Jennifer Bannon started playing soccer as a 5 year old in East Greenwich, as many kids here do. She just never stopped. Now, as a senior at Long Island University in New York, she recently set a three-game shutout record as goalkeeper for the LIU Blackbirds.
"Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Bannon is always tough to beat in net and recorded her 21st career shutout last Wednesday [Oct. 3] in a 1-0 win against Bryant University," wrote Matt Levine for BigAppleSoccer.com this week.
“It kind of just happened,” she told Levine. “I’ve been focusing on winning another championship and on the team."
LUI won the Northeast Conference title in 2011.
“She is an incredible shot stopper," said Coach Tracey Bartholomew of Bannon in that same article. "Sometimes I have no idea how she gets to them,” she said.
Bartholomew said she's seen big improvement in Bannon’s game throughout her collegiate career.
“Most female keepers struggle with high balls, but Jennifer has really improved. She has matured and has a bigger presence as she’s gotten older,” she said.
Bannon said she started focusing on goalkeeping when she was 12. By the time she got to EGHS, "I started to really focus on soccer."
When asked about important moments from high school, Bannon said, "When I was named first team All State goalkeeper my senior year in high school. It was always a goal of mine to get that award."
She continued: "Playing a sport on the college level is one of the most demanding but rewarding opportunities I have ever had. The best part of it all is that you get to travel to amazing places, and getting to form relationships that will last a lifetime. The hardest part is being away from my family and friends but I know they are cheering for me to do my best."
Bannon, who is studying sports science with a concentration in sports management, said she loves the intensity of playing goalkeeper.
"I stay focused by knowing that at any point in the game I can get shot on and have to come up with the game-winning save," she said. "I stay focused by knowing I can win or lose a game."
Bannon's streak ended Friday, after a 1-1 tie against Monmouth University. Thanks to Mike Bannon for tipping me off about this story. If you have a story you think fits on EG Patch, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.