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Athlete of the Week – Olivia Gardner, Cotter Soccer

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 2:29 PM CST
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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC)- Olivia Gardner is unstoppable.

“She is like no one I have ever coached,” Cotter Head Coach Marie Barrientos said.

The Cotter senior has an uncanny ability to find the back of the net.

“I love scoring its always just as fun as my first goal was,” Olivia Gardner said. “Sometimes you’ll just have a hit and you’ll know that’s going in the back of the net. I definitely, you can tell by some of my reactions it won’t even, barely come off my foot and I already know.”

It’s a feeling she’s had the many times this season. With 34 goals, she owns the second best mark in Minnesota. Not to mention she’s just adding to her lead as the top goal scorer in Cotter school history with well over 100 career goals.

“I joke with them a lot, I would in no way shape or form try to figure out how to mark her because if I mark her tight, she’s around me. If I don’t mark her, she’s around me. If I give her space, she’s just she’s in a class a lot of times of her own,” Barrientos said.

Its a play style that’s a lot similar to Gardner’s favorite player and one of the best in the world, Alex Morgan.

“When I think of Alex Morgan, I think of a fast, natural goal scorer. You want them facing the goal, you want them with the ball at their feet, that is Olivia for us,” Barrientos said.

Its more than her scoring ability though that gives her coach confidence that she’ll be just fine when she plays at the University of Mary next fall.

“There are games she could go in and truthfully score eight to ten goals and she’s got a hat trick. Then she’s looking for the kids that don’t score, she’s looking to set up her teammates very unselfish on the soccer field. Those are things you don’t, you can’t teach. You can teach skill, but you can’t teach character.”

Before that. there is a state title to go get.

“That would mean everything. Ever since we came to junior high and we were able to play at Cotter, that has been the dream.

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