Rodriguez Selected A-10 Rookie of the Week
Tony Glavin Player Rodriguez Selected A-10 Rookie of the Week
Courtesy: Saint Louis Athletics Release: 11/04/2013
ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis University freshman forward Cristina Rodriguez (St. Charles, Mo./St. Dominic) has been named Atlantic 10 Conference women’s soccer Rookie of the Week for the period of Oct. 28-Nov. 3, the league office announced today. It is the second Rookie of the Week accolade for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez scored the only goal of the game in the Billikens’ 1-0 victory at VCU Nov. 3, a win that allowed SLU to tie La Salle for second place in the final A-10 regular-season standings. Saint Louis was picked to finish eighth in the league in preseason balloting by A-10 head coaches.
SLU is the No. 3 seed in this week’s A-10 Championship, which will be played at VCU’s SportsBackers Stadium in Richmond, Va. The Billikens take on No. 6 Massachusetts in a quarterfinal match Thursday, Nov. 7, at 12:30 p.m. (CT). A free video stream and free live statistics are available for all A-10 Championship games at www.atlantic10.com.
SLU Women's Soccer
Tony Glavin Player and St. Dominic's Rodriguez hopes to lead Crusaders to back-to-back titles
MARCH 18, 2013 5:00 PM • BY JOE LYONS | JLYONS@POST-DISPATCH.COM, 636-493-9675
Cristina Rodriguez has never won a Missouri Cup championship. In fact, she has never played in a select soccer state championship game.
But that did not keep the St. Dominic forward from earning a scholarship to St. Louis University.
In a time when some feel that high-profile select soccer is the one and only route to playing college soccer, Rodriquez is a bit of a throwback, a player who was recruited largely because of her strong play during the spring high school season.
“The SLU coaches (Kat Mertz and then-assistant Katie Shields) watched us play a number of times last season, and evidently they liked what they saw in Cristina," St. Dominic coach Greg Koeller said.
And what's not to like? Rodriguez was one of the area's dominant players, helping the 28-2 Crusaders capture the Class 2 championship.
The 5-foot-2 forward and attacking midfielder finished the season with 17 goals and 19 assists, but she was even more of an impact player late, coming up with seven goals and seven assists in St. Dominic's six postseason matches. At the state finals in suburban Kansas City, she had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 semifinal win over Helias and helped set up Kristin Wolff's game-winner in a 1-0 title-match win over conference rival Rosati-Kain.
Rodriguez was voted the Class 2 player of the year by the state's coaches, earned a spot on the Post-Dispatch All-Metro squad and was voted All-Midwest by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
“Cristina is just a fun player to watch because she's so dynamic and because she always seems to going at 100 miles an hour," Koeller said. “She's a solid all-around player, someone who works hard all over the field, but Cristina's clearly at her best when she has the ball at her feet and she's taking on defenders.
“She loves to attack, and she's not afraid to take chances."
Rodriguez, 18, credits at least some of that to sticking with the Tony Glavin club team coached by her father, Rocky.
“I guess there were opportunities to go to other teams, to bigger clubs, but I've always been a pretty loyal person," she said. “I've always enjoyed playing for my dad and playing with my Glavin teammates. Our teams have always been pretty competitive, and I've always tried to be a player my teammates could count on. The type of game I have to play during club soccer is what's helped make me the player I am today. And then, when I play high school with all these other great players, I think it's helped bring my game to another level."
Rodriguez's soccer revolves around speed and skill. But she also plays with a bit of an edge.
“Cristina is incredibly competitive; she'll do what it takes to get the job done," Koeller said. “And she's also very intelligent, on and off the soccer field. Cristina is everything you're looking for when you talk about a true student-athlete."
Rodriguez gave an oral commitment to SLU early last summer and endured a brief period of uneasiness when Mertz left the Billikens in December after just one season to take the job at Oregon. A month or so later, SLU promoted Shields from assistant.
“I was a little worried at first, not knowing if I'd fit into the new coach's plans," Rodriguez said. “I'm excited that Katie got the job because she and Kat recruited me and they'd talked about how they planned to use me. I really feel like SLU is an up-and-coming program, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that."
But first, Rodriguez and her teammates have a state championship to defend. The preseason No. 1 team among area small schools, St. Dominic is a deep and talented squad that also returns two-time Class 2 goalkeeper of the year Megan Swanson (27 wins, 16 shutouts, 0.35 goals-against) and fellow junior Sydni Young, the co-defender of the year in 2012.
Other returning All-Metro players for St. Dominic are senior midfielders Wolff (15 goals, 11 assists) and Bri Ebenroth (16 goals, 9 assists) and forward Emily Monroe (22 goals, 11 assists).
“We should have another strong season," Rodriguez said. “We return some great players, and we also have some younger girls who are going to step in and help us, too. We know we're going to have to continue to work hard because there are a lot of great teams out there, but we definitely feel like we have a chance to win again."