GVSU soccer freshman Cecilia Steinwascher already making headlines
Joining a program that carries as much prestige as Grand Valley State women’s soccer can bring a lot of pressure. After all, the team has won 12 straight GLIAC championships and has been to four consecutive national championship games.
However, freshman Cecilia Steinwascher sees things differently.
The freshman center back is excelling in her role on the team early in the season. For Steinwascher, the allure of joining an elite program like the Lakers' was too much to pass up on.
“I wanted to be a part of a successful program, not just an average one,” said Steinwascher, a native from Sterling Heights, Michigan. “I didn’t care about (Division) I or (Division) II.”
Steinwascher had the opportunity to play soccer at several NCAA Division I schools. Her top four ultimately came down to GVSU, Western Michigan, the University of Dayton and Butler. Steinwascher said academics also played a huge role in her decision to become a Laker.
“I want to be a physical therapist, so I’m going to go into exercise science,” Steinwascher said. “I chose to come to Grand Valley because they have a really good PT program.”
In terms of competitive nature, Steinwascher believes the Laker soccer program is a natural fit for her.
“I’m a competitive person," she said. "Being a part of something competitive is what I prefer.”
Steinwascher has been playing soccer for most of her life. Being a daughter of two soccer coaches, the sport is ingrained in her family.
The freshman defender has settled well into the GVSU team. She plays center back alongside senior Shannon Quinn, and the duo’s play has been key to a Laker team that has kept four straight shutouts.
GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler noted the great play of the defenders, as well as goalkeeper Jennifer Steinaway, after the team’s win against Ashland Friday, Sept. 16.
During that game, Steinwascher scored her first collegiate goal, curling in a corner kick over the Ashland goalkeeper. She credits her teammates with helping her, as well as the other first-year players, in getting ready for the travails of college soccer.
“They’re very helpful," she said. "We have so many new girls on the team this year, whether they’re transfers or freshmen. They’re really good role models to us as freshmen coming in. They help mentally prepare us for situations we need to be mentally prepared for."
Only six games in, Steinwascher has already been recognized for her great play. On Monday, Sept. 11, the freshman was named GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week for her role in a pair of shutouts against Cedarville and Minnesota State-Mankato. Even with the praise heaped on her by media and by her head coach, though, her focus hasn't yet diverted from improving every week.
“I guess it’s good knowing that (Hosler's) happy with the way we’re playing,” Steinwascher said. “Obviously, it’s still not good enough, but it’s good to know he trusts us back there.”
Steinwascher’s desire to improve is part of her ultimate goal to send the Laker senior class off in style. After they fell short in the national championship game in 2016, Steinwascher wants to help the seniors graduate with a final title run.
“My only goal is to help them and make sure they have one last great season and for me to play to my best ability to make that happen,” she said.
The Laker senior class already has a pair of national championships. Adding a third for them and a first for Steinwascher’s freshman class would be a great start.
“It would be great to list all of that,” she said. “The most important thing is doing everything I can to help the team to be as successful as they have been.”
Steinwascher and the rest of the Lakers will resume play with a conference opener against rival Saginaw Valley State Friday, Sept 22, at 7 p.m. in Allendale.