By Katie Faulkner, @KFaulkner20
What does it take for a small school in Western New York to attract dominant female soccer players from around the country?
There are three common factors that all four girls deemed particularly crucial. Small campus size, relaxed atmosphere and a powerful sense of family all were important elements when it came to these prospective student-athlete’s decisions to come to St. Bonaventure University.
A strategic communications major from Baldwinsville, N.Y., Cassidy Bruen spent five years playing for the New York State Olympic Development Program. She attended Charles W. Baker high school, where she earned First Team All-CNY honors and was awarded the Heart and Hustle Award. The small campus size and wide variety of majors drove her to choose Bonaventure. When asked her favorite thing about being on the Bonnies, she spoke about the sense of family and supportive coaching staff. At only 5’2”, many people doubted her abilities to play Division I soccer.
“I was always told I wasn’t good enough, I was too small, and I would never be able to play D1 soccer,” said Bruen.
She uses these negative comments to fuel her to become a better soccer player every single day.
Cassidy Bruen photo by Daulton Sherwin
Mirae Whitaker is a pre-med major who had been involved in numerous volunteer programs throughout her career at West Lafayette High School in Indiana. Serving as captain her senior year, Whitaker led her team to a Class A sectional title and a conference championship. Whitaker credits her family and coaches on helping her become the player she is.
Mirae Whitaker photo by Daulton Sherwin
Captain, team MVP, First Team All-District and First Team ACC are just a few accomplishments of young athlete Jennifer Morris.
Morris chose Bonaventure because it was a good distance from her home in Canfield, Ohio. The U.S. Midwest Regional Academic All-American athlete loves her time here so far.
“It’s just the love of the sport,” Morris said. “I love playing and my dad has always been there to support me.”
She finds inspiration through goalkeeper Iker Casillas who plays for the Spanish National team and La Liga Club Real Madrid.
Jennifer Morris photo by Daulton Sherwin
Nearly 2,000 miles from her home in El Paso, Texas, Patricia Lauritzen credits head coach Steve Brdarski for convincing her to attend Bonaventure. Lauritzen attended Coronado High School where she was awarded First Team All-District honors and team MVP. Her favorite thing about being on the soccer team at Bonaventure is the family atmosphere that she never got from any of her other teams.
Doubts and negativity from others has driven her to become the best soccer player she could be.
“Nobody (had previously) really believed in me,” she said. “That’s what drove me to become better.”
Patricia Lauritzen photo by Daulton Sherwin