by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor
Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union As a young player it’s important to play as many positions on the field as possible. Just try telling the players that as they want to stay in one area and hone their skills. But, coaches will tell you, it’s good to play different positions on the pitch so you can understand the game better. It also allows a player to see what they are better at. Frontier sophomore Baillie Colling knows what it’s like to play all over the pitch for the Falcons. The versatile sophomore can line up in the midfield or play defense, whichever her coaches want her to play. It’s for the that reason that Colling is having a breakout season for the Falcons. Colling got a taste of varsity as a freshman, but now she is a mainstay in the lineup for Frontier as they chase a sectional title.
“My role on the team is to be a defender and midfielder. As a defender I have to make sure I clear the ball, and don’t let anyone by me, but as a midfielder I have to be able to push up and get back fast enough to recover and play the role of a partial defender.” stated Colling. “I feel like I fit in well with the girls considering I’ve been playing with some of them since I was younger. Playing different positions through a season, or even game, one has to have a different mindset when coming to the field. A player can’t be all about themselves for this to work. They need to put their personal feelings aside and do what is right for the team. Colling is that type of player. She knows that if she is playing in the midfield that her job is to push forward and try to score. If she is playing defense she needs to do her best to prevent goals. It’s that team-first mentality that has everyone excited about her play. “The kind of mindset you need for playing both roles is being able to know that you can score goals and help your team out ultimately, when you play defense you need to think of stopping the opposition and getting the ball out of your end,” stated Colling. “Since I am a younger player I am glad that I am able to look up to my teammates, and that they can help me elevate my game. For me I feel that my contribution to the team has been helping the team move up the field and get more scoring chances.” When Colling isn’t playing for Frontier during the season, she is playing for the Western New York Flash in the offseason. Playing for the Flash has helped Colling grow her game in ways that she might not be able to do on her own. She is able to test herself against some of the best competition in Western New York and beyond. Colling is able to get the top-notch coaching she has been looking for as he looks to grow her game in the next couple years.
Also, playing travel allows her play fast. Playing fast makes Colling make quick decisions on the pitch, If she hesitates than the ball is lost, and the other team is ready to score on the counter. “I feel that playing for Flash helps elevate my game to another level and helps me be able to improve my game in many ways such as my vision of the field, and my soccer sense. It has also allowed me to meet new people, and coaches that have improved my play,” stated Colling. Flash has helped me improve my game by having high intense practices with skilled coaching staff. The Flash games are quick paced which helps me make fast decisions on the field. It also helps because my teammates are highly skilled and we push each other to improve at practices and games.” Improving is something that Colling has done this season, and she was recently rewarded for her hard work when she scored her first goal of the year. Everyone always remembers their first goal, and this was no different. The excitement of scoring her first goal was matched by the fact she helped her team win against a very good team. “When scoring the goal, one thing going through my mind was excitement, the feeling of scoring a goal can never leave,” stated Colling. “I was glad it came when it did, because it was against a very talented team. Thankfully my teammates helped me get the goal by moving the ball up the field, I would never trade the feeling for anything else.” That feeling of scoring hasn’t come without hard work. Colling is constantly working on her game, and because of this she needs to make sure that she stays healthy. A lot of soccer, means not many breaks during the school year. If she isn’t playing, and practicing with Frontier, Colling maybe practicing with the Flash - which means that she needs to make sure her body is healthy and it good shape to withstand injuries. “To stay healthy and injury free, my coaches for flash and frontier made sure that we constantly stayed on top of our game and were able to perform at my highest level. I made sure to eat healthy foods, stay active daily, and dress according to the weather,” stated Colling. “Personally I would like to work on improving every aspect of the game, but I would mainly like to improve on my positioning as it is a main point on helping the team cover all parts of the field.”