Portage’s Bree Coleman went out for the soccer team expecting to play in the midfield. A couple games into the season, she found herself in a position she had not played in years: goalkeeper.
An injury to starter and friend Ally Clark led to Coleman being put in between the pipes.
Coleman, who had not played soccer or keeper since she was younger, has been a bright spot for the Indians in her first year on the team.
“We threw her in,” Portage coach Gina Swenson said. “She’s fearless. She will dive in between 10 players’ feet to get the ball. She just does whatever she has to do to get the ball.”
Coleman has helped shut out Morton, LaPorte and E.C. Central. She also made nine saves in a recent game against Times No. 1 Chesterton.
She's remained in net when Clark returned from injury and moved to the field.
“When I first started, I was terrified and I didn’t know what to expect,” Coleman said. “When you block a goal, you get a rush and that feeling of accomplishment.”
She experienced that rush in a game earlier this season against Munster when she made a stop on a penalty kick.
Swenson said Coleman has just learned the basics of being a keeper and that her mentality is one of her biggest assets on the field.
“She has never showed any fear about (being keeper),” Swenson said. “She never asked any questions about why she should do what she is instructed to do. She just does whatever she can to help her team.”
Coleman, who also plays basketball and track and field, uses her court skills in the net.
“You have to shuffle a lot in basketball, and I do the same thing on the goal line,” she said.
Swenson said her jumping ability has been a key to her making some of the saves she has made, along with her hand-eye-coordination.
“She’s working on her diving,” Swenson said. “She will just try (to get) everywhere. There have been games that I cannot believe she has saved some of the shots she has. She has good reflexes and is able to watch the ball.”
Coleman said she has enjoyed her time as keeper, and the sophomore wants to stay in net for the next two seasons, which makes Swenson very happy.
“We will have two more years to work with her, and I think she will be really good,” Swenson said. “I think some of the other teams have already taken notice of her as someone to keep an eye on.”