Bri Reynolds knew the encore to last season would be difficult. What the Swansea High soccer senior forward wasn’t counting on was getting off to a slow start.
Reynolds set a new state record in 2018 with 66 goals, eclipsing the old mark of 60 set by Richland Northeast’s Bryn Post in 2002. Reynolds only one goal in the first six games of the Tigers’ 2019 season, but she hopes her four-goal outburst in Tuesday’s 6-0 win over Gilbert gets things back on track.
“Most of the girls that played against me last year, they know me, so they will say, ‘Get her, mark her. Watch No. 8, watch Bri,’ ” the Presbyterian signee said. “It’s definitely harder for me as a player but it makes me try to play smarter and do something different. It helped (against Gilbert) that we spread out the field more and we got more passes back and forth.”
The most obvious thing that stands out about Reynolds is her ability to put the ball in the net. She’s had that knack her entire career. Coming into her final prep season, Reynolds had tallied 149 goals with 48 assists for 346 points.
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Her speed is what gives her so many scoring opportunities but, according to Swansea coach Chad Meredith, there are other things that Reynolds does that go unnoticed.
“She’s a hard worker, that’s the main thing,” Meredith said. “She comes to work, so to speak, and she puts in the time and effort every single day. She’s a pleasure to coach, great attitude and never complains. She’s really the player every coach would love to have.
“Add in the fact she’s a great leader. Inside the classroom, teachers constantly compliment her study habits. I think that’s why PC is a good fit for her. I think she will make an impact her first year up there. She’s a good person, good teammate and an absolute pleasure to coach.”
The decision to attend Presbyterian College was cemented when Reynolds signed last November. She had offers from other high-profile Division I schools but found what she was looking for in Clinton.
“They’ve been watching me a really long time,” Reynolds said. “I actually went there over the summer to tour and went to several of the games and I fell in love with it. I continued to go there and follow them, and I felt like that was the best fit.”
Reynolds and her Tiger teammates have opened with an extremely difficult schedule. They played Class 5A powers Wando, Spring Valley, River Bluff and Lexington among the first six contest of the season. Reynolds has also had to deal with a hamstring injury that has slowed her some.
Getting healthy and geared up for region play and another run in the Class 3A playoffs is the goal for Reynolds at this point. Last season, Swansea reached the Lower State finals where they lost 1-0 to eventual state champion Bishop England.
Reynolds knows opponents will always concentrate on her scoring, but she tries to provide more than that on the pitch.
“Honestly, for me, it’s not about scoring even though that is one of my strong points,” she said. “I try to focus on making myself better along with the other girls. A lot of girls look up to me, so I just try to give a good example. Even if I mess up, I just try to correct it. I try to be an all-around player, wherever they need me I try to help out as much as I can and get all the girls involved. I just want to be a team player and do what I have to do.”