Girls Soccer: Approach, background help Olentangy Orange's Amanda Poorbaugh succeed in goal
Amanda Poorbaugh's outlook on goalkeeping might say a lot about her ability to come up big for the Olentangy Orange girls soccer team.
Poorbaugh, a senior, isn’t afraid to stand in goal during shootouts or penalty kicks because she believes the pressure mostly is on the opposing player.
“Honestly, I think there’s not a lot of pressure on the goalie,” said Poorbaugh, a Penn State recruit. “I think the pressure is on the kicker because they are supposed to make it. As a goalie, if you save one of the five (shots), you have done a good job. If you saved two of the five, you have probably won your team the shootout.
“Going into it, I kind of read the kicker’s body, their foot placement, their hips, where they’re looking. … A lot of times, it comes down to a gut decision – if you guess the right way and make a good reaction. You can’t let the pressure get to you.”
Poorbaugh has allowed eight goals and posted 10 shutouts in 17 games this season. A year ago, she allowed 13 goals and posted 13 shutouts in 22 games. She holds the program-record for shutouts in a season (13) and career (27).
“Amanda’s a difference-maker,” said coach Tim Lawrence, whose fourth-seeded team was 12-2-3 overall after defeating 39th-seeded Marion Harding 10-0 on Oct 21 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. “In big games, the keeper has to come up in a big way, and she can do that. She can keep us in games and give us a chance to win.
“I think her commitment to getting better is what separates her from the others. She spends so much time working to get better. She’s athletic and a very smart kid. You combine all of these things, and it puts her to the forefront. She has strong character, and she’s just a heck of a player.”
Poorbaugh moved to the Netherlands in 2013 and returned to central Ohio just before her eighth-grade year in 2016. While abroad she was persuaded by her coaches to play in the field, a move thhas made her a better goalie, she said.
“When I went to Amsterdam, they already had a goalie and they told me that if I wanted to be a full-time goalie I could play on the second team,” Poorbaugh said. “They said I was good enough to play field on the first team so I played there. I played forward, and I loved scoring goals.
“I think being a field player is one of the best things that has happened to me in my journey to becoming a goalie. It has allowed me to be really good with my feet, which is something a lot of schools are looking for and it’s really helpful in the game. I also think it helps me because it gives me a mindset as to what the forward is trying to do. So, in turn, I can flip it around to what do I need to do to stop what they are thinking.”
Poorbaugh has a 4.3 GPA and will study biology in college as she pursues a career in a medical field, and she is no stranger to the campus at State College, Pennsylvania. Grace, her sister and a 2020 Orange graduate, attends the school as has several relatives.
“Penn State has an incredible soccer program, but I also will be a fourth-generation student there,” she said. “My dad, his siblings, their parents and their grandparents all went to Penn State. My sister is there now. It’s a family school, and it has an amazing soccer program but it’s also a great school.”
Poorbaugh's focus now is to help the Pioneers repeat as district champions after winning the program's first title a year ago with a 2-0 victory over Watterson. Orange lost to Dublin Coffman 3-2 in overtime in a regional final.
Orange faced 27th-seeded Newark on Oct 24 in the second round of the tournament with the winner advancing to a semifinal Oct. 28 against 15th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 25th-seeded Westerville Central. The district final is Saturday, Oct. 31.
The Pioneers also finished 4-1 in the OCC-Central Division to win their second consecutive league title and third in four seasons.
“I think this season is going well,” Poorbaugh said. “Without having scrimmages before the season, we had to figure some things out. We have a pretty good record. I think if we are consistently playing at our highest level, we should be able to do well going forward.”