Speed kills.

Soccer teams that go up against Desert Vista’s Samantha Rall can attest to that.

Over the past couple of seasons the senior has been the fastest player on the Thunder girls soccer team and that has led to scoring opportunities.

Last season, when the Thunder made it to the state 5A-I state championship game, Rall had nine goals and four assists, second highest on the team.

“Honestly, I have no idea where the speed comes from,” she said. “I’ve just always been fast.”

But Rall’s not all pedal to the metal.

“The speed certainly helps,” Desert Vista coach Paul Manoogian said, “but a lot of players can go too fast all the time. She uses her speed wonderfully. She knows when to slow down and when to use that speed at the right time, and that’s the most important part of it.”

Rall is officially listed as a midfielder this season, but she can move forward or be an attacking midfielder when the opportunity arises.

“I love playing forward but (Manoogian) switches me, and I love running through the field,” Rall said.

With her speed comes versatility.

“I can move her around,” Manoogian added. “She’s been a center midfielder and an outside fullback. In college her coach will probably have her as an outside midfielder. She’s not a true forward, but it happens all the time in club and high school.”

Usually that kind of speed at forward could result in some off-sides penalties.

“We don’t play the typical high school style of soccer, which is kick the ball as far as you can,” Manoogian explained. “Our personality is do something with the ball and still be effective.”

The personnel changes every season, but Rall, who has been on the varsity squad since she was a freshman, said the team has been able to adapt.

“The chemistry changes every year,” she said. “We lost nine starters, but we have some good players this year, too.”

Rall started playing soccer when she was 3 but gave it up for a time when she concentrated on gymnastics.

“I was in gymnastics for a long time, but I hurt my back when I was about 11 and went back to soccer again,” Rall said. “I can’t think of anything for gymnastics that would carry over to soccer unless it would be a flip throw, but I don’t do that. I like soccer better.”

And it’s faster.

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