Menard scoring goals in bunches, women's soccer team
RELEASED: Oct. 6, 2005
DANVILLE, KYWith a record of 7-2, the young and exciting Centre College women's soccer team is off to a great start this season, its second under the direction of head coach Jay Hoffman.
It may be a bit of an understatement to call this a young team. A staggering 18 freshman are on the roster, many of them already assuming key roles. The starting lineup has featured as many as seven freshmen.
Much of the excitement about the team centers on the play of freshman forward Erin Menard of LaGrange, Ky., who has been scoring goals at a phenomenal clip.
In her first nine matches, she has scored 19 goals to go with three assists, and was named Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Player of the Week after her second match. In a tough 2-1 loss to Transylvania under the lights Saturday night, she scored Centre's only goal with a second-half header.
"I think the best part about Erin is her love for the game," says Hoffman. "Not only can one see that she is a competitor and loves to win, but one can also see that she is having fun doing it.
"Although Erin has had great success so far this year, I believe some of her success can be attributed to the leadership and the strength of the upperclassmen," says Hoffman. "Players like Ellen Wisner and Stephanie Ahlstrom have committed to making their senior year not only the best it can be but also making sure the freshmen realize just how important the program is."
Menard says she's not accustomed to scoring as many goals as she has at Centre (she had 16 goals in her highest-scoring high school season), but credits her prolific scoring to playing with "so many talented teammates," all of whom contribute to setting her up for goal opportunities.
At 6'1", Menard is often the tallest player on the field, so her height advantage enables her to score many goals in the air. The team strategy, she says, can often be summed up as "put the ball on Erin's head."
Menard, whose soccer career began at the age of four, played on the Oldham County varsity team all four years, and has played on the Oldham County Thoroughbreds club team since the age of 11. For the past two years, she has played on Javanon, another club based in Louisville.
"Erin is such an outstanding student athlete who encompasses everything Centre is built on," says Hoffman. "Her work ethicboth on and off the fieldmake her such an amazing individual for Centre. I think the neatest part about Erin is that she is determined not only to be the best soccer player but also the best student. By creating her own major in art, Erin will be able to showcase her talents and pursue her dreams in graphic design."
Menard says she chose Centre over a number of other schools, both large and small, because of its size, academics and atmosphere. She says she definitely didn't want a Division One program because she "wanted a life outside of soccer."
Hoffman, for one, is glad Menard made the choice she made. "Every coach dreams about having a player like Erin. I'm thankful every day that she chose Centre and believed in the direction of the Centre College women's soccer program."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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