SHERIDAN — Entering the season, sophomore Margaret Hamilton was focused on improving her skill as a member of the backline for the Sheridan College Lady Generals soccer team. She was in competition with five other women to fill the four spots available.
Hamilton was barely beaten out in a tough competition. SC head coach Mallery Hammer rotated Hamilton in during the first few games before eventually moving her up to the front, playing Hamilton in an offensive-focused position.
Hamilton said she has played center back along the defensive line in soccer all throughout high school, barely remembering when she last played as a forward, guessing it was when she played on the Rock Springs club team before high school. Since making the move, Hamilton has assisted on three goals and scored a goal in the last two games.
“If she is not scoring, she is creating opportunities for other people to do so,” Hammer said. “It has been huge for her to fill that role for us.”
Hamilton was not expecting to have such success as a forward. She did not practice much shooting before, since she was primarily a defensive player. Hamilton said it feels great to score goals in back-to-back games and is excited for future games.
The success Hamilton is having is proof of her hard work, Hammer said. Hamilton has become a dangerous and consistent offensive threat for the Lady Generals.
“I recruited her as a full back,” Hammer said. “She has great size and great speed. We were kind of lacking the fire up top this year and I asked her about how she felt about lining up as a forward. She has honestly played the best games she ever has in the uniform in the forward position. She has new passion, excitement and confidence in herself up top. It has been a great thing to watch.”
It is the combination of her strength with the ball and speed that allowed Hamilton to flourish in the forward position, Hammer said. Once she became comfortable in the position, she went from assisting on goals to finishing them herself.
“I was kinda iffy about it at first because I have not played offense for a long time,” Hamilton said. “It was a big change in learning how to be more offensive-minded.”
As a defender, Hamilton’s sole purpose was to keep the ball out of the defensive zone and clear it away from dangerous situations. When she made the move to forward, she watched her teammates playing the position and learned from them. As she gained experience in practice and in games, Hamilton figured out what is needed to be a good forward.
“More control of the ball and more thought process of what you are going to do next,” Hamilton said that makes a forward position successful.
“How you are trying to beat people instead of just trying to win the ball.”
With Hamilton playing in the forward position, she will rotate with other forwards, allowing them time to rest and recharge so they can play fast and aggressive, Hamilton said. While she is resting, Hamilton tries to analyze the defense, seeing the field from a different perspective.
So far in September, the Lady Generals are 4-1, winning the last three in a row. As Hamilton continues to develop her offensive game, the Lady Generals hope to keep winning the conference games.