Nevada soccer forward Gabby Brown has displayed a stout offensive skillset.
Brown is finishing up a strong freshman campaign. She’s totaled a team-high four goals on 71 shots, including 25 shots-on-goal. Brown is ranked No. 13 in the nation with 4.73 shots per game.
Her offensive prowess has provided a spark for the Wolf Pack and it is opening eyes from teammates and coaches.
“Gabby is a goal scorer and has the mentality to want to score goals,” said head coach Erin Otagaki. “She’s hungry for the goal…she wants that responsibility and she thrives in it.”
The 5-foot-9-inch striker notched her first points of the year in her second career collegiate game. She buried a goal in the back of the net in the 69th minute. Two minutes later, Brown assisted on a goal to Alexis Friesen to lead Nevada to a 2-1 victory against Pacific.
She also scored a game-winning goal in the 105th minute against Utah State on Oct. 27 for her third goal of the season.
Brown’s aggressive nature on the pitch causes fits for opposing teams, throwing a wrench in the game plan and forcing coaches to make adjustments.
Her scoring ability attracts multiple defenders and opens opportunities for the rest of the team.
“She’s obviously a dangerous, attacking player and teams have to figure out how to defend her,” Otagaki said. “You’ll see teams double-triple team her at times. Because of that, when they’re double-triple teaming her, she’s able to bring in other people… she’s bringing more defenders over and she is able to open up people as well.”
As one of nine freshmen on the team, Brown has persevered through the challenges and the pace of the college game provides through her teammates and coaches.
“Being a freshman, it’s a lot different. It’s a lot faster and there’s a lot of mental challenges that come with it,” Brown said. “Personally, I can lose confidence really quick and my coaches are always there to just be like ‘brush it off, or next one,’ or my teammates are always there to pick me up and to let me know that they still need me in the game.”
Brown has been entrenched in the pitch from an early age. She’s scored goals against some of the toughest competition since 2009. The Tigard, Ore. native was a member of FC Portland, a prestigious soccer academy in her home state from 2009-18.
Along with being apart of FC Portland, Brown showcased her talents by joining the U14 Youth Women’s team national camp.
“It was a real eye-opener,” she said. “At that age I honestly wasn’t really developed enough to continue being in the camps, but it was a really good challenge and opportunity to see the different competition.”
During her tenure at Tigard High School, Brown was named onto Three Rivers League First team selections from 2016-18. She scored 25 goals in her senior season.
Brown’s journey on the field has fueled her early collegiate success at Nevada. Otagaki is quite optimistic about her future role on the team.
“For us, it’s her getting more minutes,” she said. “It’s experience on the right times to take shots and the right times to let other people in… The more minutes she gets, the more fit she is going to get. I think season-to-season, she’s going to continue to grow as a player both mentally and physically. She’s a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.”
Matt Hanifan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports