Working toward the same goals

Women’s soccer team concludes season

Katie Thompson
The women’s soccer team played their last game Nov. 2. The team tied with Rockhurst University and went into double overtime, but failed to advance in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament due to penalty kicks.

Kennedy Moore has played soccer since she was about three and a half years old. Growing up in Evansville, the senior marketing major played in many different leagues and club soccer teams.

Moore tore her retina playing soccer when she was 13. She thought she wouldn’t be able to play college soccer. But through private training, she was able to get back in the game. Moore said being a part of a team is what she loves about soccer.

“In soccer, I just love how high the intensity is and being a part of that team atmosphere is awesome,” Moore said.

The women’s soccer team played their last game last Friday. The team tied with Rockhurst University and went into double overtime, but failed to advance in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament due to penalty kicks.

Last season, Moore tore her ACL the first day of pre-season. She was able to recover for this year’s season, where she finished as a right wing forward.

“Coming back from an ACL tear is a really tough process,” Moore said. “You can never really know until you go through it and, unfortunately, it’s extremely common in girls soccer now.”

Moored lived in California over the summer. There, she trained with local teens so she could come back.

“It was really awesome to be able to come back my senior year,” Moore said. “Being able to come back and be able to play at my full ability and kind of develop more over the year and be able to get back to my full strength was really awesome.”

When was she injured, Moore attended away games and helped mentor some of the younger players. She said she would try to contribute to practices as much as she could despite not being able to walk on her own. Moore would sit on the sidelines to get an outside perspective of the game so she could give advice.

Moore said the chemistry of this year’s team was really incredible.

“Everybody just collaborated so well and it really showed on the field,” Moore said “If someone was hurt, or someone had an off game, it was just the next woman up always, and we were always there for each other. There was no cattiness or any kind of mean-spirited behavior and that just really helped the team and pushed us through.”

Moore said the best feeling of this year was when the team won the regular season championship at the Great Valley Lakes Conference. The game against Lewis University went into double overtime and USI won during the last three seconds of the game.

“Everybody ran on the field, and it was one of the most exciting feelings I ever felt,” Moore said. “I was just so proud because being a college athlete comes with so much adversity and everybody is hurting all the time and everybody is tired, but you know when you get a win like that that your team is just so dedicated and really committed and that there are so many teams that can’t pull that off. I just felt so proud to be a part of USI’s Women’s Soccer at that point.”

Moore said through her ACL injury and college soccer she learned how to overcome extreme amounts of adversity.

“I work a part-time job, I’m a full-time student and soccer is several hours a week, and you’re just constantly having things thrown at you, random practices and things you just don’t expect,” Moore said.“And I think that it’s made me so much better at time management, at really just not freaking out about little things and I just feel like it made me really prepared for the real world.”

When Emily Hopkins was three years old, her mom said she had a lot of energy, and tried to put her in as many sports as she could.

“I just took well to soccer,” the senior exercise science major said. “I really liked it.”

Hopkins played travel soccer through middle school and high school and she received an email her junior year of high school asking if she was interested in USI’s program.

“I fell in love with the university and the girls on the team and just the atmosphere that USI gave me,” Hopkins said. “So I chose to come here.”

Hopkins said her dad always pushed her and her siblings in sports to do their best and he was always really supportive.

“When I was younger, I always told my parents that I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” Hopkins said. “The first step is to get in college and play, so that was always my goal.”

Hopkins said the coaching staff really supported the team in their schooling.

“I knew that soccer wasn’t going to be my entire life,” Hopkins said. “I needed to get a quality education while still playing. I definitely got that here.”

Hopkins said playing soccer at a college was a whole other level compared to what she had done in the past.

“I was just used to coming out to practices three days a week and playing on the weekends in high school and then I get to college and you’re having three-hour practices every day,” Hopkins said. “You don’t have much of a social life, so you had to be fully committed and invested into the program.”

Hopkin’s love for soccer made it something she wanted to do.

“Our team chemistry was so good and we all got along so well that it was really enjoyable to be out there with the girls every day,” Hopkins said. “It didn’t make it seem like a job.”

This year, the team had 15 incoming freshmen.

“I just tried to think back to when I was a freshman and how scared I was,” Hopkins said. “When they all come in, all the returning girls just try to welcome them and try to make them feel like home. When we do that, I feel like we gain their trust and that they’re willing to open up a lot more to us.”

To help with bonding, the team holds potlucks were the players bring a food item and play games. The team also dances and sings to a playlist put together by Moore before games to create excitement and energy for the game.

Hopkins usually plays as a goalie during games.

“My dad always told me that I was a little weird and everyone that I’ve met says you gotta be a little weird to be a goalkeeper willing to through your body out in front of a ball someone would probably just in the opposite direction for,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said it hasn’t really sunk in that this is her last season.

“We had a really good season this year, and everyone was really invested in it,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said this year’s season was a huge turnaround from her freshman year. The team had a seven-game winning streak this year when they only won three games her freshman year.

“Every girl that has come to the program has bought in the system that we’re trying to do,” Hopkins said. “And I think that’s extremely important for a team to be successful and that everyone has the same goals and the same dreams and we all wanted to well this season and we all put our hearts down to it. And I think this is definitely the best season I’ve had in my four years here.”