Athlete Profile: Rudolph Talks Mental Toughness, Early Soccer Success

Freshman goal keeper Lexi Rudolph poses on the back lawn of Pearlstone. (Photo: Shawn Hwei).

Sarah Pardus
Chief Copy Editor

For many, coming onto a college sports team after high school can be intimidating; playing against tough competition and a myriad of athletes that have years of experience under their belts often causes anxiety in most freshman athletes.

Not for freshman Women’s Soccer Team member Lexi Rudloph, who came from a team that was ranked first in the entire country. Her soccer career began 11 years ago, and she has continued to advance through a number of different club and school teams of a variety of levels.

She feels that her background in the sport made her “mentally tougher” and she came into Goucher with a solid fitness base that allowed her to easily transition into the much more competitive world of intercollegiate athletics.

Lexi also noted that Tati Korba, the coach for Goucher Women’s Soccer, bears many similarities to coaches in Lexi’s past, making her transition to Goucher all the more fluid. Rudolph acknowledges that Tati and her coaching staff “only want what’s best” for the team as a whole and are “willing to do almost anything to help” when needed.

It is no secret that the Goucher Women’s Soccer Team is off to a strong start, shattering the previous record of straight wins. The team, now 9-1-1, is its own “little gopher family,” which helps them understand each other better on the field. Even when they’re not practicing and competing, the team is still together.
Rudolph, who plays goalkeeper, says that they “literally spend almost every waking moment together” and thinks that “is part of the reason why [they] are so successful.” According to Lexi, the personalities of the girls mesh really well together and while they are all very serious on the field, their ability to get along well off the field only enhances their overall cohesiveness.

Rudolph likes to keep her spirits light before games, bouncing around the locker room to act as the “team masseuse” for her teammates and throwing a tennis ball against the wall with Gaby Davis, a defensive player on the team.

Cracking jokes is a regular occurrence for Rudolph, even at her own expense. With her teammates, she refers to her deformed calf muscle as her “shark bite/gang battle wound/surgery scar.”

She shared her unique story about an injury she had in April 2010 that threatened to change her entire life. After being cleated in her lower right leg during a game, Rudolph went straight to the ER, following the visit up with multiple doctors’ appointments before finally learning that she had Anterior Compartment Syndrome. She had an emergency fasciotomy immediately, a procedure that removes a layer of tissue to relieve the pressure caused by a lack of circulation.

The next day Lexi found out that 90% of her anterior tibial muscle had died due to lack of blood flow. She then received a muscle transfer and was out of school for five weeks. It didn’t stop there, though, as she has received twelve surgeries since the initial injury. Not sure if she would ever be able to play soccer again, Lexi persevered, and after more than a year of rehab, she is back on the field, throwing her body left, right, and sideways to stop balls from entering the goal.

Rudolph says that most people thought that she would give up soccer after such a serious injury, but she claims that her high school teammates motivated her to a faster recovery. She was determined to show everyone that “this one thing wasn’t going to define [her] and that [she] was the one in control of [her] own career- not some injury.”
Rudolph loves the satisfaction of accomplishing goals with her fellow lady Gophers, people that are as close as her immediate family. The GWS team motivates her, and she shows it by going to practice and games every day ready to play even better than the day before.

While Rudolph is leanings towards a history and international relations double major, she wants to continue to make a positive contribution to the soccer team and the Goucher Community as a whole during her four years here without compromising her academics. Soccer, she believes, extends to every corner of her life, teaching her “the power of perseverance and hard work” necessary to accomplish her goals. She and her teammates are ready to achieve the ultimate goal: a conference championship. With Rudolph’s determination, continued team camaraderie, and a lot of hard work, the team may have a strong chance of achieving just that.



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