BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Shae O’Rourke was a freshman sensation for St. Mary’s High School on the soccer field. Four years later, she’s reprising that role at University of South Carolina.

O’Rourke is the leading scorer for a Gamecocks squad ranked No. 14 in the country. She has netted six goals and nine assists despite being 12th on the team in minutes played through 18 games, and after scoring twice in Sunday’s win at No. 18 Tennessee, the freshman striker was selected as NCAA Division I Player of the Week by the United Soccer coaches.

“That feeling of doing something for your team and helping them out is just such a rewarding feeling,” O’Rourke told The Daily Gamecock student newspaper. “I just want to make a huge impact on this team.”

O’Rourke received USA Today High School All-America accolades and multiple state awards while playing for St. Mary’s.

She scored 135 goals and had 43 assists in her career, which culminated in leading the Lancers to a Monsignor Martin championship and the program’s first state Catholic championship game appearance last fall. In her freshman season, O’Rourke led all Western New York players with 44 goals, and she committed to South Carolina the following summer.

A Wheatfield native whose mother Barbara played soccer for Niagara University, O’Rourke also was a standout player for the WNY Flash club. She has been invited to the U.S. Soccer Training Center in three summers, and participated in the U18 Women’s National Team virtual camp in 2021. She was named to the ECNL Elite XI after leading her team to the U17 North American Cup Championship.

O’Rourke told the Gamecocks’ website that keeping up with her older sister Teagan in backyard, club and high school soccer games helped her gain confidence to compete against older players.

“When I was really young, I always played with girls a lot bigger than me,” O’Rourke said. “If you play scared, you will look scared on the field. And you won’t make that impact.”

South Carolina finished its regular season Thursday night at home against Missouri and opens SEC Tournament play next week.

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Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.