GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior Cat Barnekow is one of four seniors on the UNCG women's soccer team. Leading up to Senior Day against Davidson (Oct. 12), UNCGSpartans.com will feature a new senior every home game until then.
Coming from California, what interested you in transferring from a junior college to UNCG? What really interested me in transferring from a junior college to UNCG was the level of competition, the level of dedication in players and the opportunity to experience the different culture on the east coast. I've always wanted to play against teams like Stanford, and Chapel Hill so it's one dream I've accomplished. The players I've been fortunate to play with during my four years have made me into a tougher and better person and player. As for the east coast culture it's been interesting…
After suffering a season-ending injury in 2011, How did you motivate yourself to come back strong? Was this the first time you have been seriously injured? A strong motivator to come back strong was the desire to come back and still be an impact player on the team. I also wanted to be a danger against any team we played against, whether versus a conference or non-conference team. That wasn't the first time I've been seriously injured so I had confidence that would come back strong and ready to play. Thankfully though, when I was struggling and needed to be pushed more, I had unwavering support and help from Erica, Wheel, Will, Steve and the team.
What has been your favorite college soccer memory since being a part of the team? My favorite college soccer memory was the recent game against Appalachian state. The amount of energy and support that the girls created on the sideline was impressive. While the girls on the field who fought and earned three goals when we were down by two. The combination of the two to produce such a great win is unforgettable.
This season you have played forward and some on defense, which position excites you more and why? I feel most comfortable in defense since it's the position that I've played the majority of my soccer career at and was originally recruited for. However, the fact that your mistakes in the backline can easily be capitalized on by the opponent makes me more excited to play forward. It's exciting when you have more room to take chances and take on people when you don't have fear that a mistake will cost your team a goal.
You have great awareness on the field, what makes you such a great passer? How did you improve this skill? Ever since club ball, I have the tendency to hold onto the ball for too long so it's been a hard transition into becoming a better passer. I've really had to be conscious of reminding myself to pass the ball instead of traveling with it. My coaches have to continue to remind me to pass and move so that I can be a more dangerous player.
What advice would you give to aspiring women's college soccer players? To be proactive in what you want to achieve. At this level you need to want it for yourself and not depend on others to motivate you. If you want to be a better technique or better fitness you have to take the initiative to improve not expect your coaches to tell you.
If you could start your college career over again what would you change and why? I wouldn't change anything. Even though there have been ups and downs, tough wins and tougher losses, I'm proud of what I and this team has become through our experiences and our accomplishments during my time at UNCG.
What are your career aspirations after college? As of now I'm not sure what I would want to do for a career. I enjoy the idea of attending graduate school to pursue a career in athletic training, but am unsure if it is something I'm that passionate about. These upcoming years after college, although hopefully very few, will consist of finding what I am passionate about and then heading full steam ahead to achieve success.
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