Many times, amplification far exceeds aptitude. This is definitely not one of those times.
The Buckeye girls soccer team heard all about this freshman phenom coming in named Riley Vickerts.
An outside midfielder with a knack for finding open teammates as well as the back of the net, Vickerts didn’t take long to get things going.
She scored a goal in her first varsity game and had three by the time Game No. 3 rolled around.
“I heard how good this girl was, so I was ready for her to be playing with us,” Buckeye forward Gabby Glancy said. “It was totally expected and more. Everyone talks about how good people are and I was ready for a good player coming up, and then I saw her play and it was like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ She played like she’d been there for years.”
Vickerts is not only versatile, she’s so good that coach Derrick Gullen will move the sophomore into the middle if need be this season, because she’s also unselfish.
On a team full of scorers last season, that was probably the biggest ingredient to the Bucks’ success.
With second-team All-Ohioan and Patriot Athletic Conference MVP Fallon Joyce scoring a Medina County-high 31 goals and adding seven assists and Glancy rolling in with 15 goals and 10 assists, there was a need to have someone be the catalyst to move the ball forward.
It came in Vickerts, who finished third in the area in scoring with 12 goals while dishing out a county-high 20 assists.
To understand just how impressive that is, the next closest in the area in assists were Medina’s Tarah Roller and Brunswick’s Katherine Camper with 11.
“I think it’s extremely vital (to be well-rounded) because it shows that not only will she assist,” Gullen said, “but that her teammates will know to run off of her.”
Don’t get Vickerts wrong. She loves to score and sees the need for both aspects in order to succeed.
But if she sees Glancy, Halle Orrick or Natalie Bartlett breaking free, you better believe the All-Gazette selection is going to hit them with a pinpoint pass.
“The assist means more for sure,” Glancy said. “They’re both very important because you need both for the game, but the assist builds up to the goal. Both together make it work.”
More than her skills, it’s Vickerts’ ability to play well beyond her years that sets her apart.
“I have expectations of her this year and for the future,” Gullen said. “If she happens to meet my goal, I’m just going to set it higher for her and I expect her to achieve it.
“It’s her composure. Nothing that we’ve thrown at her seems to rattle her. She stays focused and into the game. She’s a student of the game, so she keeps learning. That helps in the fact that if we tell her to do something, she’s like, ‘OK, I’m fine with that. Let’s do it.’”
That aspect is going to be needed this season with Joyce at Ursuline College.
While Glancy will get the lion’s share of the looks up top, more will be expected of Vickerts to fill in the gap on a team looking to not only defend its PAC Stars Division title, but better its Division II district semifinal appearance from a season ago.
“I’m very excited to have her back,” Glancy said. “I just feel more comfortable with players like her playing with me. She brings a lot of fast-moving plays, which we need more. You see how hard she works and her foot skills are great.”