Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Men’s, women’s soccer honor seniors

As the soccer season winds down for the Whitman women’s and men’s soccer teams, both women’s head coach Heather Cato and men’s head coach Mike Washington waved goodbye to two groups of seniors that played their final home weekend of matches this past Saturday and Sunday.

While watching their seniors play for one of the last times is a tough moment for the coaches, it is an even harder moment for the players. For most seniors, collegiate soccer is the last juncture in their soccer careers where they will have the opportunity to play at a highly competitive level. It marks the end of fierce competition and the beginning of casual pick-up soccer.

Senior soccer players were honored this week as their final collegiate season ended. Photos by Charlie Li.

Even though this realization is tough to swallow for most seniors, most players can look back on their careers at Whitman and smile. Senior women’s soccer player Jaclyn Rudd did not take for granted her opportunity to play soccer in college.

“Coming into college I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play. It’s been great that I did get the opportunity to play. Being a senior, you really realize it goes by quick,” said Rudd.

The most memorable moments of being an athlete come not just from times on the field, but from times off the field as well. Rudd reminisced on one of these moments by recalling a dance that the rest of her team is working on.

“Some of my teammates are doing a ‘Gangnam Style’ video. So we’ve been doing the dance everywhere we go, and everyone on the team is going to have to do it,” said Rudd.

Seniors also have the privilege of recollecting earlier years and considering how far their programs have come during their careers. Senior men’s soccer player Dhavan Vengadasalam remembers back when he was a first-year and the program was rebuilding.

“When I came in as a freshman we were a rebuilding program. The next year we took second place, and we’ve had very good results since then,” said Vengadasalam.

Vengadasalam also acknowledged the type of leadership role that comes with the territory of becoming a senior.

“Players naturally step into roles. All of us seniors were starters this year, and it’s really evident on the field that when we’re in trouble or when we’re in times when we need leadership, it’s definitely nice to have an older group to look to,” said Vengadasalam.

Like many college coaches, Cato had the opportunity to play soccer in college at the University of Arkansas, where she was a four-year starter. Her ability to think back to her senior days allows her to empathize with the emotions that were running through her seniors this past Sunday.

“When you’re a freshman in college you don’t realize how fast it goes, so when you’re a senior it all kind of hits that your senior game is the last time you’re going to be able to put this uniform on,” said Cato.

Cato also had high praise for this group of seniors in that they assumed a role where the bar was set particularly high by last year’s seniors.

“This is a great group of seniors; I think they had some big shoes to fill from last year, and I think they stepped into them and took charge. It has been evident throughout the season. They’re the senior class and they’re the leaders of this team,” said Cato.

While some seniors will continue to play competitive soccer through various professional teams, the majority of seniors’ competitive playing days are over. For all seniors, however, their playing days at Whitman will be remembered and cherished for the rest of their lives.

The graduating seniors of the women’s soccer team are Kelsey Houghton, Jaclyn Rudd, Misha Evertz, Julianne Masser, Erin Flannery and Marisa Poorboy. The men are graduating Michael Bathurst, Leland Matthaeus, Jed Jacobson, Dhavan Vengadasalam and Andrew Clark.

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