Jackson Steps Up Sophomore Year

By: Nicole Grazioli '12

When the ball passes the opposing goalie in the net, attackers know that they are doing their job well.  Attacker Sarah Jackson (SJ) has stepped up and delivered in her position this season on the women's soccer team helping to add points to the scoreboard in crucial games.  So far her sophomore year, Jackson has assisted Lauren Matheson in a game-winning goal versus UCSB, scored a goal versus Cal Poly and most recently, scored the only SCU goal in the game versus then No. 8 Notre Dame, a 1-1 tie.

SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) spoke with Jackson about her role as a sophomore on the team, why she likes playing attack and her favorite goal scored at Santa Clara.

SCU: What do you like best about Santa Clara soccer?

SJ:  I love the overall tradition of Santa Clara soccer.  I also like the fact that we are a team, but also a family - we work hard and push each other everyday to make us better.

SCU: How has your role changed this year as a sophomore?

SJ: As a sophomore I had to step up and not only be a leader, but also a role model for the freshmen class.

SCU: How did you prepare for this season?

SJ: During the summer I took a mental break from soccer and focused on getting healthy and maintaining my fitness level.  Once we arrived on campus, I dialed in mentally and started focusing on the upcoming challenges preseason had ahead and worked hard with the ball.

SCU: What are your goals for the season?

SJ: This year my personal goals are to score goals, get assists, step up as a leader and set an example for the freshmen.  Our team goals are to win the national championship, to grow as a team and learn from one another.

SCU: Is there anyone on the team that you look up to?

SJ: Bianca Henninger is a great role model on the team – not only is she a great goalie, but she is a great example of how an athlete should act.  When I walk onto the field and hear her voice behind me, I immediately get fired up and adrenaline rushes through my body.

SCU: What led you to your choice of playing attack? What do you like about it?

SJ: Ever since I was younger I've had an attack mindset.  I love nothing more than to be creative on the ball, take players on 1v1, get in behind defenders and score goals.  I like having the chance to get down and dirty in front of the box and take chances to help my team succeed.

SCU: Against top ranked teams like Notre Dame and Stanford, how do you prepare?  Is it different then when playing against other teams?

SJ: Even though Notre Dame and Stanford have high rankings, we take each game as seriously as the next.  We take it one game at a time and focus on how we are going to play as a team, not on who the team is that we are playing.

SCU: What is your favorite kind of goal to score?  Why? 

SJ: My favorite goal to score is a driven shot outside of the box.  I love the feeling after hitting a good strike knowing that you did everything right from the technique to the power you put behind it.  

SCU: Do you have a favorite goal that you've scored at SCU?

SJ: My favorite goal so far this year was my goal against Notre Dame (assisted by Allie Vernon).  Wearing headgear sometimes makes me hesitate to go up and challenge for the ball, but against Notre Dame I remember going into the game telling myself that I was going to score.  The fact that my goal was a header revived my confidence in the air again.

SCU: What kinds of feelings go through your head after you score a goal?

SJ: When I score a goal, the main thing that goes through my body is an adrenaline rush.  Not only does it give me confidence in knowing that I'm doing my job as a forward, but it also gives me confidence in the team and our performance.

SCU: You played on the '92 Sereno club soccer team with Julie Johnston.  How has the relationship between you two progressed over the years?

SJ: Julie and I have grown up together since sixth grade and have always been good friends.  Since going to college our friendship has grown even more - we have gotten to know each other in a more personal way which has helped us out on the field.  We connect well and understand each other and have learned to be able to read what one another is looking for and wanting out on the field.

The Bronco women's soccer team will be playing it's next match versus Nevada at SCU at 7pm on September 29.