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Standing between two goal posts positioned directly under the opponents fans, she waits. While they heckle and jeer her, still she waits. Through good weather and bad, she waits. And then, her opportunity comes in the form of a shot. Diving head first through the air, Jamie Beran contorts and twists her body to make acrobatic catches that few can attempt and even fewer can master.

Such is the life of the women’s soccer goalkeeper during games. An opportunity to make a save is much more than a statistical incentive for Beran; it has become a driving force that started at a young age and has led her career down the road less traveled.

Beran is now the star jewel in a St. John’s defense that has allowed only .94 goals per game on the season. Although the Tucson, Arizona native is a defensive force now, she remembers that it was a struggle for her at first.

“Freshman year is a bit of a shock to everyone,” she said. “My freshman year, I didn’t get as much playing time as I wanted to… I just needed time to learn some things.”

In addition to the maturation process of gauging speed on the field on the new level, she also gained the added knowledge of fitness.

“My freshman year I didn’t really come in as fit as I maybe should have, and I paid for it the entire year.”

In stark contrast to her lack of fitness then is her seeming plethora of physical fitness and conditioning now, and others around her, including Coach Ian Stone, are taking notice.

“What sets her apart is she can run the field with the other players and I’ve never really had a goalie that can do that,” he said. “She’s really hardworking…she does a special practice for goalies two or three times a week in addition to regular practices.”

Beran’s work can be traced back to the tender age of four when she began playing. From her beginning up until high school, she played with her fraternal twin sister, Jackie. In Beran’s own words, soccer has been a “family sport.” Both her brothers, James and Joe, played sports and so did her mom, Kathy, who played volleyball and soccer. Her father, James, was also from a big family who loved sports. Being that her father’s side was European (from the Czech Republic), soccer was a given.

“He came from a large family so they were always playing sports, and I think soccer was the sport they always loved to play together,” she said. “I think as soon as my sister and I were born, he was pretty set on us joining a soccer team and getting started on that because he loves watching us play.”

Beran combines both skill and luck to help the team win. It might be indistinguishable to the fans that are too far away, but those close enough to the game can often see a bit of superstition manifested in her hairstyle.

“Every game I wear a bow in my hair and it’s always teal, and I always have a matching headband to go with it just because I’ve always done it since my freshman year and it’s been a part of my pre-game tradition…I carried it over [from my club team in high school.] It makes me feel better knowing I have my bow.”

Beran’s ribbon keeps her mentally focused and she plans to carry it with her in the hostile environment of the upcoming Big East tournament.

“I really got introduced to that my freshman year,” she said. “It was my first Big East game and we went down to Georgetown. The fans were ripping on me the entire game. They thought it was so funny, but I didn’t let it bother me. I’d answer back to them with a big save and they would shut up right away. This year we had a long road trip and each game the fans were awful. We won most of those games so it’s kind of like the joke is on them.”

With a playoff berth and an opportunity to extend the season into the NCAA’s, St. John’s is hoping that Beran will have to keep waiting for an opportunity to shine, but knows that if she gets it, she will excel and get the last laugh on the opposition.