In the 80th minute of Ole Miss’ game against Lipscomb on Sunday, Addie Forbus took a pass from a driving CeCe Kizer in the center of the field a few yards outside the of the penalty area toward the center of the pitch.
She redirected to her left as the defender went by her to the right, and then chipped it with her right foot past the keeper into the lower right side of the net.
“Great striking,” Head Coach Matt Mott said. “Just kind of waiting for the defender to bite, and she bit and Addie went around her. What a great finish.”
It was Forbus’ second goal of the night and seventh of the season, good for first in the NCAA. But it was also the latest example of what Forbus considers one of the biggest strengths of her game: creativity.
“A lot of times that’s when I get to have fun with it. That’s when I let my creativity show,” Forbus said. “That’s when I get out of my head and just play from my character from what I do naturally best with the ball. When I have the most fun is when goals tend to happen.”
Mott said he has seen first hand how that creativity and aggressiveness has developed over her career.
“Either set up a goal or score a goal. That’s her job as a forward and to do that, you’ve got to be creative,” Mott said. “You’ve got to have that ability to be able to take players on and beat players and then you’ve got to beat the goal keeper, and that’s probably the biggest thing she has added to her game is the ability to beat the goalkeeper.”
The senior forward has used her creativity and imagination to leave her mark on a program that has had a great deal of success since she arrived on campus by way of Amory High School, where she she broke state records in goals in a season (52) and career goals (231). Forbus was a star.
But it didn’t come quite as easy once she got to Oxford.
Forbus didn’t start her freshman year, but that only motivated her.
“She battled and battled,” Mott said. “It wasn’t an issue for her. She played a lot but didn’t start, and because of that, I think she understood, and she got to watch, and it just made her better.”
It also spawned a work ethic that has not only helped her evolve as a player, but has rubbed off on her teammates as well.
“She’s the hardest working player maybe that I’ve ever coached. She just puts in the time and her work rate is so good,” Mott said. “When you couple that with the skill and the ability that she has it’s really dangerous.”
She led the team in goals her sophomore and junior seasons and was ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in every offensive statistical category in 2015, a year in which Ole Miss made its deepest NCAA Tournament run in school history, reaching the Sweet 16.
Each offseason, Forbus picks an area of her game that she sees as a weakness and works at it, perfecting the skill until it becomes a strength, and then uses it in games.
“I think I’ve just become more well-rounded of a player,” Forbus said. “I think each year there has been a lacking component of my game and it’s been something I’ve recognized and I’ve noticed and I’ll work on fixing that and implement it throughout the season.”
This season it was aggressiveness.
“I think this year I needed to be more confident on the ball and not afraid to take people on, not afraid to take shots, not afraid to be creative in the attack and playing with that confidence has really helped out my game,” Forbus said.
It’s paying dividends, and leading the country in goals scored speaks for itself.
Forbus is a team captain in her final season, and says she leads both by example and with an air of positivity that lets her teammates know when they’ve done well.
She’s looking to raise the bar even higher at a program that’s reached new heights during her career, something Mott knows couldn’t have happened without the drive and leadership of No. 25.
“A huge part of it, just a huge part of it. The great thing is that she’s from Mississippi so she has that pride in everything she does. She has this unbelievable work ethic. That is something that is passed on to other players. She’s grown and kind of mentored people behind her,” Mott said. “That’s what makes her so special, and I think those are the things she’s done to set a standard for our program. For us, it’s all about standard, and expectation and levels and consistency and all of those things.”