KELLY WILLIAMS The best defense is good offense
The Canfield senior forward has lettered in three sports.
By JOHN BASSETTI
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- Kelly Williams is a forward with a defender's background. Someone like that can be dangerous.
Like many other starters in Canfield High's lineup this season, the senior soccer player is settling in at a new position.
In the past, Williams had a defender's role. With the arrival of new coach Jon Ulicney, the Cardinals made wholesale changes.
"We've got a pretty good squad this year, so, hopefully, we'll go far," said Williams, who has a 4.0 grade-point average and is a member of National Honor Society.
"We have nine seniors that make up the bulk of the varsity. Most of us have played together since we were 9 or 10 years old."
Williams was one of those who made the radical move from defense to offense and she's adjusting well.
She has managed to combine her instincts as a defender with those of someone able to control the ball and score.
Williams has 10 goals for the Cardinals, who have begun the season with a 6-1-1 record, including 2-0-1 in the Metro Athletic Conference.
"It's a new position for me this year because I played defender pretty much my whole life," Williams said of the switch. "But it's a challenge ... I like a challenge."
Williams, who will turn 18 in October, was a sweeper, the last defender in front of the goalkeeper.
That experience with her back to the goal gives her a good perspective as a forward.
She can use it to exploit defenders.
"As a defender, I knew what a threat was and what was expected and I put that to use when marking up," Williams said. "You kind of know what works too, like outside runs and crossing. A cross is real dangerous for the whole defense. I knew that. Now, I try to do that to other teams."
But she's also getting a taste of what she did to forwards.
"I hate when you have three marks or have someone in your face," said Williams, who is also the point guard for Canfield's varsity girls basketball team.
As a forward, aggression is a desirable component.
"Coach told me that I wouldn't give up on the ball," Williams said. "We also have a strong midfield which would get forwards good passes. The coach stresses the ground game, which means keeping the ball on the ground."
Her co-center forward is Callie Carrera, a sophomore.
The four midfielders are junior Whitney Zunic on the left wing, senior Amy D'Amico on the right side and seniors Grazia Sorice and Abby Ferko around the middle.
The daughter of Bob and Brenda Williams was born in the area, but lived in Michigan until age 5, when her family moved back. An older brother, Kevin, 20, is a junior at Bowling Green State University, while younger sister, Katie, 13, is an 8th-grader.
She has earned two letters in soccer and basketball and one in softball.
Williams started playing soccer in Canfield's recreation league at age 8.
She admits to more nervousness and pressure in basketball than soccer.
"I guess I put more pressure on myself to do well in basketball," Williams said. "I think the soccer atmosphere is more laid back, which may be why I'm more relaxed."