Senior soccer success stories

Last weekend, the men’s and women’s soccer teams had their annual senior night, a game and day devoted to honoring the seniors and all that they have done through their athletic career for their programs. This article features five seniors who were asked a variety of questions ranging from simple ones, like how many years they have played, to more complex, like final thoughts or advice to current athletes. Here are their responses:

Sam Parkhurst

I played for all four years at Lawrence and I came here with the intention of playing. I’m sad that I never made it to the conference tournament, but I’m glad that the program has a strong foundation for the coming years and look forward to what the team will accomplish.

Senior Sam Parkhurst chases down the ball.
Photo by Sebastian Evans.

My favorite memory is either scoring a goal during my freshman year or beating Illinois College in overtime this year. My freshman year, I was the only freshman on the team and there were a lot of seniors, so it was like I had a ton of older brothers that were really excited for me. Beating Illinois College this year is special because it was our first conference game and we’d been so close to beating them the last three years, but got unlucky every time. 

I really enjoyed my time playing soccer and putting in the time every year. I’d like to thank my teammates for always pushing me to get better.

Barbara Espinosa

I played for four years, and I did not plan to play soccer at LU. The current coach contacted me during the summer and asked me if I was interested and I said yes. I didn’t really have any soccer objectives going in, but I was able to become a starter; play forward, midfield and defense; I scored and assisted; and I learned so much about soccer. I am very satisfied with my soccer experience. I am going to miss it so much. 

My favorite memory is when I went to Björklunden my senior season. We went on multiple runs with the team, had practice at a local park, volunteered with children, swam in Lake Michigan and got to know each other. It was my favorite because we spent a lot of time together and it felt like people were so eager and excited to be there and meet others. This has special meaning for me because it was the last time I went to Björk with my teammates. 

I want to be remembered as someone who was always positive and willing to put the team in front. 

I want to say thank you to my coaches, Joe, Trey and Hope, for taking a chance on our team and to my teammates for being so amazing. 

Dani Dixon

I played soccer all four years. I had no intention of playing a collegiate sport. During Welcome Week freshman year I saw a sign in my dorm advertising open tryouts for the women’s soccer team and decided to go. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to play college soccer here. My goal in my upperclassman years was for our record to improve, and in this past season we won more games than we have won in the past three years! I look forward to seeing the program’s continued growth.

My favorite memory was winning against Illinois College in overtime this year. This was the first conference win that anyone on the team had experienced. Illinois College had expected to come in and crush us and they were very distraught about the outcome. To me, this game marked the turning point for this program. 

While I would have never guessed going into college that I would get to play collegiate soccer, it’s something that I can’t imagine my college experience without. I cannot thank enough my incredible teammates for pushing me and themselves to have created this success for the season. We could have chosen to be content with where the program was, but instead we pushed our limits to points we didn’t even know we could go. I would also like to thank the amazing coaching staff. Specifically, I’d like to thank Head Coach Joe Sagar for convincing me to rejoin after I had quit after my sophomore season. Had I not rejoined, I would have looked at my college soccer experience in distaste. However, the past two years have been extremely rewarding and I am happy to say that I was a part of this program’s turning point and I am so excited to watch my teammates find even more success in the upcoming years.  

Hallie Sogin

I joined the soccer team my senior year, so I have only played for one season. Although I was recruited to play soccer while I was touring schools in high school, I didn’t want to play soccer in college because I hadn’t played in about a year. However, I have been on the track team since freshman year and after talking with a teammate who is on both teams, I decided to join soccer my senior year. I decided to play because I thought it would be fun to return to a sport that I really do enjoy. I forgot how much I liked playing soccer and practicing with the team last spring made me realize just how much I had missed it. I didn’t have any particular goals going into the season except to have fun, which I definitely did! 

I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people on the team; I’m definitely going to miss the team after I graduate.  

Thanks to Brynn for convincing me to join after more than a year of talking to me about it and thanks to Coach Joe for letting me play on the team!

Andrea Arivella

I played for three years. When I got to college I didn’t think of [playing soccer] at first because of tennis, but then the passion for it overtook me and I wanted to play. I started playing when I was three, so I thought I could have been a good addition to the team going forward. My competitive career ended, but that does not mean that I’ll stop playing. Soccer has been, is and will be part of my life, and in the future and I will definitely join some leagues. I am happy with what I accomplished. The team had a couple of rough years, but my senior year we completely turned the program around and I was really happy to be part [of this change] and one of the captains of the program’s reconstruction. 

I would like to be remembered as a fiery and competitive guy, but only when cleats are on. Off the field however, I would like to be remembered as someone that is willing to help others and has given advice about soccer, Lawrence athletics and school in general. 

I would like to thank my teammates — the ones that graduated, the ones that will graduate with me and the ones that will graduate after me — for trusting me in being their captain and leading them for two years. I would also like to thank Coach Greer for giving the opportunity of joining the team in the spring of freshman year to give me a chance of being a LU soccer Viking.