April 23, 2019 | 61° F

Flip throw makes RU unique

When opposing teams ready for the Rutgers women’s soccer team, there is a rare wrinkle they must prepare for: a flip throw-in, where she runs and front flips before inbounding.

Sophomore defender Brianne Reed honed the skill in middle school. The sophomore defender spent 10 years competing as a gymnast and made it to Level 8, just two levels away from becoming an elite gymnast.

Then she had a choice to make.

“For a while, I was able to keep it up because I hadn’t gotten that serious with soccer,” Reed said. “My gymnastics meets and soccer games didn’t conflict. But I eventually reached a year where my soccer coach was like, ‘I know you love gymnastics too, but you have to pick, you have to commit to one side.’”

After weighing her options, Reed decided to pursue a competitive soccer career.

“When it was the time then, I didn’t feel that young,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m pretty old, this is a pretty big decision, I’ve [got to] make this decision.’”

The magnitude of the decision didn’t hit her until much later.

“But now, looking back, [I was] 13 years old and I [had] to make this decision whether I was going to commit my life to soccer or to gymnastics,” Reed said.

A middle school teammate encouraged Reed to try the flip throw after her friends saw it on TV.

Reed admits that after initially falling several times, it may not have been the best idea to try.

“I don’t know why I agreed to try it because I probably could have broken my neck,” Reed said. “I gave it a try and I fell the first few times but I was pretty close. After that I just kept working on it to try to perfect it.”

The skill became something to give the Scarlet Knights an edge in the attacking third.

“It’s a major weapon at every level, men or women,” said head coach Glenn Crooks.

Somebody who has the ability to do a throw-in and put it into a dangerous spot, much like a corner kick — it’s just an additional weapon. Certainly for us it’s paid off on several occasions. It just puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. … So when you consider the number of throw-ins that might be in that area, it certainly adds to your opportunities.”

Opposing teams are aware of the danger — it allows it to become a service similar to a corner kick or free kick.

“I mean it’s extremely dangerous. I know it’s something that every team kind of sets up for, every team knows that’s something that we have,” said senior forward Jonelle Filigno. “But we still make use of it because it is so dangerous and [Reed’s] just able to get such a good ball into the box every time that we use it. … I think this past weekend [out of] all the games, her flip throw was very effective in creating chances.”

But beyond the danger that it creates, Filigno admits it is interesting someone who has such a skill is on her team.

“It’s pretty cool because I’ve never been on a team with a player who’s been able to do that,” Filigno said. “Right from the start when she came here, it was awesome to have someone who’s able to do that. Growing up, players do that and it’s the coolest thing so it’s [great] to have someone who can do that on your team.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s soccer team, follow Lauren Green on Twitter @lgreenWPSoccer. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.

By Lauren Green

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