When the ball was bouncing around in front of the goal late in Saturday night’s sectional final, Brooklyn Taulman was in the right spot.
The senior midfielder put away the lone goal in Columbus East’s 1-0 victory against Seymour that sent the Olympians into this week’s East Central Regional. East will play New Castle in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“I think we started off the game a little bit shaky, but toward the end of it, we were really flowing and working well together,” Taulman said. “We all started toward the end of the season connecting and being able to communicate well together.”
Like the rest of her teammates, Taulman has had to pick up her game since standout midfielder Elisa Watkins was lost to a knee injury midway through the season. Since that injury, Taulman’s scoring has risen. She ranks second on the team with nine goals and also has four assists.
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“The expectation was that we step up as a team, not one individual,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “Everybody has done that, and Brooklyn is one of them.”
Last year, Taulman was named the team’s top offensive player after leading the Olympians with 15 goals. Taulman has played left outside midfielder all four years of high school and is in her second year as a starter.
“Brooklyn has been tremendous all throughout her high school career,” Schwartzman said. “She has stepped up this year. She just about played every minute of every game and has played through some injuries.
“She’s incredibly athletic, very gifted, a very excellent soccer player who has embraced the opportunity and what we asked her to do and has done a great job for us,” he said. “She’s physically strong and takes care of nutrition. She’s just an incredible athlete.”
Taulman, who also is a diver and a track athlete, dressed varsity as a sophomore, when East won a regional title and reached the state’s elite eight. She got in at the end of the sectional and regional finals that year.
“I didn’t play that much,” Taulman said. “But I went with the team, and that was great to see all that happening. I think I’ve grown as a player, and I’m ready to step up now.”
But her competitive soccer career likely is nearing an end. Taulman, who has played with the Columbus Express since this year’s seniors were in the U9 age division, wants to go to Indiana University or another big school and study exercise science or kinesiology.
First, though, she hopes to help lead the Olympians to another regional title.
“I’m just hoping to finish off the season hard and go as far as we can go,” Taulman said. “I think our senior class is really strong, and I think we’re ready to keep on going.”
East Central Regional
5 p.m.: Columbus East vs. New Castle
7 p.m.: Silver Creek vs. East Central
1 p.m.: Championship