Women's Soccer |
Sept. 14, 2011
By Jeremy Powers
Women's head soccer coach Michelle Salmon knows the talent she has on her squad this season. An underrated freshman class rounds out a balanced roster poised to continue success they have already showed in the early portion of the 2011 season at the College of Charleston Cup. Five of the 10 newcomers are on the field as starters so far for the Bearcats but no freshman has caught the eye of fans, coaches, and the women's soccer world more than Mackenzie Grause (Ft. Thomas, Ky./Highlands).
Grause comes to UC from Highlands High School just across the Ohio River in Ft. Thomas, Ky. An all-state performer in high school, Grause currently leads the Bearcats in points (10) and has already scored four goals in her brief career.
Salmon spoke to the work rate the new freshman have during training and in games that will speed up the rate of their maturity and skill at the college level. Grause is the leader in those categories and the leader of her freshman class. Working with red shirt senior Emily Hebbeler over the summer, Grause was able to get comfortable at the next level sooner and know what it takes to succeed on a Big East pitch.
"I was able to really watch her develop and blossom while she was playing with her local club team, Hammer," Salmon said. "I remember saying about a year ago that Mackenzie Grause coming in as a freshman was going to do some wonderful things for this program."
According to Salmon, Grause is a true student of the game and a player that is always working to improve her necessary skills. For Grause, her necessary skills include finishing, which every striker knows is the part of their game that molds their make-up. Grause scored two goals against Coastal Carolina this past weekend and also added scores against the College of Charleston in the same tournament. She started off that tally earlier in the season at home against Cal-Poly where she scored her first collegiate goal.
walks into a room and has that it factor," Salmon said. "There's not going to be many defenders out there that can stop what she can do. It's just learning as a freshman to be consistent with that presence."
Any good player can become a great player by using her coaches' expertise wisely and applying experience to future situations. Grause, a very intelligent mind according to her coaches has one attribute that makes her the player that she is and the player that she will be down the road. It's not goal scoring, it's not an abundant amount of athletic ability, but instead it is coach ability and the ability to take construct criticism and apply it to her game.
"She's a true student of the game," Salmon said. "She approaches everything with a chance to learn and it doesn't matter if it's soccer or whatever subject it is she approaches it with the opportunity to gain more knowledge"
According to Salmon, Grause is one of the rare athletes that she has coached that knows that knowledge is power. Grause will start classes alongside the rest of her teammates on Sept. 22, but she will be starting down the path of a more challenging major than some of her peers. Grause was admitted and will begin studying architecture at UC and that major is one of the reasons Grause chose to come to UC over Mississippi.
"Grause is in the architecture program and it is one of the top programs in the country," Salmon said. "They only take a few students every year so that right there speaks volumes of how intelligent Mackenzie Grause is."
The number one reason Mackenzie Grause was recruited to the University of Cincinnati was based on her strong character. According to Salmon she was able to watch Grause's personality grow as she recruited her in high school and during her club seasons. The family-like atmosphere of the women's soccer team at UC resembles the home life of Grause and the relationships she shared with her own family. Salmon believes that type of atmosphere is pertinent to success of her team and the development of Grause as a player and a person.
"When Grause got here she felt that this team was a family," Salmon said. "The number one reason I recruited Mackenzie Grause was for her character and the way she treated her friends and family."
The only hurdles that Grause will face during her highly anticipated career will be handling the pressure of double teams. Being singled out as Cincinnati's stud striker will result in focus from other coaches during game planning. Grause will be double teamed regularly and opposing players will push her off the ball. Salmon spoke to her experiences with double teams during her club seasons and how she will become accustomed to those difficulties easier due to her prior experience as a primary threat.
"The only obstacles Mackenzie Grause will face during her career are the obstacles that she puts in front of her," Salmon said. "She has enough work ethic, enough smarts, enough desire, enough perseverance, and enough passion to overcome any obstacle."
Hoping for continued success during her freshman season, Grause is well on her way to doing big things at the University of Cincinnati. A record-holder in high school, Grause scored 31 goals in 2010 helping her amount 50 total goals for her career. If Grause can total numbers even close to those than all-American honors at the college level are in her future. Salmon and the rest of the coaching staff believe that Grause will achieve nothing less.
"I said this to our assistant coaches and I mean this, Grause will be an all-American here," Salmon said. "She's got the work rate, she's got the smarts, she's got the ability, she's got the knack in and around the goal. Mackenzie Grause is a big time player."