North Texas Daily

Goalkeeper looks to continue breaking records

Goalkeeper looks to continue breaking records

Goalkeeper looks to continue breaking records
October 02
00:23 2014

Scott Sidway / Staff Writer

In a meeting room at the Mean Green soccer facility, there is a wall decorated to showcase the most prestigious players in the team’s history.

However, none of the five players on the wall ever played goalkeeper. As she continues to break school records and approach a number of others, junior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine is striving to be the first goalkeeper immortalized on the wall of fame.

“My all-time goal is to be on the wall in the meeting room,” Kerestine said. “That’s where the Hall of Famers are.”

Kerestine broke the North Texas record for career shutouts last Friday against Louisiana Tech University, and currently holds both the season and career records for average goals against a goalkeeper. But with at least eight games remaining this season and another year of eligibility left, Kerestine is on pace to break several more major goalkeeper records at North Texas.

She is only three games behind the record for most shutouts in a season, four games behind the record for most career wins and 33 saves away from having the most career saves.

Former Mean Green goalkeeper Mandy Hall, who immediately preceded Kerestine as a goalkeeper in both college and high school at Colleyville Heritage, holds many of the records that Kerestine is approaching. Hall said that she’s happy to see the success of Kerestine and the team.

“I’m excited for them and for her. They’re doing well, and she’s a talented goalkeeper. She worked hard, especially to come back from the injury that she had last year,” Hall said. “So good for her, and good for the program.”

In addition to achieving these milestones as only a junior, Kerestine’s success is even more noteworthy because she missed 18 games last season after tearing her ACL. Senior defender Leah Cox has played on teams with Kerestine since the two were teenagers, and said that Kerestine’s dedication has made her a better player since the injury.

“She’s come back stronger than ever, and I’m so proud of her,” Cox said. “Her work ethic is just unbelievable in practice. If she doesn’t get something, she’ll try and try again until she gets it right.”

While Kerestine and Cox were familiar with each other, the remaining defensive personnel for the Mean Green had some inexperience entering the 2014 season. After replacing three starters and overcoming some early growing pains, Kerestine said that the defense is finally gelling and contributing to her success.

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Junior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine watches as the ball approaches the goal on Sept. 7 against Vanderbilt University.

“They’re definitely starting to know my style of play,” Kerestine said. “They know if I want to come out, they know to drop. So we’re kind of all on the same page, and we’re all finally thinking the same. So it’s all flowing.”

Another key element to Kerestine’s success so far has been the instruction of assistant coach Matt Montayne, who coaches the goalkeepers on the team. He said the combination of Kerestine’s athleticism and large frame makes her tough to score on.

“Her wingspan is twice the size of her body. So when she puts out her arms, she covers up 90 percent of the goal,” Montayne said. “So you put a 6-foot-1-inch giant with a longer wingspan in goal, and there’s your recipe for success.”

Montayne teaches a European-style of goalkeeping that emphasizes strong footwork and makes a goalkeeper’s hands a secondary option. According to Montayne, Kerestine has responded positively to his methods.

“We do a lot of footwork with Jackie, building those feet to get her to the ball,” Montayne said. “Now that she’s come off of that [injury], she’s real strong. We’ve done her footwork, she’s done her rehab, and she’s getting her feet moving again. So it’s really helping her get to the ball.”

After Kerestine broke the career shutout record last week, head coach John Hedlund claimed that Kerestine could go down as the best goalkeeper in school history. He said that her vocal presence and strong leadership are what separates her from previous Mean Green keepers.

“We’ve had some kids in the goal that have been very talented, but they’ve been very quiet,” Hedlund said. “And it’s just hard to really play at that high level if you’re not going to be outspoken and demanding back there. And that’s what she is.”

With a handful of milestones achieved and many more in reach, Kerestine has already etched her name into North Texas soccer history. She said she doesn’t know what exactly she needs to do to get on the wall of fame, but said all she can do is keep working.

“I guess by just doing what I’m doing,” Kerestine said. “Break records. Get championships. That’s all I can do.”

Featured Image: Junior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine kicks the ball away from the goal against Vanderbilt University on Sept. 7. Photo by Ben Regalado – Staff Photographer

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