Written by Karen Gellender, email@example.com Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00
This past fall, Jericho native Amanda Epstein was a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field. The sophomore led her team at Marist College in points scored and also led the Metro Athletic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in game-winning goals for the second year in a row. She also won two Offensive Player of the Week awards from MAAC, was named the No. 2 player from MAAC out of approximately 270 players, was one of only 16 players across the nation to be named to the CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll, and finished an impressive seventh in the nation in NCAA Division 1 game-winning goals.
Not bad for a season where she was forced to spend a solid quarter of it on the bench.
During a practice early in the season, Epstein sprained her ankle. “No one was even around me, I took a wrong turn I guess, and my foot got caught on the ground,” she said. The 2011 MAAC Women’s Soccer Rookie of the Year had to sit out for several weeks while her ankle healed, patiently waiting to get back on the field. As though that weren’t bad enough, to add insult to injury (or more accurately, injury to more injury), she suffered a concussion just as her sprain finished healing, keeping her benched for yet another week.
However, instead of being discouraged by her run of bad luck, Epstein seemed to make up for lost time as soon as she was put back in the starting lineup for the second half of the season. She scored six goals in the team’s final nine conference games, including two goals against the previously undefeated Fairfield University, Marist’s rival. In addition to acquitting herself well as an individual player, Epstein also helped lead her team to great results; Marist College set a record of 14 regular season wins and secured their second consecutive first-place finish in the conference, the first time in Marist history that the team repeated as regular season champions.
Epstein, who comes across as cheerful, genuine and humble, despite her dominance on the field, didn’t lose heart that Marist did not advance very far during the post-season. “We lost one game, so other than that, we won everything; it was a good year,” she said.
Katherine Lyn, Epstein’s coach at Marist, spoke highly not only of Amanda’s soccer skills, but also her character. “She is not the type to boast about her talent but rather share credit with her teammates. That trait in itself is admirable and unique and I am quite thankful for having such a great role model in our program,” said Lyn.
Going forward, the communications major has to consider whether or not a full-time career in soccer is the best path. “I’m not sure; they’re just bringing the soccer professional league back, and I’m not sure if I want to do that,” she said.
Still, there’s no doubt Epstein will still be playing competitive soccer post-college, for fun if not professionally; though she enjoys playing other sports, like basketball, with friends, she has been playing soccer on a daily basis since she was little more than a toddler. “It’s always been soccer,” she confirmed.