In a close game against conference opponent Northeastern in early October, Towson Women’s Soccer forward Nia Christopher experienced something not often seen in soccer.
At times throughout the scoreless game, Christopher was marked by two, and sometimes three, Northeastern defenders. The plan was to stop the No. 2 scorer in the Colonial Athletic Conference from touching the ball.
The strategy worked; Northeastern pulled off an upset win in overtime, but Christopher still managed to lead Towson with five shots, two on goal.
“It’s frustrating at times but knowing they are sending two or three players on me, that leaves two of our players open,” said Christopher, a graduate of The John Carroll School. “If I am able to get the ball to them, they could create something even bigger.”
Towson fourth-year coach Katherine Vettori sees the double- and triple-teaming as a sign of respect.
“We have some other weapons,” Vettori said. “But she’s still hard to stop, even triple-teamed.”
Other teams have not been as successful in shutting down the star sophomore, who is among the top goal-scorers in the nation with 13 goals through 17 games. Most recently, Christopher scored the game-winning goal against Drexel Oct. 24.
Christopher’s other stats are just as eye-popping. She leads the team with 79 shots and 41 shots on goal, good for a .519 shots-on-goal percentage. She is first in the CAA in shots per game (4.65) and shots on goal (2.41).
Before arriving at Towson, Christopher was a dominant player for John Carroll, where she was a three-time All-IAAM A Conference player and two-time indoor all-conference performer.
Originally from Devonshire, Bermuda, Christopher moved from the island nation when she was 15. As a forward for the Bermuda National Team, Christopher has played in World Cup qualifying matches and CONCACAF championship games.
Following Towson’s season next month, Christopher will play in national team games against Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. She is the first Towson player to play for her respective national team, Vettori said.
As a teen, she lived in Georgia for a time before coming to Maryland. During her college recruitment, Christopher wanted to make sure she stayed close to home. And the Tigers, who recently clinched their first winning season since 2007, needed some firepower.
“Since I was in high school in Maryland, I really started to feel at home, so I wanted to stay close,” said Christopher, whose soft-spoken demeanor off the field does not match the intensity with which she plays on it.
“And also what they’re trying to do in rebuilding the program, I wanted to be a part of that,” she added.
Christopher said she was eager to get a taste of the college game heading into the fall of 2020, but like most college soccer teams across the country, Towson’s season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Towson played a truncated eight-game spring season. Christopher totaled a goal and an assist and led the team in shots. She was named third-team All-CAA as a freshman.
The humble Christopher shrugged off her individual success, saying simply, “I’m just happy to be on the score sheet as often as I have.”