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Energetic English adds focus to the offense
Sophomore Kolbie English scored four goals against Jenkins on Tuesday, earning praise from her head coach for her effort and resolve on the pitch.
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Watching Kolbie English play soccer can be exhausting.

The Bryan County sophomore has the metabolism of a hummingbird. She’s in constant motion, a human dynamo in action. She’s also far from being the biggest player on the field.

“I’m exactly 5 feet tall and I weigh 95 pounds,” said English after turning in a school record four goal performance against Jenkins on Tuesday night in an 8-0 Redskins win.

Her super hat trick—in soccer a super hat trick is when a player scores four or more goals—eclipsed fellow sophomore Liz Harvey’s mark of three set two weeks ago against Claxton.

English has developed into one of third-year coach Kristen Barnhill’s key players on a team which is in the process of having the first winning season in team history --- 9-6-2 going into a regular season ending game at Treutlen County on Friday—while finishing second in Region 3A-DI and thus earning its first ever home state playoff match.

Bryan County will host neighboring Swainsboro (5-12) Tuesday at 6pm and will be looking to pick up its first playoff win in its fourth state tournament appearance.

English, when she’s healthy, teams with Harvey and senior Ava Prater, who had two goals against Jenkins as did Harvey,  to give Bryan County three scoring threats.

The injury bug has hampered English this season as it has Prater. Harvey is not at full strength either as she is somewhat hampered by a knee injury suffered in basketball that somewhat limits her ability to make cuts.

English has missed the most time of the three, having suffered a concussion along with dealing with a pulled muscle injury.

“I was out for close to a month because of the concussion,” English said. “I still don’t have peripheral vision in my right eye. I don’t know if I’ll get it back.”

Those injuries and the risk of further injury has not slowed English down on the field. She plays in attack mode and is one of the leaders of a group of underclassmen that are leading the charge into a bright future for girls soccer.

English, like most of her teammates, did not get any exposure to soccer until middle school and as evidenced by this year’s success the results of a middle school program are beginning to show up.

“Kolbie has come on strong this year,” said Barnhill who endured a 1-14 season her first year. “Her freshman year she was a bit unsure of what we expected her to do but this year she came in 100 percent at practice and in games.

“She’s made a huge improvement and her effort is always there. Unfortunately, she was hurt in the middle of the season,” Barnhill said. “She’s come back and she’s our main forward along with Ava who has been hurt.

“Kolbie and Liz have only been playing together for a few days now and I think they’re showing what they’re capable of. They play off of each other really well together.”

English said a big factor against Jenkins was her ability to stay focused on the task at hand.

“The key for me was locking in completely, not letting anything around me bother me,” English said. “Before every game I pray and I think that’s something that helps me so much. I always ask God to bless my teammates. I feel being a Christian is a big part of me.”

The success the Redskins have enjoyed this season is one they’ve earned, English said.

“These girls have not only put in the work in practice but outside of practice, too,” English said. “I feel we communicate well and there’s no drama. We don’t let anything get in our heads and that’s powerful. We trust one another.”



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