Assault on goal

Published 2:22 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jill Pinder has done in seven games what no other athlete in Troy Trojans soccer history has accomplished in an entire season.

Pinder, Troy’s sophomore goal scoring machine, set the Troy soccer single season scoring record Sunday in the Trojans’ 9-0 victory over Alabama State. She recorded her third straight hat trick and now has 13 goals for the season. Her 12th goal broke Courtney Reeder’s record of 11 set in 2001.

“I have just been having fun playing,” Pinder said. “But to be honest, I just want to win and make it far this year as a team.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Pinder said she didn’t even know she was close to the record, or what the record was for that matter. Troy head coach Chris Bentley told her about the record after the game and she said she was excited to have accomplished the feat.

“I think Jill is a special player,” Bentley said. “She is constantly working to get herself in good position for the team. She throws a neat dynamic in there for us because she can play a center forward or she can be an outside forward. It is hard for teams to adjust to that. From my standpoint it has been good to see someone work as hard as she does off the ball.”

Bentley said the Pinder fans see scoring goals left and right on the field is fueled by the Pinder he sees in the locker room and off the field.

“She really honestly is out for the best of the team,” he said. “I think she genuinely cares about their feelings and wants to work for them. She doesn’t care about records. She doesn’t care about anything but getting a win on the board for her teammates and that is what makes her so special.”

Pinder said scoring so many goals so fast is a new trend for her.

“I scored some in high school, but I have never scored this many goals so fast,” she said. “But I have not done it alone. Being around these girls on this team and coach Bentley has made this year so much fun.”

Pinder was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week Tuesday. She had three hat tricks in three games last week, as the Trojans went 3-0-0. She is the first Trojan to be named the player of the week since Troy moved to the Sun Belt.

“I have just been getting into a good position to score and my teammates have found me,” Pinder said.

The game may be fun for Pinder, but she knows this was not an overnight thing and she ultimately can’t do it alone. She only wanted to talk about Troy’s 5-0-2 record and winning in the conference tournament.

“We have just been trying to work hard,” Pinder said. “We just want to stay undefeated. That is our main goal.”

Bentley is happy to have such an unselfish player out there playing for his team.

“Any time you have a player who thinks more about the team and is putting the ball in the net at the same time it creates a good competitive level on the team,” Bentley said.

And he said Pinder is the type of player that a team can rally behind.

“She is the same one too that if you ask any of the other players, ‘Are you mad that Jill is scoring all the goals?’ they will say no because they are excited we are scoring goals and being competitive as a team,” Bentley said.

Pinder’s 13 goals lead the nation and her goals per game average of 1.857 leads all Division I schools. She is also tied for the national lead for points per game at 3.71.

She is the first Trojan to ever record back-to-back hat tricks and back-to-back-to-back hat tricks.

Pinder may have the scoring record in the bag, but the Troy Trojans are off to a 5-0-2 start and they host the Trojan Classic this weekend at the Troy Soccer Complex. Play begins Friday with Troy facing off with North Florida at 3 p.m. Before the Trojans play, Alabama A&M will face Louisiana Tech at noon.