Strategic shift triggers career night for Bolt

Katelyn Bolt

FRONT ROYAL — It was a simple switch, and yet it made all the difference for Katelyn Bolt.

During a girls soccer match against visiting Luray on April 8, Skyline head coach Kristy Beaune chose to move Bolt from the right side of Skyline’s attacking formation — where the junior had traditionally spent most of her time on the soccer field for the Hawks — to the left side. The result? Bolt’s first career hat trick as she propelled the Hawks to a 4-0 win.

“When Kristy moved me to the left side of the field, I realized that the angle on that side for me to shoot is a whole lot better,” said Bolt, the Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for April 5-11, on Tuesday afternoon. “So I just had a better shot.”

Bolt, who had never scored more than one goal in a high school match prior to last week’s win, started her career night with the Hawks’ first goal 12 minutes into the match. The junior tallied her second score of the night in the 18th minute and she capped the game’s scoring with her third midway through the second half.

Bolt, who is right-footed, said she had spent most of her high school career playing on the right wing of Skyline’s attack because she and the Hawks’ coaching staff thought that logically made sense.

“I switch sometimes but I mostly stay on the right because I’m right-footed, so we thought that’s where I should be. But I guess not,” Bolt said.

“When I stand, the way I turn I could just see the whole field more than on the right side, I guess.”

Bolt, who has played for Skyline’s varsity team since her freshman year, scored a total of three goals during her first two varsity seasons. She said until recently her instinct was always to pass off the ball to her teammates instead of initiating the shot herself.

“I like to pass the ball a lot, give it to other people, but everyone has always told me I need to shoot more,” Bolt said. “So now I’m like, I guess I’ll try that and see if it works. I guess it’s starting to.”

Beaune said Bolt, as well as the rest of her Hawks teammates, needed a little extra push to start firing off more shots, however. Beaune now requires that Bolt, Kali Slate and Gabi Huebner each shoot at least five shots per match, while Skyline’s forwards must fire at least three shots each.

“They’re getting there,” Beaune said. “With Bolt it was just a matter of getting her to [shoot]. She turns her hips when she shoots, so we put her on the left. Once we did that, she was rolling.”

Beaune said it’s Bolt’s willingness to do anything the Skyline coaching staff asks of her that makes the junior stand out on the field.

“She’s a great worker. She’s got a great work ethic and her attitude is very accepting of … coaching correction,” Beaune said. “… There’s no attitude. She’s just, ‘I’m here to work. I’m here to play. Let’s see how it rolls.’ That’s what every coach wants, that kind of attitude.”

Bolt said she’s made more of an effort to be a leader for the Hawks this season as her confidence on the field continues to grow, and she tries hard to be a positive role model for her teammates.

Skyline’s players are closer on the field this season, Bolt said, which has led to a welcomed bit of success for the Hawks (4-6) so far in 2015. Skyline’s girls soccer program has never had more than five wins in a season, and the Hawks’ four wins this year already match the team’s season-best mark set during the school’s first year in the spring of 2008.

“We started working together and we’ve actually gotten some wins this year, which we usually don’t most of the time during the season. So it’s a really good year for us to finally get some wins and feel like we’re actually doing something,” Bolt said.

“It gives us confidence for the rest of the season.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com