The start of the fall season kicked off this past weekend for many of the Drury athletic department programs. The women’s soccer team traveled over Labor Day weekend to attend the Nebraska-Kearney Fall Classic, where they placed first. Starting the series on Sept 1 (September 1?), the Lady Panthers played Minnesota State University Moorhead, winning 1-0. They played two days later against Montana State University Billings and won with a score of 2-1. The next home game is Sept 8 (September 8?) at 5 p.m. where they will be facing University of Wisconsin- Parkside.
With nine new freshmen starting their collegiate athletic careers at Drury, eight seniors are stepping onto the field in Drury uniforms for their final year.
Some senior team members reflect on what soccer means to them as well as some of their fondest memories.
First, the seniors talked about their beginnings in the sport.
Senior defender and exercise physiology major Taylor Vaughn started playing soccer in kindergarten.
“My dad played college soccer and he always watched games on the weekends when I was younger so I just grew up loving the sport as well,” Vaughn said.
Many players also credit their parents for getting them into, and sticking with, soccer. Senior forward and biology/chemistry major Gabby Menendez said her dad introduced her to soccer at a young age. There was an advertisement in the newspaper for a soccer camp and at the age of 6 signed up.
“I started playing soccer in kindergarten and never really stopped,” senior goalkeeper and advertising and public relations/spanish major Tina Haberberger said. “I tried to quit in second grade but my parents wouldn’t let me. It turns out that was one of their better decisions. I started playing club in fourth grade, but I didn’t really get serious about it until high school.”
Senior forward and accounting major Kerri Morris and senior goalkeeper and biology major Gabrielle Klingaman started playing when they were four years old. Klingaman wanted to follow in her brother’s footsteps, and although he did not play as long, she became hooked. Morris followed her siblings, too.
“Both my older brother and sister played soccer, so I really wasn’t given much of a choice. I was put on a team the minute I was old enough,” Morris said.
Throughout four years on a team together, the women’s soccer players have traveled to England, have taken road trips for games and much more. The seniors discussed some of their favorite memories over their course of time at Drury.
Some memories are off the field. Morris said that one of her favorite moments includes fellow senior, Vaughn. She loved singing “Breaking Free” from “High School Musical” for bus karaoke.
Senior center midfielder and biology/spanish major Rachel Krueger and Vaughn shared that their favorite college memory was the trip the team took to England this past summer. Vaughn enjoyed competing against teams overseas. Klingaman shared that one of her favorite memories was beating Rockhurst University with 15 seconds left in the game her sophomore year. For Menendez it was scoring her first collegiate goal against the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds.
Haberberger talked about how her favorite memories are two fold. When it comes to her favorite moment while playing, her most cherished memories are the times Drury has beaten Quincy (the past two years). Outside of playing soccer, Haberberger enjoyed the alumni weekend the team hosted last spring. She said it was great to be able to catch up with former teammates who had graduated as well as value the time she has with her current teammates.
What They Will Miss:
Finally, the senior soccer players talked about what they will miss as their final season wraps up.
“The feeling of game days: walking into the locker room with jerseys hung, jam sessions and walking out to the field with my team,” Morris said.
So many of the girls have played the sport for so long, according to Klingaman, that it is strange to think that their lives will not involve soccer.
However, all seemed to be in agreement that they will miss each other. Krueger said that after graduation she will miss her teammates the most. They spend so much time together that they become a family.
“I’ll miss being here on campus in general, surrounded by my best friends and making memories every day. I’ll also miss playing soccer since it’s all I’ve known for essentially my entire life,” Haberberger said.
Menendez echoed a similar idea, saying that her teammates all have taught her something special.
“I have met some wonderful girls throughout my four years here at Drury and made friendships that I hope will last me a lifetime,” Menendez said.
“Most of all I’ll miss the girls themselves more than I can express, because they are the real reason I’ve loved Drury soccer so much all this time,” Haberberger said. “We have so much fun together, and we’ve made bonds that will last a lifetime. It sounds cliché, but without them my athletic and collegiate experience would have never been so rewarding, enthralling and gratifying.”