November 15, 2012
As the 2012 fall season comes to a close, every fall sports team must face the inevitable departure of their seniors. Not only does it create a difficult on-the-field situation, but graduating seniors leave irreplaceable voids as team leaders. For their teammates and coaches, the accomplishments of the seniors on the stat sheet helped earn wins for the Hopkins athletic program, but it is their leadership in the locker room and friendships with their teammates that will be missed most. For this issue, we shifted our column over to the seniors and their coaches to talk about their time at Hopkins and how athletics has impacted them the past four years. From the time they arrived at Homewood in 2009, a lot has changed for these student-athletes. Senior Amelia Thomas of the women’s volleyball team talked about the transition in roles from being an underclassman to becoming a leader of the team. “Since I arrived as a freshman my game has changed immensely,” Thomas said. “Not only am I playing at a much higher level of the game than I expected, I also am in a new position. Myself and the other seniors also took the reins of the future of the team after our coach from freshman year was not coming back. We worked as hard as we could to be the foundation for a new team.” Maggie Phillips, a senior captain for the field hockey team, shared her reflections. “Over my four years as a player, I learned a lot and developed into being a versatile player,” Phillips said. “The position you played on the field didn’t have to be your favorite or ‘most comfortable’ position; your role as a player was to play in the position that helped the most with the team’s success. As seniors, our underclassmen respected our roles as teammates and team leaders. Our senior class has remained a close unit throughout our four years here at JHU, which is one of the reasons we worked very well together as team leaders in our last year.” In maturing from young freshmen to team leaders, the seniors also developed close relationships with their teammates and coaches. Anne Monagle of the women’s cross country team discussed the closeness between her teammates. “The bond between teammates is one that is really unique. I would do anything for my teammates, and they would do anything for me,” Monagle said. “The people who I run with are some of my closest friends, and they have changed me for the better. I think that is what I will miss the most — that feeling you get post workout knowing that you and the girl next to you gave it everything you had.” Thomas mentioned not only her teammates, but also the entire athletic department. “I am so thankful for the relationships that I have developed with my teammates and others throughout the entire athletic department,” she said. “It’s a great environment of respect and camaraderie that I will truly miss. Again, not only with my teammates (who will always remain very close to me) but also others that you see every day, like Rev the security guard, and all of the facilities operators.” Every senior praised the role of their coaches in their development as not only athletes, but also individuals. Monagle talked about the importance of head coach Bobby Van Allen in her growth as a player. “Coach Van Allen has taught me the importance of goal setting. He's always emphasizing the need to set high standards for both the individual and the team, and then will help train you to reach those goals,” Monagle said. “The training can be often grueling but with that goal in the back of your mind, you're willing to handle it. He's taught me to be confident in myself when I step to the line and to let my love of running fuel the race. These are lessons I will absolutely take with me when I leave Hopkins — knowing I am capable of hitting a high standard and refusing to back down when things are tough.” In addition to the knowledge of on-the-field play imparted by their coaches, senior captain Brandon Sumpio of the men’s soccer team was quick to point out the impact head coach Craig Appleby had in his growth off the field as well. “The soccer program, like many of the athletic teams at Hopkins, serves a dual mandate. First, to develop their players athletic ability, but more importantly to establish those individuals as role models off the field,” Sumpio said. “Our Coach Appleby understands that during our four years at Homewood, he's job is also to prepare us for life after college and beyond. He believes that every one of our actions in life either underlines or erases what we say. And this message has really stuck and resonated in our program.” Over the course of four years, countless memories are created in a college environment. But oftentimes, it’s the memories with the team that stand out most. “Looking back at my time at Hopkins I can honestly say it would not have been as memorable of an experience without the athletic program,” Lumpio said. “After four years at Hopkins there are only a handful of nights out that I will remember, but if you ask any athlete here, they'll be able to tell you about every game and road trip. That’s because those game winning goals are made more special because of the individuals around you that you were able to celebrate them with.” For Phillips, she was able to pinpoint a specific game that stood out to her. “One of my favorite memories this season was beating Ursinus 3-1. The last time Hopkins beat them was back in 2003 during conference play. Many of our field hockey alumni came to watch the game, so it was an exciting win for both past players and the current team.” Over the course of their four years on campus for the seniors, the coaches have been a consistent presence, guiding when needed while also letting the players lead when appropriate. Head coach Matt Troy of the women’s volleyball team has built a powerhouse volleyball program since taking the reins in 2010. However, he credits much of the program’s success to his seniors. “I think the Seniors impact really started three years ago when they helped set the tone with where they wanted this program to go on and off the court,” Troy said. “They have demonstrated to the younger players what it means to play for Hopkins and the pride that they feel being a part of the program.” After the team’s loss to Richard Stockton in the first round of this year’s NCAA Tournament, bringing an end to the careers of these seniors, coach Troy shared his gratitude for the seniors. “During our post game meeting I thanked the seniors for all their hard work and dedication in helping take this program to its current level. Without their leadership I'm not sure if we would have gelled as quickly as we did last year to start this great run.” Head coach Leo Weil of the women’s soccer team mentioned the impact his seniors had on this current season. “Obviously, the seniors have had the most at stake this year, since it`s their last season,” Weil said. “One of our recurring themes was to make it a memorable season for the seniors. We`ve had our ups and downs, and a ton of injuries, but the team, under the leadership of the seniors, has never given up or gotten too down, and have turned the season into a memorable one.” He also noted how seniors Taylor Schulte and Meredith Maguire have become key contributors for the team. “[A]s a sophomore keeper, [Meredith] shared time with a junior,” Weild said. “She stepped in when we got to penalty kicks at Dickinson against Haverford in the Conference Tournament, and made some great saves. She also played extremely well in the final the next day, and the job was hers for the NCAA Tournament.” He went on to explain Taylor’s progression during her time on the team. “Taylor, who had always been a defender, was put into a new position as a holding midfielder her sophomore year, so we could get her on the field. I don`t think she was ever completely comfortable there, but did great,” he said. “Then as a junior, she was able to move back to where she was more comfortable. I think having to play out of her comfort zone as a sophomore helped her ‘grow up.’” For the seniors of the men’s water polo team, head coach Ted Bresnahan could not have been more proud of tri-captains Ross Schofield, Alex Whittam and Kielan Crow, and utility man Mike McCreery. “This is the best team we have ever had at Hopkins. What comes from this is every minor task needs the same intensity as every major task and with that failure will be ignored,” Bresnahan said. “The seniors grew up their freshman year when all three had major playing time and advanced to the semi-final in the longest game in Eastern Championship history against Fordham Univ. When we won in a third sudden death period.” With just a week or two to go before the fall season is officially over then, The News-Letter would like to offer congratulations to the fall sports seniors for a memorable four years on the field.