Matea Knispel does many things on campus. Among them are dancing as a part of Undignified, singing with Joyful Noise, as well as being a full-time student. But she’s been doing something else for 13 years: playing soccer.
And just a few weeks ago, when the Women’s soccer team matched up against Saint Francis of Illinois, she was able to rely on those 13 years of experience to get her first collegiate het trick. Knispel scored the first goal of the match in the 34th minute, and coach Amanda Burge’s ladies ran back to line up again for the kickoff. On the field and in the stands, the Foresters were clearly in command of the ball. From the backline to the front, the Foresters maintained possession of the ball. Paige Coolman kept her cool anytime the ball broke through the defense. Underclassmen and upperclassmen worked together, keeping the energy up and focussing on a quick 90 minutes.
But then, at the 65:52 mark, USF’s Olivia De La Rosa received the ball from teammate Casey Harris inside of the box and netted the tying goal after about 10 seconds of scrambling at the goal. Then, almost 2 minutes later, the exact same combo gave De La Rosa her second goal of the day and the lead at King Stadium.
“When we were down, I was really struggling with keeping a positive attitude and not blaming myself, but the team kept their heads in it and encouraged me in the way everyone continued to work super hard,” Knispel said.
It was in the 74th minute that she netted the tying goal, calming everyone’s nerves on and off the field. With the ball in the box shortly after, she turned the ball to her left foot and placed the ball away from the keeper and scored the go-ahead goal that gave the Lady Foresters the win.
When asked about what the game showed of her players, Coach Burge said, “This afternoon was a great test of our players’ mental toughness. Coming from behind is never easy, especially in a game when emotions were so up and down because of the lead changes.”
Knispel says that their efforts as a team in their comeback win reveal a much deeper bond in Christ that allows them to lift each other up, unlike many other teams that may turn to profanity and anger.
On the field, Knispel leads the squad in goals, total shots, and shots on goal. But where many would look to improve skills on the field, she is also focussing on making others better on and off the field.
“Our focus is always on servant leadership, so I’d say my personal focus is stretching myself to reach out to others in different ways.”
The Foresters are now 4-4-1 on the season and will play the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) on Tuesday, October 3.