Young talent brings intensity, motivation to field


Justin Brown

Freshman goalkeeper Sara Teteak has earned the starting job in the net for the Eastern women’s soccer team.

Maria Baldwin, Contributor

Sara Teteak may be a freshman on Eastern’s soccer team, but she is already making goals for herself to succeed along with her teammates.

The Naperville native brings 13 years of soccer experience and skill to the team, along with gametime intensity that she acquired as an athlete playing for the Eclipse Select Soccer Club, a national top-tier ranked club team.

Playing on the club team, however, came with a sacrifice.

Teteak had to quit her team as a high school senior, ending her high school career early.

“The expectations were higher when I joined the club team,” she said. “There were more risks heading into games because usually if we lost we were out of contention. The coaching was different, and it was something I had to get used to. I’m glad I joined the team my senior year because it prepared me more for being a part of a college team; the level of expectations and intensity is very similar.”

Teteak said while being on a national team had its struggles, it helped her to change her mentality and expectations for herself to allow her to raise her ability to a new level.

“Being on the national team taught me different things compared to high school, and so when I came to Eastern, I knew that I could set high expectations for myself, and that motivates me to do well for the team,” the goalkeeper said.

Teteak has started in both of the Panthers’ regular season games, playing in all 180 minutes. The freshman has allowed three goals while recording 15 saves.

Against Bowling Green, she faced a season-high 27 shots and recorded a season-high eight saves against Fort Wayne.

Teteak said playing in college is different than being on a high school or club team, but it is mostly because of her new mentality, not the pressure of more people watching that makes it different.

“During high school and when I played club, I did not necessarily play for myself, but I knew it was my time to improve individually,” she said. “And I still do that now, but now at Eastern, team goals and team expectations are something that we have been focusing on as a team, so I’ve been focusing a lot more on being a part of a team.”

Teteak noted the expectations the coaches have for the team is what motivates her to play up to her abilities, but she also has help from teammates who push her every day at practice, on and off the field.

“I look up to the upperclassmen goalies a lot, and I’ve learned so much from them already,” she said. “We’re all different with our different skills and aspects of the game we focus on, our weaknesses and strengths are different, too, so I know that if I see one of them doing something really well I try to up my game and get on their level so we can keep pushing each other.”

Teteak has no shortage of goals and expectations for herself this fall, and unlike her game in the past, her goals no longer revolve around just bettering herself for her future, but bettering her team along with her.

“I just want to be the best that I can be because I know that will benefit the team,” she said. “I also want to help everyone else get better so we can keep pushing each other every day at practice and every game we have.”

As every athlete has their favorite aspect of their game, Teteak said she loves her position on the field as a goalie because of the intensity and improvement that comes along with the position.

“I love all the pressure that comes with being a goalie,” she said. “Being the last line of defense and just being out there knowing that if I mess up and ruin everything for my team motivates me. I know that if I make a mistake, I can always better myself the next day at practice, and I can always improve,”

The Eastern women’s soccer team will have a couple more days of practice before the Panthers hit the road to take on the Illinois State Redbirds Sunday in Normal, Ill.

Maria Baldwin can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812