BY Asia McCray
Senior Staff Writer
Women’s soccer freshman goalkeeper Elyssa Kipperman and freshman forward Michelle Clarkin both earned Northeast Conference weekly awards. Kipperman was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week and Clarkin was named NEC Player of the Week after strong performances.
Kipperman saved nine balls in a win against Temple University on Sept. 1, and six others three days prior, against Holy Cross on Aug. 28.
Kipperman reflects on what this award means to her in her first collegiate season.
“I am so happy and humbled to have received this award,” said Kipperman. “It is probably one of the most exciting honors to receive at such an early part of my college career.”
According to head coach Matthew Micros, they work on specific techniques and drills that fully prepare them for games.
“We emphasize technique and sharpness on the ball for all players in the program. Specifically for Elyssa and our other goalkeepers, we have two coaches that work with them daily,” said Micros. “Paul DelloStritto and Andre Lindsay have been great additions to our staff. Paul works primarily with the keepers, while Andre works with both the keepers and field players.”
Kipperman added that the difference between playing high school soccer and college soccer is large.
According to Athletic Communications, Kipperman recorded a 0.45 goals against average (GGA) and .938 save percentage during the two games against Holy Cross and Temple. So far the newcomer has posted a 1.23 GAA and .848 save percentage this season.
On Sept. 1, the Pioneers recorded their first win of the season against Temple University, winning 3-1. Freshman forward Clarkin led the way, scoring two of the three goals for Sacred Heart in the victory. Now leading the team with four goals on the season, she reflects on what has led her to be confident on the field.
“During practice, our coaches anticipate potential plays that we might encounter and teach us to think fast under pressure. I try to visualize what a defender might want to do to stop me and I try to think on how I am going to get passed them and score or pass to someone who can also score,” said Clarkin.
Coach Micros reflects on the accomplishments of his incoming freshmen, as well as their team’s culture.
“Honestly, we emphasize a team first based on the attitude of all players. Elyssa and Michelle are good examples of that. I think both players would gladly trade any individual honor to help the team reach the conference playoffs,” said Micros. “We hope that all players continue to work hard and improve not just this season, but in the coming years as we try to continue to build a program the players want to follow and remain involved with long after their playing days are over.”
Clarkin expresses that she’s excited to be recognized. However, she’s still focused on working to grow with her fellow teammates.
“It is always an honor to be recognized for your talents and efforts. I was humbly flattered. However, I soon remembered that this success was a team effort, not only mine,” said Clarkin. “Receiving this acknowledgement motivates me to keep working hard along with my team and focus on one game at a time.”
According to Athletic Communications, the teams next game takes place on the road at Merrimack University on Sept. 14, marking the beginning of conference play.