WILLIAMSTOWN -- A goalkeeper has to be the most vocal player on the soccer field.
Margot Besnard is just that for the Mount Greylock girls' soccer team.
"She is very direct and demanding when directing us on defense," sweeper Alexa Adams said. "She really is great at communicating on the field."
She hasn't always been that way for Greylock.
It's one of the several things she has learned in her five season's playing goalkeeper for the Mounties. It's a skill she learned from Kim Hou ston who was the team's swee per through the 2010 season.
"Kim was just one of the greatest leaders I have seen and she really showed me how to be stern and tell the defense to get back," Besnard said. "You have to be stern and strong with them, and sometimes be aggressive towards your teammates when it's necessary. But you also have to congratulate them and be positive when things go well."
Sometimes her ability to be stern can
"You'll see Margot and I in games sometimes going at it with each other," Adams said with a smirk. "We'll be yelling at each other and arguing back and forth, but that's just in the games. It doesn't affect either of us because we are such good friends off the field."
Adams knows Besnard needs to be stern during games and says that her fellow captain has earned the right to do so with the defense It's one of the things that makes her so good at protecting the net. Today's game against Hoosac Valley will mark the 90th straight game Besnard has started for the Mounties, dating all the way back to her eighth grade season. This season, she has pitched five shutouts.
"All throughout high school she has been directing me on the field and this year, [sweeper] is kind of a new position for me, but Margot is always there and she knows the right things to say and where I should be," Adams said. "She just has so much experience and she really knows how to see the field and really knows what needs to happen on defense."
The goalkeeper often has to be the most vocal and provide the most leadership on the field, but it's not something that came right away for Besnard. She was just 12 years old when she participated in her first varsity practice and had only been 13 for a few days before starting her first varsity game.
"She was young and she was very quiet," Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer recalled. "It can be intimidating being so young on the team, I mean she was four or five years younger than most of the girls. But she has certainly evolved with her leadership and communication. Especially with the defense, she has this ability to really motivate the players and she knows how to get 100 percent out of all of her teammates."
Last year, Besnard led the team to a share of the South Division title, and with four games remaining this year has the team in line for another and a trip to the Western Massachusetts tournament. In 13 games this season, she has allowed just eight goals.
Again, it's her experience that allows her to be so stingy in the net.
"I feel my biggest advantage over other goalkeepers in the league is my experience, just playing so many minutes of soccer has been a huge advantage for me this year," she said. "Since the eighth grade, my main goal has been if you make a mistake and let in a goal figure out why. Then practice that in practice so you never make that same mistake again.
"After playing for five years, those have kind of built up so I know how I get scored on and I can really prevent it."
Along with her leadership, her skills have also improved.
"In terms of technically, she has really grown every single season," Ostheimer said. "A couple years ago she wasn't taking the goal kicks, now she takes those and free kicks when they are within 30 yards. I mean everything, her punts, her instincts, her ability to know angles and when to come out and play the ball and when to stay back.
"She really just has it all, she's the whole package back there. You don't see a goalie like Margot that often, she is one of a kind."