Rawlings Leading the Way
Co-Captain Helps Cavaliers to Another Successful Season
Jennifer Rawlings has set standards on and off the playing field. (file photo)
Jennifer Rawlings' career thus far at Virginia can be summed up in one word ... superb. One of the co-captains on this year's team, Rawlings has set standards on and off the playing field that are virtually immeasurable. Her attitude and commitment for the game have certainly been a key to the team's success.
"One of my roles is to be a consistent player - someone people can to look up to because of my hard work," says Rawlings. For everyone who has watched her play, it is easy to see that she is a playmaker. More often than not, when Virginia scores a goal or has a turning point in a game, Rawlings seems to have a part in it. All of the hard work and success that she has experienced with soccer hasn't made her an arrogant player, it has made her a very confident one. "Every game is important to me, as a player and for the team," says Rawlings. "I give 100 percent. I love to win, and I love to play. I think that is one of the qualities I bring to this team."
Rawlings knows that one player alone cannot carry a team. This season, Virginia fields a very balanced and versatile squad which works together and has blossomed into another strong team. "This is definitely one of the deepest teams I've been on," says Rawlings. "My first year on the team, we had a great incoming class. We had about nine first year players and we were one of the most talented classes coming in. Now, we are fourth year players. We have had great recruiting over the past couple years, including another very talented class of first year players this season. The blend we have with our experienced returning players, combined with the talent of the first year players gives us a great mixture of team chemistry."
The team's overall record of 13-2-2 on the season shows just how important the team chemistry has been. "Our confidence level is very high," says Rawlings. "We had a tough loss at Clemson a week ago, but we were able to rebound from that against Maryland. Now we have one regular season game left against a very good North Carolina team, and each game after that becomes even more important. From here on out we have to put everything together."
Rawlings has truly been an asset to the team. She has collected 15 goals and 23 assists in her career so far, including five game winning goals and seven game-winning assists. The decision to make the University of Virginia her college choice has left smiles on many faces, including her own. "I wanted to play soccer somewhere in the ACC, somewhere that had great academics," says Rawlings. "When I first came to Virginia, I fell in love with the tradition, and everything that UVa had to offer. I felt very comfortable with my team and all my teammates." Looking back at all of the games she has played in, and all of the memorable moments she has experienced, it is tough for her to chose just one that ranks up at the top. "I have had so many memorable moments at Virginia, I can't really think of one that just stands out," says Rawlings. "One moment that does come to mind from this season is our win against Portland. That victory came at point in the season where we needed a big win. It put us near the top of the national rankings and gave us a lot of confidence. We were beginning to gel as a team prior to that game, but to add a win like that was extremely important for us. It was a great win for our team because it was a total team effort."
For those who have watched Rawlings play over the past four years, it is easy to see how she has developed into such a well-rounded, overall player. When asked about how she would like to be remember after her career is through, her response is just plain and simple. "I would like to be remembered as a hard worker. Someone who had a lot of heart. I think that is something that describes me well."
By Adam Jones