Senior forward Amanda Ellsworth of Idaho State University’s Women’s Soccer team is in the midst of her senior season with the Bengals and and just set the new school single-season scoring record with a goal against the Idaho Vandals Sunday, bringing her season total to 12.
“She is a real classic forward who has a nose for goal, a player who is good in tight spaces,” head soccer coach Alison Gibson said.
Many of her recent goals have helped to decide games and have come in crucial moments to uplift the team to victory.
Some of the Ellsworth’s strengths come from her raw natural talent but also from her many years of experience.
Ellsworth had accrued more live-game minutes than most by the ninth grade.
“My parents took and threw me in Roseville youth soccer league to tire me out as a kid,” said Ellsworth.
Around eighth grade, Ellsworth was brought into a prestigious club from the area to play at a more refined level.
“I played for Placer United, then for Cal Rush up until my senior year,” Ellsworth said. “I was recruited by Coach Gibson during my junior year.”
Thankfully for Gibson, Ellsworth decided to take her talents to the Gate City.
The leading scorer for the Bengals is now a proven commodity. She recently scored a hat trick against Hawaii.
With only 2 games without any shots on goal, she has a total of 24 shots on goal in 14 games so far.
She has produced offense against everybody. She recently had the game winning goal against her hometown team Sacramento State in overtime.
Even if every shot doesn’t go in, she inevitably brings possession and offense in the opponents defensive third of the pitch.
“I read the game, try to be where the ball is and anticipate where the play is going to be. Also keeping possession for my team is important to me,” said Ellsworth.
She has been scoring plenty of goals, no doubt about it, but one of the most valuable aspects of her game is how she brings the ball up field and puts pressure on the defense with ball possession.
At any time when ISU is maintaining possession and pressing, the opponent is spending time on their heels with no possession or time to breathe.
This type of asset is beneficial for the whole team because it allows for the rest of the team to comfortably move into proper field position, to be dangerous, and to bring real scoring opportunities.
When all these conditions are met and the ball moves from player to player like Whitney Peterson and Madeline Gochnour, it gives Ellsworth and freshman forward Maria Sanchez crucial time to nicely place themselves in ideal scoring positions very close to goal.
“I would say I’m best at being in close quarters with good field awareness and vision in the 18-yard box,” said Ellsworth.
Much success has come to the Bengals this season because of the offensive dynamic that Head Coach Allison Gibson has put into place.
Even against the most formidable opponents, it allows each chess piece to work properly within the system and to apply the talent of her forwards to create goals.
If a team is perpetually on their heels, no matter who they are, they will tire of constantly having to counter. Thanks to the strategies of Coach Gibson, the Bengals are looking like a real contender this year.
It doesn’t hurt to have amazing players who know how to beat defenders one-on-one and score wondrous goals out of nothing, either.
At times in soccer, a forward must take it upon himself or herself to find a way to secure a victory. Most times, it can’t be predicted how a goal will come, but if you have a high level of awareness then goals can manifest from thin air.
Critical moments require complete instinct and have been seen as one of Amanda’s favorite ways to score.
“I think the goals versus Sacramento State stand out for me because I know how much it means to her. It’s a personal moment for one of my players and it’s so special to see that for her,” said Gibson.
She is emerging as a next level star who can change the game for her team. With more games to come, the fans get to witness this unique spectacle of soccer entertainment locally.
The next opportunity to see ISU Soccer in action will be Friday, Oct. 24 versus Southern Utah University on Davis Field at 4 p.m.