She could have kept page two of the Division III women’s soccer records book with her. But a small box score excerpt from the Columbus Dispatch did the trick.
When former Otterbein soccer star Jamie Sims would tell people about her three goals in a span of one minute, seven seconds against Muskingum on Oct. 19, 2002, nobody believed her — prompting Sims to carry around proof. On that magical day, even she was among those doubting what had just taken place.
“It was almost surreal. I asked myself, ‘Is this a dream? Is this really happening?’ ” Sims said.
It did happen, and nine years later, still no NCAA soccer player — male or female, Division I, II or III — has scored a trio of goals in a shorter period of time. Even U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach, a four-time All-American at Florida from 1998 to 2001, had to settle for an elapsed time of 2:02 to set the Division I record for fastest three scores in 2000.
Yet perhaps the most impressive parts of the feat have yet to be noted.
For starters, Sims’ three goals all came in the game’s first 2:18. And she wasn’t done — two seconds into the fifth minute, Sims added an assist for good measure, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead before late-arrivers even plopped down in their seats.
And did all of this come courtesy of the golden boot of one of the NCAA’s all-time greatest scorers? No — not even from a forward, in fact.
The two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection, who had 11 career goals to her name, made her mark on the pitch not with prolific scoring, but by being a dependable force in the midfield where she never missed a game, and by executing the game plan to perfection.
“She wasn’t a huge goal-scoring threat, but she would do exactly what you asked her to do,” Otterbein head coach Brandon Koons said. “We always knew we could count on her and that she would be there when we needed her.”
It was such perfect execution that led to Sims’ strikes, which, remarkably enough, all came about in virtually the same fashion.
“We had a strategy at the time of crossing the ball to the goal line and then playing it back to an open shooter,” Koons said. “Each time she found herself unmarked and just had to slot it home.”
Although Koons won’t take credit for drawing up the legendary hat trick, he did call one of Sims’ other memorable goals, a tally just 14 seconds after kickoff in a contest earlier that season.
Before a game against Earlham, Koons urged his squad to jump on the opposition right out of the gate and picked Sims to tally the opening goal. Score she did, and in record fashion again: the goal is still tied for the quickest first score in OAC history and was the third-fastest in Division III annals at the time.
While record-setting soccer play may no longer be on the docket for Sims, her famous three-goal spurt lives on. She recalls being at dinner once with a group of friends — among them her future husband — when the subject came up and the newspaper clipping came out. The rest is history.
“We still joke that the article was how I impressed my husband,” said Sims, who was married in September.
A three-time academic all-OAC selection (with a grade-point average just under 4.0), Sims has since replaced her academic and soccer prowess with a real estate job in Columbus, Ohio, and a hobby running marathons. Her twin sister Kelley, also a former Otterbein soccer player, joins in the latter venture. Jamie ran in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Boston Marathons, finishing the most recent one in 3:20:05.
Seems she’s fast everywhere she goes.
The NCAA Stats at 75 series will be published weekly through May and will include interesting statistical championship stories and all-time great performances. Next week: Penn State volleyball had one of the most remarkable runs in sports with 109 consecutive victories.
Photos courtesy of the Otterbein athletic department.