It’s a “Bull market” for the Brunswick girls soccer team, and Katherine Camper is a big reason why.
The junior has always been one of the best players for the Blue Devils and has been told so many times by players and coaches whether they’re on her team or not.
When the University at Buffalo offered a scholarship, which she accepted, Camper went from being outstanding to exceptional.
“She’s more confident, by far,” Brunswick coach Scott Ward said. “On the field, she’s able to direct. Last year, she was more quiet and led by example. This year, she’ll tell people what needs to happen and where it needs to happen.
“Like any high school player, you don’t know until you get that offer or some kind of interest. Once she saw that, it changed how she saw her role. On the field, there’s never been 100 percent effort. Everything you see, we see it at practice. It’s the willingness to be that coach on the field and tell us what she sees has increased this year.”
That communication and style of play has Brunswick (16-3-1) on the cusp of its first state semifinals appearance, as the Blue Devils prepare to play Toledo Notre Dame Academy (16-1-2) today at Sandusky Perkins High School in a Division I, Region 2 final.
Camper always believed she was as good as everyone said, but when Buffalo did as well, she went from being a quiet leader to a voice.
The Blue Devils have peppered the net with 69 goals and have outscored teams by two and a half per game.
“Without her, we’re playing kickball,” Ward said. “She and (Ariella Pitty) are both there to control the midfield until everyone can get up and attack.
“Everyone goes to our leading goal scorer. It’s Ari or its Caylee (Jozefov), who scored the goal on a header against Avon, but most of our goals are set up through Katherine.”
That has certainly been the case in the postseason, as she has scored against Wooster and Wadsworth while providing an important score in penalty kicks against Medina.
Her pass on Jozefov’s game-winner to beat Avon in a regional semifinal Tuesday was all the team needed to advance.
But it’s never about stuffing the stat sheet for Camper, who ranks third on the team with seven goals and 10 assists.
“For me personally, the statistics factor of it doesn’t matter as long as we win,” Camper said. “If what I do back at center mid results in a goal, that’s all that matters to me. Knowing that (Pitty) scored and I may have started it is all I want.”
All Brunswick wants is for Camper to continue playing the way she has this season.
Pitty knows a big part of her 12 goals and 11 assists come from Camper, as did Heather Craska, who had 13 goals and four assists before going down with a concussion.
“She’s definitely an important piece of this team,” Pitty said. “She knows where to go. She knows where to pass the ball. She’s quick on her feet.”
Brunswick will need every bit of that this afternoon against the Eagles, but the Blue Devils know as long as Camper plays her game, they have a fighting chance.
“She just wants to get better and better each year,” defender Mariah Kimble said. “She’s an outstanding captain to this team. She always pushes everyone to their best ability. She instructs us as a good captain should.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.