There was no question South Carroll senior stopper Jamie Baier made an immediate impression when she first walked onto the soccer field as a freshman four years ago.
"Her first year, she'd come to practice and every outfit she wore had to match," said South Carroll coach Jim Horn. "If it was purple, it would be purple socks, purple shorts and there had to be some purple in her shirt. It was like, 'Who was that neat kid?' "
These days, that neat kid is the catalyst on a South Carroll team that just made county history with a 12-0 regular season. Now, when no one would dare scold the senior co-captain for her tidy dress code, she takes a different approach.
"She makes a point of showing up with the ugliest clothes she has," Horn said.
Baier's versatility and intelligence on the soccer field enable her to be very accommodating.
When she's not marking the opponent's top offensive threat, she's stepping up to make things happen at the other end, scoring four goals and adding four assists on the season.
"I try to get the team emotionally ready and just play my position and help out the younger players when they need me," she said. "I have to worry about the player I'm covering and try to push up and help the offense some, too."
When the Cavaliers were awarded a penalty kick in the final minute of what was a 1-1 tie against rival Liberty early in the season, Horn had no doubt who he would turn to.
"I didn't want to take that," said Baier, who casually found the lower left corner to give the Cavs the win. She reluctantly added: "It was a big goal; we didn't want to lose to them."
That Liberty win was the biggest test for a Cavalier team that wasn't supposed to reach this high.
A number of standouts from last year's strong team were lost to graduation, but the losses were covered by stronger team unity. Fellow co-captains Carrie Tamburo and Sara Wachter, along with senior Erin O'Neill, have been on varsity the past four years and have played big leadership roles.
During a preseason workout, transfer Shannan Henley still had some hills to climb after everyone else was finished. Baier joined her and it wasn't long before the rest of the team was soon there, too.
"She has taken over so much of the leadership role," Horn said. "It began the first day of practice. She really dedicated herself to having a great senior year and the way to do it was for the whole team to have an outstanding year."
An outstanding year, indeed, for a team equipped with yet another Baier, freshman sister Jodie.
"It's been interesting and better than I thought," Jamie said jokingly. "I can yell at her and boss her around on the field. It hasn't been too bad, she helped our team."