Athlete of the Week: Kristina Lekas
Kristina Lekas is a University senior serving her second year as coordinator for the women’s club soccer team. Oregon’s squad competes against teams from around the Northwest with the ultimate goal of reaching nationals and putting the Ducks on top. The Emerald sat down with Kristina to discuss the team’s competition, the season so far and expectations for the future.@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=kristina+lekas@@
ODE: What’s the recent history of the team and how’s your year going so far?
KL: Every year, we’re pretty competitive. We’ve been pretty competitive in the last couple years since we’ve gotten a full-time coach. We’re always the best in the Northwest and usually in the top 10 in the nation, so we do pretty well at nationals. This year, we actually lost a game … usually in the Northwest we easily win all of our games. We lost to Oregon State — we haven’t lost to them in a couple of years — and it was a smacking, 4-1. And it was at their home, so we made some adjustments and hopefully the next time we play them at home, which is Saturday, Oct. 29, I’m hoping that we’ll have made some better adjustments and hopefully beat them then.
We had another game, against the University of Portland the day before the Oregon State game, and we killed them, 5-0. And then we also had a game against Willamette University on Sunday and beat them 7-0, so that’s usually how it goes.
What league does the team compete in?
This is actually the first year we’ve joined (a league) because it’s women’s club soccer in the Northwest. It’s all about California — all of the competitive teams are down there — so we’ve never really had any organization up here, so we finally did just join a league. It’s the CCSL (Cascade Collegiate Soccer League). We play the University of Portland, Linn-Benton Community College, Oregon State and Portland Community College and a couple friendlies against Willamette University. And those scores go toward where we’re placed in nationals. Nationals are in late November and that’s our main goal, to win nationals. We got second place a couple years and we got to the semifinals last year. And this is all in the open division. So we’re hoping that we’ll win it this year and we just need some hard work and determination to get there.
Building relationships off the field is key to the success of any club team. How do the girls bond off the field?
(This year) has actually started out really well. We had a soccer function with the men’s and women’s club teams that was really fun. It was kind of like our little initiation and everyone bonded really well, so the team’s chemistry off the field is already really strong. Everybody really likes each other. We actually only had six returners this year, so we have a bunch of new freshman and some older newbies, but it’s been great. Everyone gets along really well, and the off-the-field chemistry has been helping on the field a lot.
Coordinating a club team is a busy task, especially as a full-time student. What’s it like balancing your school work with your role as a team leader?
Our coach, he sticks to coaching. That’s his job. I’m coordinator, that’s my job. So he actually did schedule all our games this year, which was really nice and took a lot off of my shoulders. But it’s actually been really stressful this term because I’ve never worked another job and done coordinating in the fall. I only work like 20 hours a week, but with coordinating and going to school full-time I’ve actually been really stressed. My studies come last, because the team, you have to put them first. Even if you don’t consider soccer first, you have to schedule them for nationals — 20 people are counting on you. It’s definitely time-consuming, but I love it. I love coordinating and managing — it’s my second year doing it, so I better like it. It’s time-consuming but it’s definitely rewarding in the end.
What upcoming events should students be looking out for?
Our next home game is this Saturday, Oct. 15 against Linn-Benton Community College at 10 a.m., on the fields next to the Rec Center. Our next game is on Saturday, Oct. 22 against Portland Community College on the same fields. And then our last home game that I already mentioned is on Oct. 29 against Oregon State.