Danville senior finds she likes soccer, too

September 24, 2003|JILL ERWIN

Krystal Jackson went through a small scoring drought, but now she's back aiming for a school record.

The senior scored three times against Scott County Monday and now has 17 goals on the season heading into tonight's home game with Nelson County. The Danville record for goals in a season is 19 by Alyssa Thornton in 2001.

The fact Jackson is challenging the school record is surprising for the mere fact she wasn't even playing the sport 16 months ago.

Jackson had played basketball and participated in track for Danville, but didn't join the soccer team until her junior year.

Jackson settled in at goalkeeper because Danville coach Marty Sullivan said he liked the idea of having a basketball player keying his defense. He said her experience with catching the ball and directing play on the hardwood translated well to the soccer field.


Then Sullivan had a change of heart. He needed speed and an older player, as inexperienced as she was, at the top of the Admirals' attack. So he pulled Jackson from the goal after the first game, inserted junior Liz Ruth in the net, and pushed Jackson up top.

"I didn't know what to expect," Jackson said. "It was a mystery to me. I didn't know what was going to happen."

"We thought we needed some help and we thought we needed a senior up there to anchor the front end of the formation," Sullivan said. "Fortunately for us, Liz Ruth stepped up, went into the goal and has worked real hard. She's improved so much from the first game and I've really got a lot of confidence in her going into the (district) tournament."

Danville won its first four games with Jackson at forward, including a come-from-behind 5-4 win over district rival Mercer County in which Jackson scored four of the Admirals' five goals.

"The comeback at Mercer, that was real, real big," Sullivan said. "Her being the first person to score four goals in a game for us was a key that something good might happen."

The Admirals have struggled a bit lately, going 1-3-1 in their last five games. Danville was held scoreless in three of those games, and Sullivan said he'd like to see Jackson do more before she gets the ball.

"We're trying to get her to be a little more mobile up top without the ball," Sullivan said. "She can really cause chaos for a defense if she gets a little more mobile in attacking from different angles up top."

Jackson said the season has been a learning experience for her.

"It's a little bit harder than I thought it would be," Jackson said. "I'm starting to get used to it. I'm trying to get my shots going right. I'm not used to being out in the field, so I'm going to keep working on that and get better at that."

Jackson has become the focus of opposing defenses, opening things up for other players. McKenzie McAfee scored twice and had assists on two of Jackson's goals Monday.

Jackson finds herself running all over the field, trying to get open and avoid offsides whistles. The field is more tiring than playing in goal, but Jackson said it's about doing what is best for the team.

"If I get tired, I just try to push myself to go harder because I don't want to give up," Jackson said. "I want to stay in there and help the team. Even though it's hard, I just suck it up and go on.

"I let God play through me. I don't go out there and just try to score goals. Everything I do, I just try to help the team out."

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