COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge senior Kelsey Whittet has been adjusting to her new position this season. Monday night in the Bruins' game against visiting Hickman, she showed she's starting to get the hang of it.
Just three minutes into the second half, with the score still tied at zero, Whittet took a cross pass from sophomore Carmen Boessen and headed the ball past Hickman senior goalkeeper Monica Ross, to lift the Bruins to a 1-0 win.
“Carmen had an amazing cross across the goal, and I just had to make sure I connected with it on the other end of it and put it in,” Whittet said.
Whittet has been playing midfield throughout her soccer career, but Rock Bridge coach Marc Vandover switched the team's formation to three forwards instead of two, thus moving Whittet to a forward.
“Kelsey is just a marvelous athlete,” Vandover said. “She has been an outside midfielder all of her life, so I was kind of fearful at the beginning of the season because we started playing her up front. But she has started to grow into that position. She looks for her diagonal runs, and she’s seeing the field a lot better.”
Rock Bridge changed the formation in order to have more of an attacking feel. However, that hasn’t worked as well as Vandover would have liked. Vandover said that while he’s happy with his team’s ability to keep the opposition from scoring, he isn’t as happy with the lack of Rock Bridge goals.
Whittet said that it's been a challenge so far adjusting to her new role of scoring goals rather than just setting them up.
"Normally, I’m used to sending the balls in, and now I have to think about being on the other end of those balls and actually putting them into the net,” Whittet said. “With our new formation, there’s more of an emphasis put on the forwards.”
Whittet used to play for Carrera, an all-girls youth soccer club in Columbia. Several of the Hickman players, including Ross, senior defenseman Maggie Pace, senior forward Katie LaRue and senior midfielder Grace Grigg also played on the team.
“Playing with them, you get a feel of their strategies and their strengths, and that is really good to know going into the game,” Whittet said. “But it changes every season, so you always have to be on your toes and always ready for what they can bring to the game.”
With the win, Rock Bridge improves to 3-1, while Hickman falls to 3-4.
Rock Bridge plays Tuesday at Jefferson City, and Hickman plays on Wednesday at Camdenton.