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Women’s soccer goalie reaches milestones in shutouts

Emerson Keenan

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Chico State goalie Brianna Furner in a game earlier this year. Photo credit: John Domogma

To be a goalie, one needs to have a large voice, be a strong leader and have a bigger-than-life personality, according to women’s soccer coach Kim Sutton.

“It’s like a whole different sport, because it’s the only person that uses their hands, plus they are stopping shots that are being rocketed at them,” Sutton said. “I mean, I don’t want to be in there.”

Senior Brianna Furner is exactly that person and is back in the goal this year for her fourth season as a starter. She is also climbing the record books of the Chico State women’s soccer program, moving to second place in career shutouts with 21.

Furner was a backup goalie for much of her youth, playing exclusively center back until seventh grade when she made the switch.

“I changed to goalie pretty late in the game,” Furner said. “I went to Bob, my trainer, and he said, ‘Yeah I see potential in you,’ and I said, ‘All right, I’ll try it out.'”

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Chico State goalie Brianna Furner prepares for a shot in a game earlier this season. Photo credit: John Domogma

After being a four-year starter for her high school in San Marcos, she has started every year as a Wildcat. In 2011, Furner’s first year, the women’s soccer team made it to the final four of the NCAA tournament.

“Being a part of the final four my first season, it definitely created a passion and understanding of what this program is all about,” Furner said. “And it’s really transferred over to this year as I have kept those beliefs in my mind over the past few years.”

Fellow senior defender Halima Abdelshife said that having her best friend playing behind her helps keep her focused.

“She is one of the people that can snap me out of it as I get frustrated, or if I am not having my best game,” Abdelshife said. “She can always find something to say that gets me going and is one of the people that I look to to keep me going.”

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Chico State goalie Brianna Furner in a game earlier this season. Photo credit: John Domogma

Having the same starting goalie for four years is quite a perk for a college coach.

Sutton said Furner has been rock solid since she started as a Wildcat.

“We really just knew she had the skills, the tools and the personality to own that position as a first-year,” Sutton said.

The coach and players said they are very goal-oriented.

“We try to remind the team to accomplish your individual goals, and don’t forget the overall goal of making the national tournament,” Abdelshife said. “And giving everything you have, because in reality, it’s only a couple months of your life but it’s the most memorable time as an athlete.”

Furner said she has people come up to her asking about the records, but she has no idea where she stands and that she is only trying her best. She is her hardest critic and she is always striving to get better.

“I never go into a season being happy about the last season,” Furner said. “I always want to improve and keep working harder. Never settle.”

Chance Keenan can be reached at [email protected] or @chancelikelance on Twitter.

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Women’s soccer goalie reaches milestones in shutouts