Set pieces part of Lions’ success

Set pieces are an important part of soccer. They are times in which a team can regroup defensively and offensively; it can be an opportunity to change the game with a goal.  

The Lions have already struck from set pieces more than a handful of times this season including two from direct free kicks by Jennifer Osmond.

The corner kick is one of the plays considered a set piece. Chloe Roberts takes the corner kicks for the Lions when she is on the field. She said the team was practicing corner kicks one day and she just fell into the duty.

“I was taking them one day, and I guess I just did a good job with it,” Roberts said.  “Also, I’m short, so I’m not really good in the air with my head.”

The taller players for UNA can be seen moving forward and into the box during corner kicks, as the general idea is to get it to them so they can head it into the goal.

“When we have a corner kick on offense we send tall players like Jules (Julia Osmond) and Mel (Leonida) forward to put pressure on their defenders that might be shorter,” Osmond said.

Katie Crosby pointed out that she and another defender usually stay at midfield to protect against a counterattack. When defending against corner kicks, Crosby can be found on one of the goal posts.

“We get the taller players in the box to win any ball sent in while me and another defender will stay on the posts to help defend,” Crosby said.

Osmond said that on throw-ins the Lions like to keep pressing forward and always try to look for an opportunity to play quickly. But if UNA has a lead or they have time, one of the outside defenders usually takes the throw-in.

“When I am taking a throw-in I look for feet first,” Crosby said. “I want to get it onto one of our player’s feet so they can go with it or make a pass.”

The direct free kick is also a set piece in soccer that poses perhaps the most threat toward the defending team’s goal. For the Lions, Julia Osmond has already found the net twice this season from these chances.

“If the ball is in a more central location around the box I will usually take the shot,” Osmond said. “But Toni (Antonia Rigby) and Julia and Nikki (Brown) take them sometimes, as well.”

Osmond said she learned her approach from a couple of them from watching soccer stars.

“I like the way Steven Gerrard strikes through the ball, or Roberto Carlos,” Osmond said. “I don’t curl the ball like some other players do; I just try and put my foot through it and keep it on goal.”

The Lions host UAH Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in their next to last home game of the season.