Why the Lakers can't run out of Bounds
Junior forward continues to provide spark for GVSU
Picture an undercover police officer. The mental image invokes thoughts of a sly, quick-witted, highly skilled professional. The good ones remain unassuming and unnoticed until it’s time to strike. And when it’s time, the strike is done with a flash of vigor.
Katie Bounds has often thought of becoming an undercover officer. A criminal justice major, Bounds has a number of potential careers running through her head. Few, however, match up to her career as a Grand Valley State University soccer player as well going undercover.
Bounds, a junior, has made just one start for GVSU this season. The Lakers trot out a starting lineup overflowing with goal-scoring talent, commanding the attention and focus of enemy defenses.
Sometimes those defenses manage to hold the Lakers off the board for a spell. Sometimes they don’t. Regardless, Katie Bounds is waiting and watching, cunning and inconspicuous.
Then, her name is called. She trots to the sideline near midfield and checks in. Moments later, Bounds is on the field. It’s her turn to contribute, and all of a sudden, the defense realizes one of GVSU’s best agents is preparing to strike.
Through 14 games in the 2014 campaign, Bounds has tallied six goals, four assists and 44 shots. Her primary asset is her blinding speed, a devastating skill made apparent within seconds of insertion into the game.
“She’s a great athlete, she’s our best leaper,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “She is probably the best player on our team in filling up our sense of urgency to go to goal.”
“She can become instant offense the moment she steps on the field.”
A Southfield, Mich. native, Bounds came to GVSU after playing club soccer for the Michigan Jaguars. Bounds attended University High School Academy, a college preparatory school, so she was forced to look outside the normal means to compete athletically. She took to track and field at a local public high school as well, but the sport never had a chance at unseating soccer as number one in her book.
Looks from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo and other Division I programs fell flat as Bounds chose to play at GVSU. She befriended former Laker soccer standout Kayla Addison, fell in love with GVSU’s intangibles and came to Allendale ready to compete.
Always the standout player on her teams growing up, Bounds had some adjusting to do to her new role on GVSU’s squad as a freshman. She played in 16 games in 2012, but admitted that she thought she would get more playing time.
Now, in her third year as a Laker athlete, Bounds remains a sparkplug substitute. What hasn’t remained over the years, however, is her freshman year mentality.
“It was a big adjustment not being a starter, but when you come to college you realize that that’s not everything,” Bounds said. “You’re part of a team now and your role has changed and you have to adjust accordingly.”
“Whatever role I get, I don’t care if I get two minutes a game, I’m going to make the most of it either way.”
One of the most important roles Bounds has played this season is sidekick to 2013 GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year Jenny Shaba. The dominating duo has found an unmatched rhythm this year, feeding off each other and contributing in tandem game after game.
All but eight of their combined 40 points in 2014 have come in the same five matches. Defenses can direct all their energy at stopping one, only to see the other end up making a game-changing play. The two are like Sherlock and Watson, solving defensive strategies and dashing hopes of would-be pests – it’s just difficult to decide who is who.
“Her and I both like to play with a lot of pace and run onto balls and I think we compliment each other,” Shaba said. “Any time she puts her mind to something she does it well.”
To unaware teams, Bounds’ presence on the pitch is perceived as a step down from a starter; just there to give someone a break. But then she gets a touch. She knocks the ball deep past a defender, turning a one-on-one battle into a footrace.
She turns on the burners, scorches by a defender and, just like that, GVSU’s offense is ready to cash in. It might be Bounds who puts it home. There’s a pretty good chance she’ll dish to Shaba. Regardless, Bounds has managed to create her special brand of “instant offense.”
Opposing defenses may learn to grasp the danger she brings, but it might not even matter. By the time competitors realize their mistake – it’s already too late.