Hard work pays off

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 21:32
Wolves standout to play D-III
Eagle River goalie Kelsey Reeves makes a save during a game against Chugiak in 2011. Reeves, who recently graduated from ERHS, will play collegiate soccer at NCAA Division III St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn.

Kelsey Reeves’ goalkeeper training didn’t end when Eagle River High was eliminated from the girls Cook Inlet Conference soccer tournament. It’s only just begun.

Reeves, a recent Eagle River graduate, is spending her summer preparing for the next level. Reeves is playing next season for The College of St. Scholastica, an NCAA Division III program in Duluth, Minn.

“I’m really excited about it,” Reeves said. “It’s a great program.”

Last year, the Saints finished undefeated in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) at 11-0-1 and 16-4-1 overall en route to their eighth UMAC title and fourth NCAA Tournament appearance.

Reeves won’t be training alone.

She’s working with Eagle River head coach Lauren Mason, who played keeper for Purdue University’s DI soccer team. First team All-Conference keeper Samantha Zombro of Service will also be joining Mason and Reeves.

There’s no better coach than Mason to prepare her for college, Reeves said.

“She’s been through it,” Reeves said. “So she knows you need to be pushed sometimes to get through it.”

Mason couldn’t agree more. Rookies have no concept of what to expect from the preseason until they report for camp, she said.

“As a freshman, you can never be fit enough,” Mason said.

Reeves knows her workouts with Mason will be anything but light.

“She’ll definitely kick out butts,” Reeves said.

Reeves had an offer to play for North Carolina’s Elon University, a DI program, but she chose St. Scholastica because of its medical program. Ultimately, Reeves said she wants to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Mason said Reeves should have no problem transitioning to the collegiate level.

“Kelsey is deceptively quick as far as getting to the ground,” she said. “She typically makes pretty good decisions.”

But, Mason said, Reeves’ attitude is her best attribute.

“She works tremendously hard,” Mason said. “There are a lot of opportunities for kids who work as hard as Kelsey does.”

Reeves started playing keeper at age 8 when no one else was brave enough to volunteer to have soccer balls launched at them.

“I was always the one stepping up to say, ‘Yeah. I’ll play in net,’” she said.

By age 11, Reeves knew goalie was her position.

“You’re more involved as a keeper because you’re talking to your team,” she said.

And nothing compares to making a near impossible diving save, Reeves said.

“I like the rush it gives you,” she said. “You make that one save, and you’re on top of the world.”

But, Reeves said, keepers have to refocus immediately.

“It’s an up and down position,” she said.

Playing keeper isn’t easy, Reeves said.

“It’s more than just throwing your hands out,” she said. “There’s a lot more coordination to it than you might think.”

What makes Reeves’ accomplishment more impressive is that she’s at least 5 inches shorter than most collegiate goalies, Mason said.

“Kelsey is not the prototypical goalkeeper,” she said.

But her stature has only pushed Reeves harder, Mason said.

“Kelsey always knew that she was going to have to outwork everyone,” she said. “What she lacks in that area she makes up for in being consistent in her decision making. She just makes sure technically she’s doing the right things to minimize any disadvantages that her height might give her.”

Reeves knows she has to be ready if she wants to earn the starting keeper position when she reports for a two-week preseason camp Aug. 16.

“You really have to go in prepared,” she said. “It’s your spot to lose or your spot to win.”

And Reeves has no intention of losing.


Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727.

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