Half of the starting lineup for the women’s soccer team this season are freshmen. At last week’s game against CSU Dominguez Hills, two of those freshmen, Sami Swanson and Jennifer Ballez, scored the first goals of the season to win the game, 2-0. The Point sat down with Sami Swanson to discuss her goals, adjustment to college, and camaraderie with the team.
How exciting was your first career goal in college? What was it like?
Swanson: It was crazy! I’ve never scored anything like that. I was never the goal scorer in club, but being on a team where everyone wants to set you up for a goal, and everyone being so selfless, it was awesome—basically everything went in slow motion.
How does the overall chemistry of this team compare to your team in high school?
Swanson: It’s black and white. When I came and first visited, I didn’t know anybody’s grade levels or anything, but everyone’s so friendly, and they really wanted to know about me as a person before they knew me as a player. It’s crazy because it’s only been a month and three weeks or so since I’ve been on the team, and so far Natalie Swift has been absolutely incredible. Just being around them has already changed me as a person on and off the field. My coach was saying how it’s been a different chemistry every year, but being on this team is the most unique thing I’ve experienced—I feel like I’ve gained 23 sisters. I feel that’s part of our drive, as with success in practice and games so far.
How did this goal compare to others in the past? Are you usually known for headers or boots?
Swanson: I’ve never scored a header before; that’s why it felt like slow motion in the moment. If I ever scored a goal, it was me shooting it. But afterwards I felt like it was a team goal. That’s why right after I scored I yelled that we did it!
Could you describe the play? Was it written up?
Swanson: Basically, Dottie [Rhoten] beat the defender as I was coming around the back post and then made a run to the near post [of the goal]. Then after I screamed her name, she played a perfect ball in. It couldn’t have been placed any better. After I headed it, I couldn’t believe it went in, but she did all the work by putting it in the right place.
Taking a step back, how has the adjustment been so far from high school to college?
Swanson: Definitely a lot more responsibility. There’s a lot more room to give into temptations—the cafeteria with all of its desserts especially. But I think having a bunch of girls who have been here [at PLNU] for a while on the team, raising me here in San Diego, has made me feel like this place is home already for me. That was pretty much like the first week of training camp. They have been guiding me and teaching me. It’s basically like a dream: go to school and play soccer.
What are your personal goals for the 2014-2015 season?
Swanson: The team goal is to beat APU for sure. For personal goals, I just want to score and get a lot of assists this season, but overall beat APU, grow as a team and win the conference.