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Competitive Breiner leads Lady Tiger soccer from back line

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5ca6486a659132018 State Championship game experience added to Mollie Breiner's leadership skills.
2018 State Championship game experience added to Mollie Breiner's leadership skills.

At a young age Mollie Breiner loved the sport of soccer.

“I started playing soccer at four,” the Broken Arrow Lady Tiger junior defender said.

But she loved the competition with her older sister, Maggie even more.

“I chose soccer because of my older sister,” Breiner added. “We’re both very competitive towards one another; I always try to beat her.”

There is no mistaking the junior defender’s competitive drive.

“Breiner is extremely competitive,” girls soccer coach Kasey Counts said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re in a drill or scrimmage at practice, Mollie is determined to win at all cost. She is competitive in anything and everything we do.”

That passion is glaringly obvious on game nights.

“She is one of those players that you can see the determination in her eyes,” Counts said. “She is the type of player that hates to get beat and will work as hard as possible to get back and fix her mistake.”

The self-induced pressure to live up to Maggie’s play has morphed into proving herself as a team leader. A year ago, then-sophomore Breiner had an on-field, up-close view of what leadership looked like. She started alongside, and learned from, senior defenders Gracie Hair, Karson Killion, Olivea Wagner and, oh yeah, Maggie. All of those girls signed letters of intent after Broken Arrow’s 2018 girls soccer state championship season.

“Last year she was a little timid starting with that back line that was incredible,” Counts said. “This year she stepped up and is the leader of the back four.”

It was her leadership skills, along with stellar defensive play, that helped Breiner earn the Tulsa World Soccer Player of the Week last week.

“To be one of the returning defenders put a lot more pressure on me,” she said. “We’re definitely a younger team. Most of our starters are sophomores and freshmen. Everybody works differently, so we have to direct (the younger players) to make sure we are all playing and working together.”

Coming into the 2019 season the Lady Tiger coaching staff envisioned Breiner as a team leader. From day one Number 9 has embraced the role as a team captain.

“She learned from last year’s seniors that the desire and want-to has to be there,” Counts said. “As she has grown she has learned that determination and hard work is what gets you there.”

Now, that tenacity is spreading to her pre-driving age, yet talented teammates

“Our young players have the skills and now we’re working harder, playing as one unit and at having more composure,” Breiner said. “We’re taking it one step at a time, but our aggressiveness is starting to come together.”

The Lady Tigers will need to be at their best on Friday as they travel to Jenks, their toughest opponent to date. Oklahoma Class 6A’s only two undefeated girls teams battle it out for District 6A-3 supremacy at 6 p.m. Looking at comparative scores, both teams beat Union, 4-1 while BA scored a 2-0 win over Bishop Kelley opposed to Jenks, 2-1, win. Both teams are 2-0 in district.