At 5-foot-3, Kelsey Meier doesn’t look the part of a solid goaltender, but she plays like one.
A senior who volunteered for Piedmont’s vacant goalkeeper position as a sophomore three seasons ago when no else would, Meier has developed into a steady keeper that continues to improve.
Meier’s heart and determination to prove her doubters wrong, and to prove to herself she could do something she wasn’t necessarily made for, helped her transform from raw to refined.
“Kelsey is the exact wrong body type for a keeper,” Piedmont head coach Brad Brucker said. “But she’s got more heart than any kid in our program.”
“A lot of people didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “So that’s what kind of gave me the drive to do it. I think I wanted it more than anyone else.”
Brucker, who admitted even he wasn’t sure if the experiment with Meier in goal would work at first, quickly grew to appreciate how badly Meier wanted to win the starting job.
“I overlooked her at first and she made me take notice,” he said. “That’s just a testament to her character and her work ethic, because she’s consistently gotten better.”
Seven games into her senior season, Meier is Piedmont’s all-times saves leader in the program’s fifth year of existence. She has 18 career shutouts, including six during a breakout season as a junior.
“I think it honestly took my whole sophomore year to get comfortable,” she said. “After that year I became more confident and I was able to know what I was doing without someone helping me the whole time.”
After playing conservatively as a sophomore, Meier expanded her game as a junior and has continued that this season.
“My sophomore year I didn’t jump or dive or anything. All I could do is come out and slide-tackle people,” she said. “I had more competition last year so that pushed me into diving more and making more plays.”
She’s added more ball-handling to her reptoire this season, too, and has more confidence in her goal kicks. And although she hadn’t recorded a shutout until notching three at the Deer Creek tournament – her set goal before the season was 10 – she’s continued to be reliable, allowing a single goal or less in six of Piedmont’s eight wins.
“I can tell my teammates have more trust in me this year and that means a lot to me,” she said.
“Kelsey won’t make that spectacular save a lot, but she is as steady as it gets,” Brucker added. “That’s very comforting knowing she’s not going to make that big mistake for you.”
Stealing away a goal or perhaps even two a game on spectacular saves is something Meier has worked on, and could be the difference in wins and losses for PHS later in the season.
“If she can do that, all of a sudden we become a quarter-finalist or a state semifinalist type team,” Brucker said.
If history is any indication, don’t bet against Meier.
“In some ways she really has done more with less than any kid that we’ve had in our program,” he said. “That to me is a true testament of a kid with character and integrity.”