.

A substantial crowd of students were on hand for the home game and helped count to 100 with signs that acknowledged each goal.

“First they were holding up 98, then it was 99, then it was 100,” Williams recalled with a smile. “It was a great time.”

The student appreciation carried over into the next day at school, when Williams was greeted by well-wishers throughout an otherwise normal Wednesday.

“When I scored my 100th, the whole crowd went wild and it was the best moment ever,” Williams explained. “Then when I went to school [the next day], everyone knew and congratulated me.”

The Eagles’ fan base would be wise to invest in more sign paper. Williams still has an entire spring season to work with and her scoring total is likely to skyrocket as long as she stays healthy.

“I just want to make sure I stay focused and stick with my goals,” Williams said. “I do want to maybe even hit 150 [goals]. I don’t want to stop where I am now; I want to keep going, pick up where we left off and win the CAL obviously.”

EHT made early strides toward league supremacy last week when the program picked up its first victory over perennial power Ocean City. The Eagles still must face the Red Raiders once more this season and have to deal with defending league champion Millville.

Although Williams has become an extremely effective individual player, she credits the work of her teammates and coaches as a major part of EHT’s improvement.

“We run a lot in practice,” Williams explained. “I would say we’re almost a cross-country team; that’s how much we run. We go hard at practice and that’s how we get position on the field.”

Hard work continues to pay off for the senior. Williams has decided to play collegiate lacrosse at Georgian Court University, although she did weigh her options beforehand.

While she strikes fear into the hearts of defenders on the lacrosse field, Williams is also an avid cheerleading member and considered continuing down that path in college.

“I love saying that I’m a cheerleader,” Williams said. “There’s a stereotype that comes with it… but I’ve cheered my whole life and absolutely loved every second of it. I’ve put on that skirt for ten years and I had to pick what I wanted to do in college. I picked lacrosse because that’s where my heart is right now.”

You can catch Williams and the EHT girls lacrosse program in action when the team hosts Middle Township on Wednesday, April 18. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m.