Player diary by senior Shannon Monti, goalkeeper for UA's women's soccer team.
Note: Shannon Monti is currently the UA career goalkeeping leader in fewest goals allowed (72). She is third on UA's career list in minutes played (2356), third in saves (145), third in goals-against average (2.75) and third in shutouts (2).
Nov. 14, 2001
Well, it was another heartbreaking game this past Friday night against ASU to end the season. We lost 3-2 in overtime. My team showed up and we played well together, unfortunately a few things didn't go our way. We were leading 2-0 up until the last 30 minutes of the game, then ASU's first goal struck. It was an odd goal where the ball deflected off of my defender and then myself. As a goalkeeper I know weird situations happen and odd goals get in, but I always feel like I could have done something better or different to make the difference. I know it's a part of the learning process, but it's still frustrating. Their second goal was a far-post shot, upper-V, side-netting -- every goalkeeper's nightmare. It's a great shot and a hard shot to save. So before we knew it, it was 2-2, a good game, and was still able to go either way. We had a lot of opportunities and did a great job at getting underneath them, but we didn't find the back of the net before ASU did. The final goal came from a near-post corner kick. It was a good set piece, one that was effectively run, unfortunately for us. We played a good game, gave our hearts and souls, and though it was a disappointing loss, I was still proud of the effort my team gave.
As a senior and that being my last college soccer game, it was a sweet moment when my senior class stood together on the center of our field before the start of our game. We were a group of girls who battled through the crazy stuff that went on before Cathy got here and were then able to contribute to the new beginning. This past season was a bittersweet ride. We got to see a glimpse of where this team is headed, but at the same time know that it is only going to get better. We are so excited for the potential of this team and are excited to see them reap the benefits of the rocky road that's been traveled. I wouldn't have wanted anybody else to have to go through that, and if this team has finally reached the paved road, then I hope they ride it for as long as they can. I know our wins don't show it yet, but we have made progress. Everybody dreams about having teams go from rock-bottom to top-notch within the day that the new coach arrives, but realistically it doesn't happen that way. I must say, though, that our coaching staff has done a great job and has raised our bar. For us to make this kind of progress in really only one season, in perspective of our recruiting class and school records being broken, and finding the good within the old says a lot about the character of this program. Sometimes it takes programs many years to improve to the point that we have. This team is going to be great for the years to follow.
I think the most disappointing thing about this last season has been the "what it could have been…" thought. I feel like our record could have been the complete opposite of our wins and losses, had we played every game to our fullest potential together. I recognize that everyone can say that about everything, and it's a matter of getting the job done in that moment of time, but I think it is important to see where this team has the potential to be. I think the biggest thing that can be taken from the ASU game, as well as the rest of our season, is the experience of it, and finding a way to fight through it, and get the job done. My team is young, and was inexperienced, but it is maturing in time. When they develop that part of their game, I think they are going to turn a lot of heads. This team has so much talent and is bringing in even more. Our top goal scorers were freshmen, and it was great that they came in and were able to contribute like they did. It's hard coming in and being tough against the high expectations. That's a hard role to follow through with. Coming from club play into college is emotionally hard and physically trying. It will be exciting to see this team grow and develop into what I know they can and will be.
My next step?
My role with the team from now through the fall of next year will be an undergrad assistant coach position. This position allows the opportunity to continue to be involved with my team, train, as well as learn more about soccer from a coaching point of view. I'm a true senior, but really only have a junior's experience in Pac-10 play. Looking back, I probably should have red-shirted my freshman season, to allow for an additional season, but that thought didn't happen until it was too late. By being an undergrad assistant, this opportunity will give me the chance to continue training and to participate in the team atmosphere. My coaches are encouraging me to pursue soccer further and are helping me find a way. It seems a little crazy to me that I could even have the potential to make soccer a career as a professional. Just the fact that coaches think I could pursue that, even if it doesn't happen, I'm flattered.
Last summer, I worked at Nike. I'm a graphic design and illustration major, which opened up the opportunity to design equipment and bags with Nike. It was an incredible experience just to be there. It pushed me to want to work harder and be more effective. While I was there, I played with the Portland Rain, which is a women's semi-pro "W-League" soccer team. They offered for me to come back and try out for this summer. I believe I could possibly return to Nike again this summer and work as an intern, and maybe play again with the Rain, but I'm not really sure yet if that is where the Lord is leading me. I am a Christian, and I have complete faith that I will be led to where I need to be.
Whether or not my soccer playing career ends, I see myself pursuing my design stuff and also getting more involved in sports ministry. I am involved with both Athletes in Action and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two sport ministries that help athletes understand how your personal relationship with God can impact your sport. So there is a thought that maybe I will try and work with them, or possibly even create my own Christian soccer camp down the road. Each organization offers the chance to work with high school, college, and professional athletes, and if I can give back to others what the Lord has shown me through these organizations, I know that they too would feel as blessed as I do. Either with soccer, or without soccer, I am at peace with where the Lord needs me. I have been greatly blessed to be where I am at in life so far. It has not been the pretty picture that I had imagined, but I have gained so much more than I would have. The Lord has shown me, and will continue to show me, that He truly does know what's best and will meet every need that we have. I want to thank you all for your support this season and for taking an interest in checking out this journal. I greatly appreciate your care, and wish you the best of whatever may come your way.
Thanks again, In His Grip - Shannon "Monti"
"There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still."
Corrie Ten Boom (Nazi concentration camp survivor)
"…straining toward what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6