Fredrick’s strength, character make her a leader on the soccer, rugby fields

While every athlete has a certain level of dedication for their sport and portray a work ethic required at practice, it’s the strength of character and leadership qualities of Jeanine Fredrick that makes her stand out as the Daily Eastern News’ pick for the Female Athlete of the Year.

An All-Conference goalie on the soccer team for four years, Fredrick didn’t put the cleats away in the fall. She ran out to the rugby field where she has competed for nearly two years.

“I’m just trying to make the best of it while I can,” Fredrick said.

While Fredrick has just days before her graduation from

Eastern, those around her can’t forget the effort she put forth on the field.

“The growth she’s shown and the maturity she has as a person is just phenomenal,” women’s head soccer coach Steve Ballard said. “She’ll be very successful in whatever she does.”

But Fredrick has already seem more success on the soccer team than more collegiate athletes have over the years. Earning First Team All-OVC honors and being named to the All-Tournament Team in November, the goalie from Wheaton has left her mark as a talented soccer player.

“On the field she’s an outstanding player for us,” Ballard said. “You can’t replace four years of experience and her ability easily.”

“She was one of our captains and not only this year, but over the last four years she’s been a backbone on the team and on the field.”

Fredrick started in all 20 games in the fall, posting a .91 goals against average – the lowest in the Ohio Valley. With a school-record 132 saves, she owns the career record for saves (367), shutouts (10.8) and minutes (4.644).

“She worked just as hard in practices as she did in the games,” redshirt freshman Rebecca Traen said.

“I played defense with her and she had to communicate with

us and tell us where to be. If we couldn’t communicate with her, she couldn’t count on us.”

The senior ended her career with an outstanding 36-18-3 record, finishing third in the league in saves, averaging 6.6 per game. She also holds the second all-time school record with a 1.2 career goals against average.

Fredrick also stopped a season-high 15 shots against Oral

Roberts and followed that with 13 in a tie against Southwest Missouri. She also posted separate shutout streaks of 239 and 249 minutes.

“She really had control there,” Traen said. “We’re going to miss having that confidence in our goalie right away. There’s going to be some worries.”

The worries will hopefully be eased by three freshmen goalies who will attempt to fill the hole left by Fredrick this fall.

“We’re bringing in three freshmen, but it’s still going to take the knowledge she had,” Ballard said.

“We’re going to have to take them in like Jeanine did with us,” freshman Beth Liesen said. “We’re going to miss Jeanine greatly – she was a great keeper.”

Fredrick couldn’t do it all alone though, as she shared the senior leadership role with teammate Carole Griggs.

“Carole and I have been through a lot,” Fredrick said. “This year because you’re a senior and because you’re older, people tend to listen to you more and watch how you act. It’s almost like being a role model.”

“She was a leader for all of us out there,” Liesen said of Fredrick. “She taught us to go out and play with confidence. Every day she always worked hard and taught us never to give up because there is not point in that.”

After winning the regular season title for the second consecutive year, Eastern hosted the OVC Tournament again, but this time fell to Tennessee Tech in a 1-0 double overtime loss – a memory which the senior wish was different.

“I think we should have won that game we lost, but not everyone brought their “A”-game that day,” Fredrick said. “It’s a shame it didn’t happened my last year, but you can’t end every season perfect.”

The loss in the OVC Tournament, however, allowed Fredrick to compete in a rugby game following the tournament. The sport caught Fredrick’s attention a few years ago, but joined head coach Frank Graziano nearly two years ago.

“I did it because I wanted to learn something,” Fredrick said. “I’ve always played soccer and this was something different. I’ve always had something to do and it’s not going to hurt to go out and play for three hours in the afternoon.”

“When she decided to play, she picked it up right away,” Graziano said. “She has wonderful work ethic in preparing for a game and for practice. It’s going to be tough to fill her shoes.”

After being the captain on the soccer team, the switch to a less-familiar sport was an adjustment for Fredrick.

“I don’t think I know enough to say anything, but I get a chance to sit back and listen,” Fredrick said.

But Graziano doesn’t agree with Fredrick’s passive approach.

“Jeanine continues her leadership role and has been a wonderful addition to our rugby team,” Graziano said. “She has a sense of competitiveness and it’s been great to have her around. Everyone follows her work ethic.”

After playing fullback last season, she made another adjustment to the No. 8-man this season.

“She’s the kind of player that if she was given enough

time, I don’t think there’s a position she couldn’t play,” Graziano said.

“I’d love to have her around next year. I can’t say enough good things about her. But after four years, I guess it’s time to move on.”

While Fredrick is unsure exactly where that move will take her, she would like to continue to be involved in athletics.

“I’m looking at sports management, but I’d like to coach goalies if I do anything with soccer,” she said. “There’s such a need for it. Right now I’m helping coach goalies at Charleston High School.”