October 10, 2002
ATHENS, Ohio - With 32 career goals heading into Friday night's match at Louisville, Ohio University junior Christel Schiering is on the verge of becoming the Bobcat women's soccer program's all-time scoring leader. The forward from Cincinnati will tie Mindy Boggs for top honors with her next score and could be in a position to break the record at home against Kent State on Sunday.
For the soft-spoken graduate of Colerain High School, reaching the record was a priority for the season but the speed at which she has approached it has been quite unexpected.
"It's been a surprise to have this many goals this early," said Schiering, who began the season by scoring in each of the team's first eight games to set a Mid-American Conference record. "My teammates have been doing a great job of getting the ball to me in the box."
Schiering's 12 goals and 26 points after 11 contests this year leads the conference and ranks her in the top 10 nationally. Not too bad for someone who wasn't even considering playing on the Division I level while starring as a central midfielder in high school.
Schiering's stepfather, Bill Strunk, adamantly requested her to play for Ohio, a school that was heavily recruiting her. On the day the scholarship offer came from the Bobcats, Schiering called Strunk to tell him the news and found out that he had just passed away unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm.
"I did it for him," she said. "This is what he wanted. I had so much respect for him and this is the wish he had. I knew if he wanted it that badly, it was something that I should do."
Standing five-foot-one, Schiering was deemed a little too small to play midfield on the Division I level and was moved to the striker position after her arrival in Athens. Her work ethic helped make her an instant success at Ohio. She scored a goal in the first game she appeared in for the Bobcats and led the team in goals (nine) and points (22) her freshman season.
"I really didn't expect to play too much," Schiering said. "I just expected to come in and work hard and get some playing time here and there."
Her sophomore year was even more productive as Schiering posted a team-high 11 goals and 23 points. Most impressive, she produced five game-winning goals as Ohio rolled to the conference regular season title. For her efforts, the early childhood education major was named second team All-MAC and earned second-team All-Ohio honors from the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association, as well as making both All-Academic teams.
"Christel just works harder than anyone else," said Ohio head coach Stacy Strauss. "She is great at expecting more and more of herself every day and every week and definitely from season to season. She sets goals and really knows what they are and works towards them."
Schiering's blazing start this season has placed her as a strong contender for conference Player of the Year, as well as regional - and possibly national - recognition. In one weekend in mid-September, she scored five goals in two games to earn the Bobcats' first MAC Player-of-the-Week selection in two years. Her hat trick in a 5-0 blanking of Akron matched Ohio's all-time record for goals scored in a game set by Rachael Najjar on October 22, 2000.
"I'm really trying to take this success in stride," said Schiering. "It's something I've worked at since I was a freshman. There are still a lot of things I have to work on."
The work continues Friday evening for Schiering and the Bobcats (7-3-1, 4-2-1 MAC) in a 7 p.m. non-conference match at Louisville (5-5-1, 1-2-1 C-USA). Ohio then begins a three-game home stand with its 1 p.m. contest against Kent State (4-6-1, 2-4-0 MAC) on Sunday. Admission is free to all Bobcat regular-season home matches at Chessa Field on Shafer Street.