Megan Powell’s soccer career was born in the Swannanoa Valley, where she learned the fundamentals of the game that she loves.

Like most of her peers, Powell’s athletic career continued at Owen High School, where she was a member of a dominant Warlassies team that allowed one goal during a 16-game winning streak during her senior year.

“I think (Owen head coach) Coach Feist did a great job of getting us prepared to play at the next level,” Powell said. “I learned a lot from him, and we all learned how to really support one another.”

When the time came to decide where to play college soccer, Powell was content to finish her career in the community where she learned the game.

“I tried out for the Montreat team, and I felt like it was going to go really well,” she said of her decision to play for the Lady Cavaliers. “I was really excited about establishing relationships with these girls on the team.”

Powell places a high priority on team chemistry, a philosophy that was undoubtedly fostered by her years playing in local youth leagues.

“I grew up playing with a group, and we were close,” she said. “That (closeness) really helped us on the field, especially our senior year.”

Transitioning from the high school soccer game to the college version was not a simple task for Powell. The Lady Cavaliers were loaded with seven seniors, which made connecting with her teammates tricky, initially.

“I was a little scared coming in, because I wasn’t sure that I would be able to play up to the level of the other girls,” Powell said of her first season on the team. “Soccer is a mental game, and I wasn’t enjoying it enough last year, so I kind of psyched myself out.”

Powell ended up seeing considerable playing time as she built her confidence during her rookie campaign. She appeared in 15 matches for the Lady Cavaliers and notched two assists while taking eight shots on goal as a midfielder.

She anticipates an increased role in the upcoming season when a much younger Montreat team opens its regular season on Sept. 2 against University of the Cumberlands.

“I feel a lot more confident going into this season because we’re a really young team,” she said. “Things are a lot easier when everybody is working to boost each other’s confidence because nobody wants to let anyone else down.”

According to Powell, the team will rely on the collective growth of a large core of sophomores to seek and elevated role with the team this year.

“All of the sophomores have a big opportunity to step up and be leaders,” she said.

The Lady Cavaliers finished the 2014 season with an overall record of 6-10-2 (3-5-2 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference).