By Shannon McOmber
She looks just like any other soccer player as she lines up on the sidelines to throw the ball in. Then the throw comes.
Next thing you know she is flipping head over heels down the green and rocketing the ball to one of her midfield teammates faster than a freshman heading for Krispy Kreme.
It’s called the flip-throw, and it is Staci Reynolds’ signature move. So signature that it usually even outshines the fact that she is one of the top defensive soccer players in the country.
Maybe that’s because as a defender, she spends most of her time on offense.
The Cougars pose such an offensive threat to opponents thanks to the fact that they get their defense involved. That’s where Reynolds comes in.
“Reynolds has a great instinct for the ball, so she frustrates her opponents,” said Cougar coach Jennifer Rockwood. “She can pretty much beat anyone one-on-one, so when she breaks free she finds her teammates and gets the offense going. Our offense definitely starts in the back.”
But playing offensive defense is a bonus for Reynolds as she originally began her soccer career in the midfield — and loved it.
“I never played defense until college, and I’m not even sure that it is my favorite position, but I have been told I just have a natural knack for it,” Reynolds said. “Sometimes I miss going to goal, but I am so heavily involved in the offense I don’t really notice it too often.”
As a senior, Reynolds is currently playing out her last year of eligibility, and has not regretted the sacrifices that come with playing – and excelling – at a college sport.
“You miss a lot of school and social opportunities being on the road all the time, but I don’t regret that at all. It’s the price you pay to commit, and it’s worth it,” Reynolds said.
And the Cougars are grateful she has sacrificed to be the best — they have put her talent to work.
And the record reflects the Cougar’s dangerous defensive efforts. The Cougars have only lost three games this season, and went undefeated in the conference — not to mention the fact that BYU usually out-shoots its opponents by an average of 16-6.
“Between Reynolds and Athelia Graham on the backfield we have a solid defense — they play strong and smart,” Rockwood said.
And Reynolds is going to miss it when her eligibility runs out this year.
“I love knowing I can step onto that field and play soccer better than most people,” Reynolds said. “I am going to miss it.”