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Athlete of the Week Q & A: Kelsey Tierney

Each week, BRSN sits down for a Q & A session with the BRSN Athlete of the Week. This week, we caught up with Athlete of the Week junior Cornell Soccer goalkeeper Kelsey Tierney following her second shutout on Sunday in as many games, propelling the team to 3-0 and 2-0 victories over Cleveland State and Akron, respectively, for the Alumni Classic title.

BRSN: Hi Kelsey, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with BRSN and congratulations on your terrific weekend! Do you predict lots of weekends like this in the women’s soccer team’s future? KT: Thank you! We would love to have more weekends like this. We just have to keep working hard to earn them. There are tough opponents ahead, including the start of Ivy League games so we know that we need to continuously raise the level of play.

BRSN: This marks the first time in Cornell Women’s Soccer history that the Big Red hasn’t conceded a goal in the first four games of a season. What factors are making the team such a force right now? KT: I think there are two factors working in our favor so far. The first is the pressure our offense is putting on our opponents. They are keeping the ball in the offensive end for long stretches and maintaining possession. The second is the constant commitment from all 11 players on the field to keeping the ball out of the net. Defense starts with the offense and ends with the defenders and me. It’s entirely a team effort.

BRSN: You have earned a total 10 shutouts in your Cornell career and are tied for fifth on the program’s career list for clean sheets with Marybeth Bell (1995-96). How does that feel? KT: It is a great feeling to be mentioned alongside the great players of Cornell’s past. Like I mentioned before, defense is a team effort so this is a reflection on how well the team has been playing. Getting a clean sheet is as much of a reward to the defense as it is to the keeper, so we all should feel equally proud.

BRSN: When did you first start playing soccer? KT: I have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember. I believe my first season with the Garden City Centennials was when I was 4 years old. It has always been a big part of my life!

BRSN: Have you always been a goalie? KT: I actually started off as a forward since I liked being part of the action and scoring. I have always enjoyed playing on the field in the other sports I played as well. It wasn’t until about fourth grade when I realized that I liked being a goalkeeper and “protecting the net” too.

BRSN: Who has had the biggest influence on your soccer career? KT: There have been so many people along the way who have influenced me throughout my soccer career. My parents and brother, Kevin, have always been so supportive of me by coming to my games and tournaments. My Uncle Tommy played soccer at Lafayette and my great-grandfather played professionally in Scotland, so soccer has been in my family for a long time. I have a lot to thank my goalie trainer, Adam Janowski, for, since he has been there for me every step of the way and pushes me to become the best keeper I can be.

BRSN: What are the traits, physically and mentally, that a successful goalie needs to have? KT: Being a goalkeeper means that you need to be mentally tough and focused at all times. Whether the ball is down on the other end of the field or in your 18-yard box, you always have to be aware and ready to react to any changes in the game. Soccer can be a very unpredictable sport so the goalie is expected to keep composed throughout the match and provide guidance and communication to their back line. BRSN: If you didn’t play soccer, what sport would you play? KT: I’ve played many sports throughout middle school and high school such as lacrosse, volleyball, swimming, basketball and even badminton! Playing different sports has helped me a lot with soccer. Although I couldn’t imagine not having soccer in my life, if I didn’t play it I would most likely be playing volleyball or lacrosse. I eventually had to stop playing both of those sports because it was too much with soccer.

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