Rebekah Dornbos: Penalty killer

The women’s soccer team’s double-digit win total is the highest since 2006.

But a big part of the team’s success isn’t so big at all.

Junior Rebekah Dornbos stands only five-foot-five, but has a knack for scoring huge goals on the most exciting play in soccer, the penalty kick.

Of her six career goals, five have come via penalty kick. Of those five, four have come this season.

And of the four that she has scored this year, two have been game winners against conference opponents Butler and Green Bay.

"When taking a penalty kick, I know that I have no choice but to make the kick," Dornbos said. "I feel the goal is a reward for the whole team because most of the team helped create the situation and I’m just the last part of the

Dornbos goes through a routine prior to taking the kick.

"The first thing I try to do is stay composed," she said. "Then as I move towards the ball I think about where I’m going to shoot and then fire

While it seems like an easy task to put the ball past the goalie on a penalty kick, Dornbos knows it is harder than it looks.

"I have my spots where I like to shoot," she said. "But I also have to mix it up sometimes because it is very important to keep the goalies off balance. Otherwise, they will start to catch

Though penalty kicks have been a big part of Dornbos’s game over her three years, playing offense and defending on set pieces are also important to her and the team.

"We work on set pieces about once a week," Dornbos said. "For the offensive ones we make sure that we give ourselves a decent chance to score and for defensive set pieces we go through different situations. We make sure that we communicate correctly and everyone knows their role on the

Dornbos has also been a huge component of the special defensive effort this season, which has allowed only 12 goals so far this season.

"The best part of playing defensive is trying to shut down the other team," Dornbos said. "Just being able to attack the person with the ball and knowing the rest of the defense is behind you is a great

As a freshman, Dornbos played in 10 games for the Titans. The following year, she improved her playing time by appearing in all 20 games and starting 17 of them.

This season, she has started every game up to this point and has continued to improve.

"Adjusting from high school to college was tough my freshman year," Dornbos said. "However, my sophomore year, I got into better shape and my friends on the team really helped me out and got me to where I am today."