When talking to Michaela Moore or her Glenwood soccer coaches, both are quick to point out the senior forward can do more than just score.
When watching Moore play, it’s tough to imagine what she can't do.
Moore has scored a school-record 43 goals this season. Her goal total ties her with Alison McKinnon of Solon and Kaylee Grote of Tri-Center as the state’s leaders among all classes.
But goals don’t tell the whole story of Moore’s “game,” said Glenwood assistant coach Brad Silvey.
“She IS a natural goal scorer,” said Silvey. “But she has become so much more than that. She’s become a complete player. She doesn’t just find herself in scoring opportunities anymore. She is the one creating those opportunities a lot more now.
“She’s more confident with the ball and not just relying on her teammates having to play her through. Not to discredit any of her teammates, shes developed herself into a player who is willing to beat defenders, to body up on them and it’s really fun to see that.”
Moore is quick to point out her goal scoring is a result that helps her team, obviously, but it’s far from her only “goal.”
“I can score but I want to help out my teammates and try and set them up. I keep trying to be a better all-around soccer player,” she said. “Having everybody involved really helps out the team. It’s not about just one player doing everything. Without the whole team that one player can’t do anything.”
Moore’s impact on the Rams’ is obvious. She’s scored in every match this season and recorded an astounding three or more goals in eight games for the 16-1 and No. 3 ranked Rams.
Glenwood has seen dozens of different defensive schemes designed to slow Moore this season. Few have succeeded. If teams have been able to slow Moore, her teammates have reaped the benefits. Emily Wickham (12 goals), Makenzie Evans (10 goals) and Sydney Gutschenritter (nine goals) all eclipsed personal-bests for goals this season.
“Teams know I’m a scorer and can scorer off of anything,” said Moore. “So when they have one or two defenders on me the whole time then that just leaves somebody else open and anybody on this team score and do what I can do.”
Moore’s ability to adapt to all defensive conditions is a testament to her athletic ability and her sheer will, according to Silvey.
“She’s incredibly athletic which at this level can set her leaps and bounds ahead of your opponents,” he said. “She’s very quick, has great pace, she’s smooth with the ball, she can collect the ball and she can put her body into a lot of dangerous situations other girls sometimes aren’t willing to put themselves in and as a result of that, she’s ends up with the upper hand.”
It’s that combination of skills that has allowed Moore to score 43 goals this season despite those junk defenses that sometimes have her hounded by sometimes two or three defenders. Her 43 goals smashed the season school-record of 32 held by Laura Leber in the 2007 season and her 106 career goals and counting is five better than Leber’s former career-mark.
But one gets the impression Moore would put all those individual accolades aside for one big team prize.
“Having my team succeed is more important,” she said. “It’s nice having that school record but if we could have something bigger, like a state championship I’d trade that in for anything.”
Moore can only vaguely recall a time she wasn’t playing stryker or soccer – she’s played pretty much year round since she was 4.
“I think he (Silvey) moved me to the midfield my freshmen year when I had a girl marking me the whole time on offense and I was getting frustrated. But I think that was the only time,” she said.
Silvey said that doesn’t mean Moore play couldn’t play defense or just about anywhere he asked her, including goalie.
“Early on we experimented with her playing in the midfield, and dropping her back a little and she’s versatile enough to that s but she’s so much more beneficial up top,” Silvey said. “She has the ability to be a fantastic defender with how she’s excelled playing that front position, I think she could transition really well to defense with her knowledge of what a forward would do.”
Silvey will get a chance to coach Moore again next season. She has verbally committed to play at Iowa Western Community College, where Silvey is head coach, next season.
Early in her career, Moore had pestered the Ram coaches about getting a shot in goal. A few years ago, Silvey gave her a shot between the pipes in a junior varsity tournament.
“I actually did pretty good,” Moore said. “I didn’t let any goals go by.”
That’s probably the last time “zero goals” and “Moore” appeared together in a box score.