Women’s Soccer Starts Season Strong Thanks to Gritty Goalkeeping

Over the first block break, while many Colorado College students experienced either rain or snow in Aspen, Colo., the women’s soccer team got to soak up the sun in New Mexico and California while playing against two of the Mountain West division’s best teams. They first played University of New Mexico, whom they beat 1-0, and then San Diego State University, whom they lost to 0-1.

Though they lost their second game, it was an even matchup throughout, so the team is motivated to beat them in the future. “We have always struggled against San Diego State,” said junior defender Sophie Lapointe, “but now we know that we can beat them because it was so close.”

Lapointe added that the player whose performance most impressed her during these two games was that of junior goalie Lousia Mackenzie. It was Mackenzie’s first time playing in goal this season, and these were the first conference games, so they held a deeper significance for the CC goalkeeper. “It was special to be started in the first two conference games,” Mackenzie said. “When the coaches told me I didn’t want to act too excited but I was pretty excited.”

Mackenzie played goalie growing up, but not intensely. Before high school, her main sports were basketball and tennis, but she committed herself to soccer in high school. However, it wasn’t until playing on CC’s team that she really got into it. “I came in expecting to not even play more than one year on the team,” Mackenzie said. “But then I worked my way up freshman year and said to myself, ‘why not?’”

Chanisse Hendrix  ‘17, plays heavy defense against one of NAUs players. Photo by Aaron Cronin
Chanisse Hendrix ‘17, plays heavy defense against one of NAUs players. Photo by Aaron Cronin

Mackenzie started out as the third-string goalie her first year and got minimal playing time. She worked hard and earned second string sophomore year. When the first-string goalie tore her ACL, Mackenzie played every game. This year, though, there was some competition for first goalie position. “There was a freshman goalie coming in this year who was really good so it was exciting to work my way up again,” she said. “I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone last year, so it was really satisfying to feel like I did that.”

Mackenzie especially had fun in their game against UNM. “I’m from Albuquerque and it was my first game this year, so there were definitely nerves but I was mostly just excited,” she said. She experienced some taunting from the UNM fans but recalled it as her favorite memory from the block break. “They were trying to have me mess up my goal kicks and at one point they screamed something at me and I turned around and smiled, which made them laugh.”

Though neither of the two games were extremely action-packed, Mackenzie’s role as a goalie goes way beyond making saves. “70 percent of my job is communicating, keeping people together, and making sure the back line is tight so I don’t touch the ball,” she said. “The back line does an incredible job which makes my role a lot easier.”

But Mackenzie often feels the pressure of being in the goal. “You are expected to come up big and make big saves,” she said, “And if you don’t, you feel like you’ve let everyone down.” To Mackenzie, that is both the best and worst part about being goalie: you can either save the game, or make a mistake that leaves you crying for days. “It’s an adrenaline rush. High risk, high reward.”

Mackenzie’s goals for this year include being the best goalkeeper in the conference. “Last year I was fourth in the conference in terms of goals-per-game ratio,” she said. “With our back line and my newfound confidence and excitement I think I can do that.”

Samantha Gilbert

Samantha Gilbert

Samantha is a senior film and media major, feminist and gender studies minor and also a sprinter on CCs track and field team. She fell in love with journalism in highschool and worked as the editor in chief of her high school paper, then wrote for the sports section for 3 years before becoming sports editor this year. In her free time, Samantha loves cooking, creating and connecting. Traveling the world, working on a documentary crew, and constantly striving for holistic health and wellness are things that motivate her everyday. She is inspired by the power of written words, and is currently very curious about the political sports world, as today sports are a platform for political activism more so than ever before.
Samantha Gilbert

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