King's scoring skills heading in right direction for UF soccer
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 12:09 a.m.
Florida's Holly King has always been a smart player.
Florida at LSU, 7:30 p.m., Sun Sports, AM-850
This year, though, she's really using her head.
The senior from Ashburn, Va., came into the 2012 season having scored seven goals in her three-year career, a span of 72 matches (64 starts).
Of course, playing primarily the holding midfield position for the Gators, she wasn't really expected to be a scoring threat.
Through UF's first 12 matches of this year, however, that is exactly what she has become — especially on set pieces (free kicks/corner kicks).
Entering this weekend's SEC road trip to LSU and No. 5 Texas A&M, King already has a career-high four goals for 18th-ranked UF, tying her for the team lead.
Three of those goals have come from headers on set pieces, and two have proven to be game-winners — the first two of her college career.
“It's good to finally use that skill this year,” King said. “I haven't been using it in the past.
“I just put myself in the right place at the right time. With free kicks and corners, that's my strength. Every practice I'm going hard no matter what. Whoever it is, I want everyone to challenge me, and I think that's helped a lot with the preparation going into games.”
Fighting for position in front of the goal is no place for the timid, but that suits the 5-9 King just fine.
“She's pretty relentless,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “She's going to try and find that ball and just get after it. She's going to battle through it. She scored one goal (against New Mexico) where the other player had Holly's shirt stretched out about twice the size that it was.
“She's not afraid to get in the trenches and get dirty. She'll find a way to at least get a head on the ball, knock it down and give somebody a second chance if she doesn't score directly.”
King, a 2011 second-team All-SEC and All-South Region selection who has been an Academic All-SEC selection honoree each of the last three years, juggled classes at UF in the offseason with playing for DC United of the W-League, a summer women's pro-am league.
“When she came back, she kept saying ‘You know, I scored goals for DC United this summer,' and we were all like ‘Whatever,'” Burleigh quipped. “So now every time she scores, I say ‘DC United.' She gets really annoyed at that.”
King's leadership and play have helped key a five-match UF winning streak.
“I think every game we've been improving, which is a big step for us,” she said. “Dictating games has been a huge factor the past two weekends. Not letting goals in early and being the first to score have also been big for us, so everything has been going well.”