Oct. 7, 2009
By Amy Stuhldreher
Senior Kelsey Lysander has helped the Notre Dame women's soccer team to victory since her recruitment to Notre Dame and has truly grown as a goalkeeper since her arrival on campus. However, Lysander first became a keeper solely by default.
"I was tall and didn't mind getting put in the net, so it just kind of stuck," Lysander says.
In the 2008-09 season, she became the starting keeper for the women's soccer team. Other than chance, Lysander has been inspired by those around her to play soccer and excel as a keeper. Her father played professional soccer and helped to encourage Lysander in the mental aspects of the sport. The San Diego, Calif., native also recognizes every soccer coach she has had as an inspiration since they have each taught her something new about the game.
Along with her coaches and father as inspirations, going to school at Notre Dame has attributed to her mentality on the field.
"There's definitely a dedication aspect that you get from going to a university like this along with the desire to excel and achieve anything and everything possible," Lysander says.
As she has become more experienced in the net, Lysander has grown into an all-around keeper. According to her, the definition of an all-around keeper is being able to not only stop shots and make saves but direct the players and monitor the field from the back. Being an all-around keeper is being a vocal presence on the field.
In order to maintain her composure and be able to act as this directing presence, Lysander had to learn how to control her nerves in the net and keep herself focused.
"When you're nervous, you just have to have belief in all of the hard work that you put in and belief in your teammates," Lysander says.
For instance, when preparing for penalty kicks or shootouts, Lysander holds the mentality that she must remain relaxed and have faith in her own abilities. This mindset has helped Lysander to make her best technical save in the semifinals against Stanford on a 1-v-1 play, and her personal favorite save during this current season against Wisconsin when an opposing player attempted to trip her in the box.
While Lysander works hard and excels as a goalkeeper on the soccer field, she pursues political science and history in the classroom. Though she was originally a pre-med major looking to study dentistry, Lysander changed her major after taking a political science course at Notre Dame. Lysander is considering teaching high school history as a career. She does acknowledge that playing soccer professionally could be an option for her upon graduating Notre Dame, but that decision would depend on the circumstances at the time and the opportunities presented to her.
Even though she might not play professionally, Lysander enjoys following professional soccer. She supports Manchester United, specifically Christiano Ronaldo, in the English Premier League. In America, though, she is hoping that soccer will continue to grow and become more popular. Lysander can already see this growth, citing the U.S. national team's performance in the FIFA Confederations Cup this past summer and their second-place finish to Brazil, one of the top soccer teams in the world.
Lysander has made her mark on the soccer field in the past four years under the shadow of the Golden Dome. This summer though the 2010 World Cup will happen, beginning right after her graduation, and Lysander will hopefully be cheering on the United States as a fan with the same passion that she has a player.