NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Sarah Bossung approached the motionless ball, placed 12 yards from Middle Tennessee State's goal line, she found herself in both foreign and familiar positions. While she had never scored a goal in her Belmont women's soccer career, Bossung was certainly no stranger to penalty kicks.
She was the first Bruin to score during the shootout against SEMO in the Ohio Valley Conference quarterfinals last October, and a few years earlier she scored the game-winning goal via PK in the state championship for her high school squad, Nashville's own Father Ryan. So in her 57th career outing as a Bruin on Aug. 19, Bossung's aim was true; she netted her first collegiate goal.
"I was excited because I don't get a lot of opportunities to score, but I thought it was going to hit the post, I really did," recalled Bossung, a senior defender whose career shot total with the Bruins still numbers in the single digits. "As soon as I kicked it, it started leaning toward the post. I've taken a lot of PKs in my career though, so it's something I'm really comfortable doing."
As reliable as she is for a rare penalty kick, Bossung is just as steady in her primary duties on defense. The heart of Belmont's back line as center back, Bossung has started 40 straight matches. She has 51 total starts as the mainstay of the Bruins' defensive corps.
The roots of her impressive Belmont career started early when she began kicking around her first soccer ball at age 3. Bossung quickly graduated from youth recreation leagues to the club circuit, finding success with Tennessee Soccer Club 15 to the tune of three state championships. Of course, there was also the high school state title with Father Ryan in 2012, a 1-0 championship victory in which Bossung's goal was the difference maker.
Bossung's description of the mindset needed for the perfect PK mirrors the attributes of a lockdown defender: confidence and precision are imperative.
"I think one of the keys is you have to be confident," Bossung said. "You have to know you're going to make it. If you walk up with any hesitation in your mind as you're approaching the ball, it'll get in your head and mess up your routine. Confidence is key."
Bossung and the Bruins will look to find the right combination of offense and defense this Sunday when they face LIU Brooklyn in a nonconference matchup at E.S. Rose Park. Belmont begins a three-game home stand by hosting the Blackhawks at 12:05 p.m. The game is available to stream online through the OVC Digital Network.
�� ATTENTION STUDENTS ��— Belmont Womens Soccer (@BelmontWSoccer) August 28, 2018
Hop on the free shuttle from campus to Rose Park for the Belmont women's soccer match Sunday. Game time is 12:05 pm and shuttle pick ups start 45 minutes before at Kennedy Hall. All you need is your BUID to ride! pic.twitter.com/DphfU6mnPO