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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Soccer

Koski is strong presence in the net for Cougars


Cami Koski is fearless. She throws her body in front of shots, into oncoming defenders and even into the middle of

Cami Koski has had a breakout freshman season for the Cougars, and looks to become a cornerstone of the continually improving UH soccer program. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

the Cougars’ pre-game huddle as she leads her teammates in getting pumped up before matches.

“I have a go-get-em attitude,” Koski said. “Being a goalkeeper, you have to be aggressive because you have to control your box and be off of your line to stop the balls coming through.

“I just stepped in myself. We always did a big circle and I decided this year that I would step up and try something new, just a way to get the girls pumped up and intense and ready to win.”

Koski has held the opposition scoreless seven times this season, a Cougar single-season record. She has also helped the Cougars reach the top of the Conference USA standings with a 6-1-1 record.

The Cougars have only allowed a total of nine goals in 16 matches this season — and much of that has to do with the play and communication of the goalkeeper and the backline.

“Communication is key as a goalkeeper,” Koski said. “You have to see the field of play, and direct your defenders and midfielders. You have to know when to step up, when to push it outside. It’s just important because I can see more of the field than they can see. I’m kind of their eyes.

“It’s great walking off the field knowing nothing got past you. I have a lockdown defense. I make a few saves here and there, but I have them to thank for everything.“

Lives for the pressure

Koski loves being a leader on the field, and she embraces the responsibilities of being the last defender before an opponent can put a ball in the back of the net.

“I like the action,” she said. “It’s an adrenaline rush back there in the box. I like the pressure of being the last person the ball goes through before there’s a goal.”

Redshirting her first season with the Cougars proved to be beneficial for Koski as she was able to gain experience at the college level.

She worked on her technique with assistant coach Jenna Huff – without sacrificing a year of eligibility.

Head coach Susan Bush agrees and feels that Koski is “getting better every game”.

“She’s coming off of a redshirt year,” Bush said. “So with more game experience, she’s getting more confidence and everyone feels good about her performance; she did great today.”

Glimpse into the future

Koski is playing at a high level and already beginning to push her way into the UH record books, despite this being her first season on the field for UH. If her .59 GAA holds up, it will set the Cougar single-season record.

Koski is on pace to take down the current record for wins in a season, 10, currently held by Shelby Scott. Scott also holds the career-record for wins (20) and shutouts (14) – two records within reach for Koski over the next few years.

Adding to her credits, Koski earned the C-USA Defensive Player the week of Oct. 4. She went to Elkins High School in Missouri City, where she also participated in the marching band. She also played club soccer for the Houston Express Soccer Club.

With Koski playing well between the posts, and a mix of talented freshman and upperclassmen helping, the Cougars are playing at the top of their game and look to build on their success through the remainder of this season and into future years.

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