There is plenty of information that most Hurricane soccer fans are not aware of regarding four-year starting goaltender Rachel Elsby. One important fact that everyone should know is that she is one of the hardest working players in the Big East and is a role model for student-athletes at any university.
Not only has she been an integral part of the team for the past five years, Elsby also has been dedicated enough to her schoolwork to have graduated last May in order to begin pursuing a PhD in microbiology.
“It is pretty hard to keep up with school these days,” Elsby said. “I am having fourteen hour days and I have to eat lunch on the Metro rail.”
Elsby’s rigorous schedule consists of going to classes, practicing every day and working in the lab. The heavy workload will pay dividends once she earns her degree.
As far as soccer goes, Elsby has had a long history of success on the field. Born in Scottsdale, Arizona but raised in Boca, she has been playing the game since she was five years old. At Spanish River High School she led her team to two state championships and three district titles, and became her school’s all-time saves leader.
Elsby’s career at UM has been just as accomplished. She has been starting for the ‘Canes since her freshman year. The only bump in the road for her occurred during her junior year, in 2000, when she was medically red shirted, sidelining her for the entire season.
“That was the hardest thing ever,” Elsby said. “I felt somewhat separated from the rest of the team that season.”
Last season, Elsby returned as the starting goaltender and led the squad to a 10-7-1 record and an NCAA tournament berth. One of the highlights of her career took place last year when the team beat longtime rival Florida in Gainesville.
“That was definitely one of my favorite moments, besides simply being the starter for so many years at UM,” Elsby said.
As for this season, the team is currently 4-3 after defeating Big East Foe Virginia Tech 2-1 on Sunday. Elsby is confident that the team will improve.
“If we avoid making mental mistakes and play a full 90 minutes of soccer we can be a contender in the Big East,” Elsby said. “We still have a chance to be very good.”
No matter what happens the rest of the way for the Hurricanes soccer team, one thing can be guaranteed – Rachel Elsby will continue to be one of the most dedicated student-athletes in the NCAA and will go on to have a successful future after she earns her PhD.
Eric Kalis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org