Caitlin Davis has felt pressure in plenty of games this season playing for the Keller Central girls soccer team.
So last week’s game with Timber Creek – a must-win game to get into the playoffs – was nothing new for Davis and her Lady Chargers teammates.
To compound the potential pressure for Davis, she’s the last hope in penalty kicks for Central.
Central got past Timber Creek 2-1 on virtue of winning in a shootout.
Now, the Lady Chargers are awaiting the conclusion of District 6-6A play in order to determine their first-round foe in the playoffs.
Davis said the Timber Creek game was nothing new for her and Central.
“It was very intense. It was very back-and-forth, especially in PKs, and I was going to be the last one, but we didn’t need it,” Davis said. “It would’ve been a lot of pressure,” she admitted, had they needed to go through the first five attempts.
As a center-mid for the Lady Chargers, Davis said her ability to play possession-control has helped the team distribute the ball and win when needed to make the playoffs. Central had missed last year’s postseason by one standings point.
That style of play for Davis and others on the Lady Chargers helps differentiate the level of skills for varsity teams, she said.
“Possession is the main key for every position,” Davis explained. “It’s how you’re going to get around your opponent. Otherwise, you’re clearing the ball and just chasing it and you get tired.”
Davis isn’t concerned about being the one who racks up goals, either.
Although she said she’s scored about five goals this season, she was more proud of the assists she’s been able to contribute.
That sort of playing perspective started building at the age of four for Davis.
She started playing in select leagues at the age of 10 and has been playing almost year-round ever since.
Having been a member of the team Odyssey in the club league, Davis said that several of her teammates have been playing together as they all progressed through the different age brackets. They’ve also worked with the same coach as they’ve grown over the years.
The possession game has been more of a focus in the select team teachings which has made for a seamless transition to the varsity season for Davis and the rest of the Lady Chargers.
To help lead the way for Central, Davis was appointed as a team captain for her senior year by head coach Lauren Arias.
The ability to lead others has come with experience, but Davis said she’s had to learn how to become more vocal. Leadership is one aspect Davis said has improved the most since she started on the varsity squad in her sophomore year.
But the added responsibilities have been welcomed by Davis, including being a voice to Arias regarding how best to manage some of the team issues.
As an example, Davis told Arias the team may be better off taking a few days’ break rather than have low-key workouts over spring break. The Lady Chargers will still have a full week prior to their bi-district playoff game.
Knowing her varsity-playing days are winding down, Davis is now excited about what awaits her after high school. She recently signed a letter of intent to pay soccer for Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, starting next year.
“I’m excited to play in college but I know it’s all at a new level, though,” she said.
Before she moves on, though, Davis said she’s sharing words of wisdom with her six cousins, who will also likely be playing at the high school level in the future years.
“It’s neat to have someone looking up to you,” Davis said. “I tell them to not give up and whatever you want to do, keep at it. I tell them to just keep working hard.”
Her only regret is that all of those cousins – and even a stepsister – will play at either Timber Creek or Keller.