A number of St. Luke’s alumni returned to the Hilltop over the last couple of weeks and we caught up with two of our former female athletes, Kit Hamill ‘16 and Sophia Lemmer ‘16, to talk about their experiences playing college soccer.
Hamill and Lemmer both captained the St. Luke’s Girls Varsity Soccer team and were an integral part of the success of the program at SLS, playing all four years, during their time in the Upper School.
The two have been life-long friends and played club soccer outside of St. Luke’s for a number of years too. When Hamill committed to Washington & Lee University in Virginia and Lemmer to Bowdoin College in Maine, it would be the first time in a very long time they wouldn’t compete together.
This wouldn’t stop the pair having outstanding seasons both personally and programmatically. Bowdoin would finish the season 9-6-1 losing narrowly 2-1 to Middlebury in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. Despite picking up a couple of injuries during the season, Lemmer played eleven games, starting ten, and scored two goals out of defense. W&L finished the season 15-4-1 and were crowned ODAC Champions beating Virginia Wesleyan 2-1 in the final game. The Generals progressed to the NCAA tournament but were defeated by Hardin-Simmons University, TX, in the first round.
We sat down with both Kit and Sophia and asked them all about the Freshman experience.
How was your preseason and how did it compare to St. Luke’s?
KH - The time commitment was pretty similar to SLS as every other day we had two practices. The biggest difference was that at W&L we only had one fitness test as we were expected to come to preseason already in great shape so we could focus on ball work and footwork.
SL - There are a lot of limitations in NESCAC so ours was very short. There was a lot less fitness as they expect you to be in shape. We do testing but then it was all soccer. We had 2 sprint tests and then we had a mile and half timed test. We had one preseason game and then started our season.
What was the highlight of your season?
SL - One of the highlights was beating Middlebury 1-0 during the regular season. I think that was probably our best performance of the season but, on a personal level, I was very proud to start a lot of games, especially in my prefered position, as one of the centre-backs.
KH - The highlight for me was winning the ODAC’s. It was the first time the team had won it in over 10 years so it was amazing.
What was your biggest challenge?
KH - I think my biggest challenge was getting used to the speed of play. This was probably the biggest difference from high school to college.
SL - I think the biggest challenge, for me, was getting used to a new team dynamic and coaching staff.
How do you think St. Luke’s prepared you for the season?
SL - St. Luke’s really helped me with the time management aspect during the season. The workload, on top of the commitment I had at St. Luke’s playing Varsity sports, made the adjustment to college a smooth transition.
KH - I think St. Luke’s helped prepare me technically for college soccer. It also taught me how to balance rigorous academics and sports, almost to the point that I found things easier at W&L compared to when I was at St. Luke’s
What have they given you in the offseason?
KH - We have just started our offseason packet and it consists of a lot of running and lifting! We also get to practice three times a week in March and we will play pickup until then.
SL - The coaches can’t be involved in the soccer aspect of things during the offseason so we are having a team practice and run each week. We will also have speed training twice a week and lifting three times a week starting in February.