Oldham County High Schoolâ€™s Karigan Owens was issued a license just three weeks ago and if the juniorâ€™s instincts behind the wheel are anything like those she displays on the soccer pitch, defensive driving should be a cinch.
The ability to anticipate the decisions and movements of others is one the 5-foot-8 center back has been honing for years, and is a primary reason the No. 7 Lady Colonels started their season with nine straight shutout wins and entered this week with an 11-2 record.
â€œSheâ€™s the base of (the defense),â€ said Oldham coach Dan Schulz, who is in his 20th season. â€œSheâ€™s an instrumental person in everything we do.â€
Schulzâ€™s side has been eliminated by Christian Academy in the Eighth Region finals the past two seasons, but realignment moved CAL to the Seventh, leaving Oldham as the favorite in the Eighth.
And while the girls from Buckner can certainly light up the scoreboard â€“ 48 goals scored in 13 games â€“ itâ€™s on defense where they have distinguished themselves. Karigan and company have conceded just six goals on the year â€“ the fewest of any team in the state â€“ and piled up a school-record 10 clean sheets.
Owens, a three-year starter, plays sweeper in a sweeper-stopper formation and occasionally moves up to forward, where sheâ€™s tallied four goals and a pair of assists this season.
â€œI can put her anywhere on the field â€¦ and sheâ€™s going to play at a high level,â€ Schulz said. â€œThat versatility makes her much more important than a one-aspect player â€¦ (and has) allowed us to be very creative with our lineups.â€
The 4.0 student in the Gifted and Talented program recently took a break from the books to field a few questions.
Chris Cahill: How did you get started in soccer?
Karigan Owens: I first started playing in fourth grade. I think I was 9 years old. I had been doing gymnastics all my life and my friends had been playing soccer, so I just decided to try it and ended up loving it.
C.C.: Whatâ€™s the origin of the name Karigan?
K.O.: My mom (Kim) and dad (Bryan) named me Karigan because of the ice skater Nancy Kerrigan. My mom really liked the name. At first my dad was against it and then it grew on him.
C.C.: You began your high school career as a forward, but moved to defense last year. What are the pros and cons of playing in the back?
K.O.: I really like being a sweeper because I can see everything on the field. I definitely have to tell my teammates what would be good and where to go at times. One thing I dislike is all the pressure, because Iâ€™m the very last line of defense besides the goalie. It helps having Brittany Moshos as my goalie because she â€¦ saves us a lot of the time.
C.C.: What is the key to a stingy defense?
K.O.: I think how close we are as a unit really helps. Thereâ€™s a lot of talent on our team in every single player and everything is falling into place.
C.C.: How special is it to play on what Coach Schulz called the â€œmost well-rounded teamâ€ heâ€™s ever had?Â
K.O.: Thatâ€™s a pretty big compliment to receive from him, especially because heâ€™s been here so long and thereâ€™s been some really talented players that have come through Oldham County. I think weâ€™re all really excited to get into the postseason and show everyone what we can do.
C.C.: Would you like to play in college?
K.O.: Yeah, Iâ€™m looking at (WKU), Western Carolina and Transylvania.
C.C.: Why do you wear No. 4?
K.O.: When I was a freshman there was a senior, Hailey Conway, and we became really close and when she left, she let me have her jersey.
- Owens and the Lady Colonels host CAL Monday (7:30 p.m.) and conclude the regular season Wednesday Oct. 3 at Male. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
- No. 6 Ryle and No. 11 Male headline the Jefferson County Invitational Volleyball Tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29, at Ohio Valley Volleyball Center. The tournament features 10 teams in the stateâ€™s top 25.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.