Oct. 27, 2011
Jordan Albright doing whatever it takes
By David Boyce
Despite the St. Louis Cardinals trailing 3-2 in the World Series, Northwest Missouri sophomore Jordan Albright did not hesitate about who was going to win.
Albright, who plays defender on Northwest soccer team, grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis.
“They are going to bring it home. I’m feeling it,” she said.
Albright thinks like a winner. She also plays like one. It is why Northwest coach Tracy Hoza decided to move Albright from midfielder to defender this season.
“Last spring, all the practices we had, Jordan’s team won every time,” Hoza said. “We noticed that. It reminded me of other players we put in that position.
“Technically, she is probably one of our soundest players. She is physical. She is very verbal, willing to communicate.”
Albright’s willingness to switch position is one reason why the Bearcats have rebounded from a three-win season to go 9-4-2 with two games left in the regular season.
“Oh, it’s fun,” Albright said of her position change. “It is different. I like it. It is what the team needs. You got to do what you got to do.”
Make no mistake; Albright has an aggressive mentality when she is on the soccer field. She likes to move forward and be in the mix when it comes to scoring goals.
As a freshman, she scored two goals, including a game-winner against Southwest Baptist.
Unless something unusual occurs, Albright is rarely in position to score this year. Her job is to prevent teams from scoring.
“Definitely, your mentality needs to change a lot,” Albright said. “The big part that I liked to do at midfield was attack. Now, you cannot get involved in the offense as much. It is still important for the defense to get the ball up there. You just got to keep that defensive mentality.
“At the beginning of the season there was a big adjustment. I think I made it fine. But I’m still catching myself getting up and coach has to remind me to stay back and play balls up.”
Hoza values the way Albright has handled her new position. She understands that Albright still has the urge to move forward once in awhile.
“I know her mentality,” Hoza said. “I know I would want to attack as well. It is in her nature. Every now and again, we have to pull her aside and say we appreciate what you are doing. We need you to do this and just lay back. It is hard for her. We appreciate her self control in that situation.”
The sacrifices the individual Bearcats have made for the good of the team puts them in position to get the No. 3 seed in next week’s MIAA Soccer Tournament.
Northwest and Missouri Southern are tied for third in conference with a 5-2 record. The winner of today’s game in Joplin gets the third seed.
“We need to keep our heads in it like have all season and keep playing our game,” Albright said. “Missouri Southern is a good team. They are physical. If we keep our cool and play the soccer we know how to play, we will be fine.
The Bearcats conclude their regular season Saturday at Southwest Baptist in a non-conference game.
After Saturday, Northwest can focus on the conference tournament, something that did not exist last season. Six of nine teams will play in it at UMKC soccer field.
“Yes, it is definitely exciting to have a conference tournament,” Albright said. “It is a big change from last year. It is going to be good, tough competition with the other teams.”
Hoza is thrilled that there is a conference tournament because it gives more teams a chance to advance to the six-team regional. Without a conference tournament, Northwest season would probably end on Saturday. The Bearcats are currently ranked 10th in region.
“The tournament makes it that much more exciting,” Hoza said. “It is a great opportunity, not only for our team, but every soccer team in our conference to have that. I think it is one of the best moves they have made for MIAA soccer.”
The Bearcats want to finish strong and that means doing what they have been doing all season.
“Everybody wanted to play together well, be tough and get more wins under our belts,” Albright said. “It was the whole team’s mentality, not just a few players. Everybody wanted to do better. I think we did that.
“I think it is really important to get these two wins this week so we are confident going into the tournament.”
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