SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ --  Raw speed, deft footwork, and great anticipation have combined to make Christina Layden one of the most lethal goal scorers in Union County.

Layden, a senior striker at Union Catholic, has been a goal scoring machine and a catalyst for the Vikings girls soccer team over past two years.

Layden’s most recent scoring outburst came yesterday when she scored twice, including one goal on a free kick from 25 yards out, to spark UC to a 4-0 victory over Dayton.

Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

With those two tallies, Layden raised her season total to 10 and her career total to 26.

Layden has now scored in six of the seven games for UC this season, including a hat trick vs. Union earlier this month.

Led by Layden, a co-captain on the team, the Vikings have won three straight games and have a record of 4-1-2.

What makes Layden such a prolific scorer? 

“I would say my greatest strengths as a player are my technicality and my speed,’’ said Layden, who has been playing soccer since she started walking. “My technical abilities allow me to have great control over the ball and have accurate jurisdiction over the placement of my shots.’’ 

UC head girls soccer coach Ed Ryan said Layden is one of those rare players who possesses great all-round skills.     

“Christina is such a great all-around player,’’ said Coach Ryan. “ She is a dangerous offensive threat that can beat you in a variety of ways, and what people don't know about her is that she is a great defensive player when we are protecting a lead. Her skill set and knowledge of the game is what separates her from a lot of players, and is a great team player. What’s also great about her is her fun personality. She's a high energy person to be around and, I'm privileged to have been her high school coach.’’ 

Layden who was chosen to the Union County Conference First-Team last year, is very excited about the season UC is having. 

“I am nothing short of delighted about what an awesome season my team has had so far,’’ said Layden. “Every single one of the girls have given it there all every time they step foot on the pitch, and I couldn’t be not be more proud of them. I love the camaraderie my team and I share. I absolutely adore the girls, and I am humbled to share the game with such amazing people.’’ 

Layden is thrilled to be a co-captain on the team. 

“I am honored to have been chosen by my coaches to be a co-captain,’’ said Layden. “My main focus/responsibility is to try to make the team as comfortable as possible and be respectfully considerate of everyone’s thoughts and feelings.’’ 

Layden is also very talented in the classroom, earning Honor Roll status multiple times. 

“The balance between sports and academics has truly helped me become a better student because it forces you to be a master of time management and meet your goals on a timely basis,’’ said Layden. It’s extremely imperative to be involved in various things at Union Catholic because you get to meet people from all types of backgrounds, and  allows you to be an active member of the community.’’   

Why did Layden choose to attend UC? 

“I decided that UC was the place for me because I truly fell in love with the strong community and closeness that UC is so well known for. I love the warm family feeling that comes with being a UC student.’’  

 What kind of advice would Layden give to younger students who are considering attending UC? 

“I would advise students considering UC to take a close look at the great core values we offer,’’ said Layden. “They should attend UC because this school will give them lifelong memories and friendships along with a great education system that will fit their needs. UC’s education system has really given me the tools to succeed as a student.’’  

What are Layden’s plans for the future?

“My plans for the future are to play collegiate soccer and receive a great education,’’ said Layden. “I would love to pursue a career in law or in the field of computer sciences.’’