EMU women's soccer goalie Leah Wenger (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) is the anchor to the Royals' best start in program history. The senior made four saves in a double overtime win at Southern Virginia, and then made five stops in the ODAC opener at Emory & Henry to push EMU to 7-1 with her second and third consecutive 1-0 shutouts.
Since then, she added a season high 13 saves in a 1-0 loss to powerful Virginia Wesleyan before making seven more in a key win at Randolph.
Leah finished last season with a passion and drive that she had never experienced before. With this level of determination, she found herself training regularly over the summer for this season.
“Leaving for the summer, I knew I would have to work hard if I wanted to come back where I left off last season,” she said. “I was in the gym twice a day, and training regularly with Kendal Bauman, my high school goalkeeper coach, who I have maintained a great relationship with. I was honing in on weaknesses I knew I had, so I could be confident in those settings going into the season.”
Leah now leads the ODAC with a .929 save percentage (which is sixth in the nation) and is tied atop the conference with seven shutouts. She has allowed just four goals in ten games, and is second in the ODAC with a 0.40 goals against average.
As a goalkeeper, Leah also explained that she would not have accomplished all she has without her defensive line.
“I really couldn’t do what I’m doing without my incredible wall of a defensive line. The shutouts belong to the defense, not just me,” Leah explained.
Coach Ted Erickson says, “Leah has grown so much as a goalkeeper while here. The biggest strength Leah has is in her positive relationships with teammates. She has never been negative towards any of her teammates and has always respected them as individuals.”
In her four years as a collegiate athlete, Leah has rediscovered her love of the game.
“There were so many times I’ve wanted to quit,” she explained, “but I’ve always had an unexplainable drive, passion, force to come back the next day, and be better than I was the day before. I’ve found that when you let go of what other people think about you, and focus instead on how you think about you, and how much you love the game, things dramatically shift.”
Coach Ted Erickson adds, “The commitment she has shown to soccer during her four years is the biggest reason she is currently ranked among national leaders for save percentage, saves per game and goals against average.
Outside of soccer, SGA, music, and all the things Leah has signed up for, she is one of four seniors on this year’s roster who have created a strong connection during their time together as a Royal.
“Each senior this year has provided stability, consistency and immense leadership for the team both on and off the field. Four years of experience, focus and commitment has provided us with tears as well as laughter, joy as well as anger, and a never ending passion for the beautiful game,” said Leah.
-- by Bri Miller, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern