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Mountain Hawk seniors reflect on careers

Published: October 16, 2014

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Members of the Lehigh women's soccer senior class are the epitome of student-athletes. These individuals have excelled in all realms with all five making significant contributions on the field while combing for an average cumulative GPA of 3.60 in the classroom. They have helped set the tone for the Mountain Hawks' program as not only players, but also leaders. These seniors have helped welcome the freshmen and create a family atmosphere like no other. They make up the backbone of the 2014 team, from forward to midfield to defense and in goal. This group is looking to make its second Patriot League Tournament in its tenure with hopes of bringing the program its first championship since 2010, the year before these five arrived.
 
Head coach Eric Lambinus had this to say about the 2014 class: "This is a very special class in every aspect of their contributions to the women's soccer program at Lehigh. They are the first class I recruited to Lehigh and have grown together in our attempt to build a great culture with LUWS. They have touched every aspect of the team, both on and off the field.  They are represented in each line on the field, including goalkeeper, have a connection to every aspect of the athletic department and even attend each one of our colleges at Lehigh. I feel privileged to be their coach for the last four years and so proud of the women they have become.  All five have and will continue to make Lehigh proud as they move onto the next chapter of their lives!  (Even though we all hope this chapter will continue for a few more weeks in the Patriot League!)"
 
With Senior Night on Saturday, Lehighsports.com caught up with the five seniors to reflect on their careers in the Brown and White.
 
#0 Ashley Blanks - Goalkeeper - North Andover, Mass. - Biology and Spanish & Latin American Studies
8277Blanks stands among Lehigh's all-time leaders in several statistical categories, highlighted by owning the #5 and 6 single-season goals against averages in school history. Blanks posted a 1.01 GAA as a junior last season, fifth in program laurels, while her 1.14 GAA as a freshman stands sixth all-time. Ashley posted five shutouts as a freshman, one as a junior and one in this, her senior season. She made six saves in the season opener against Binghamton to earn her second-career Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week award after first earning the award following a five-save shutout at Army last season. Blanks is extremely active in the leadership realm as a co-captain of Student-Athletes Leading Social Change and now Student-Athlete Council. In the classroom, the senior captain owns a strong 3.31 GPA and has been earned a spot on the Dean's List, garnering a spot on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and earning the Faculty Athletics Council Award.
 
What's your favorite Lehigh women's soccer memory up until this point?
AB: It's hard to pick a favorite, but one of my favorite memories is when Coach Lambinus did the worm after we beat Colgate to get into the Patriot League Tournament my sophomore year.
 
Describe the relationship with your fellow seniors.
AB: My fellow seniors are my best friends. We've been through so much together and have become so close. We all have such different personalities and because of it, I have learned so much from each of them. I truly value our friendship.
 
Describe the feeling going into Senior Night. What are some thoughts going through your mind?
AB: I don't think it's hit me yet that my college soccer career is nearing its end. I am excited to take on Army on our home field. Being a student-athlete has been the most amazing and challenging experience, and I am so thankful for it.
 
What will you miss most about Lehigh women's soccer?
AB: I will miss my teammates the most and spending every day with them. They have truly made this experience unforgettable 
 
What are your postgraduate plans?
AB: I plan on hopefully staying at Lehigh for my masters in Secondary Education.
 
#11 Danielle Salans - Midfielder - Needham, Mass. - Supply Chain Management
10179Salans has started double-figure games each and every season, emerging as a standout in the midfield. The highlight of Salans' career came last season when she led the team with nine points behind four goals and one assist. She scored goals against Patriot League foes Bucknell and Holy Cross while tallying an assist in a big win over Loyola. Salans owns two assists this season, against Villanova and Lafayette, while serving as a steady force in the midfield. The Needham, Mass. native owns a 3.38 GPA and has been named to the Dean's List and Patriot League Academic Honor Roll on multiple occasions while also garnering the Faculty Athletics Council Award.
 
What's your favorite Lehigh women's soccer memory up until this point?
DS: My favorite Lehigh women's soccer memory up until this point was making our LUWS preseason music video to the song "No Place I'd Rather Be." It acted as a distraction from the stress that comes with preseason, and was a way for our team to have fun together during the difficult two weeks. I love re-watching it and will definitely continue to look back on it once soccer is over.
 
Describe the relationship with your fellow seniors.
DS: The five seniors definitely have a close-knit bond. You get to know people on a whole different level when you spend almost every single day with them for three and a half years. We've been through a lot since our freshmen year, and we've all had to rely upon one another to get to where we are today. It would have been an entirely different, and less enjoyable experience, had I not had the chance to spend my soccer career at Lehigh with Jordan, Ashley, Darby and Darby. 
 
Describe the feeling going into Senior Night. What are some of the thoughts going through your mind?
DS: The fact that this is our Senior Night is a totally indescribable feeling. It's almost surreal. I feel like I was a freshman just yesterday. It's hard to believe that it's one of the last times I'll get to put on my Lehigh jersey and represent LUWS. It will definitely be an emotional experience. But as I near the end of my collegiate career, all I can think about is making every moment count, whether it's on the field or with my teammates. It's unbelievable how fast time goes by, and I want to be sure I make the most of the short time I have left as a Division I athlete.
 
What will you miss most about Lehigh women's soccer?
DS: The one thing I will miss the most about Lehigh women's soccer is spending time with my teammates. I know I will still see them regularly at school and around campus, but it will be a huge transition going from seeing them every single day of the week to anything less than that. My teammates are my best friends, and they are the reason that my experience as a Lehigh women's soccer player has been so enjoyable. All I can say is that they better be prepared for me constantly showing up in their dorms and at their houses to make up for the time I won't get to spend with them at soccer.
 
What are your postgraduate plans?
DS: I plan to get a job in the Supply Chain field for after school. I am currently going through the application process and hope to have a job in Boston, NYC, Philly or DC by the end of the semester.
 
#12 Jordan Goodwin - Defender - Flemington, N.J. - Biology
10455Goodwin has seen significant playing time since stepping foot on campus, playing in 14 games with six starts as a freshman. She's played in 17 games as a sophomore and junior, emerging as the anchor at center back. Goodwin owns three assists in her career, but her impact goes far beyond any stat sheet. A two-time team captain, Goodwin is involved in Lehigh Athletics' leadership program. She has also impressed in the classroom, owning a 3.64 GPA as a four-time member of the Dean's List while being named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and garnering the Faculty Athletics Council Award.
 
What's your favorite Lehigh women's soccer memory up until this point?
JG: There have been so many memories both on and off the soccer field with the team. One thing that I will never forget is our pre-game locker room dances. We call Alex Sangiuliano the energizer bunny because once she starts dancing, there is no stopping her.
 
Describe the relationship with your fellow seniors.
JG:
Darby Dustman has inspired me to give everything I have with everything I do. Darby Wiegand has shown me how to use inner strength. Danielle Salans has been my person and my voice of reason. Ashley Blanks has been my rock and taught me to always "love life." I wouldn't have wanted to spend these past four years with any other group, and I know that I have made lifelong friends with these four girls.
 
Describe the feeling going into Senior Night. What are some of the thoughts going through your mind?
JG: Everyone has always told me how fast the time would go by, but it is still hard to believe that our Senior Night is here. Looking back on my soccer career, my parents have always been my two biggest fans. I'm glad that I get to spend this special day with them and my grandparents because they have all played such a big role in getting me to where I am today. 
 
What will you miss most about Lehigh women's soccer?
JG: I will miss being a part of the soccer family and seeing my teammates every day. We have a really special group of 27 players this year and I'm glad that these are the girls that I am finishing my career with. 
 
What are your postgraduate plans?
JG:
After graduation, I plan to attend Physician Assistant School.
 
#24 Darby Wiegand - Forward - Kensington, Md. - Supply Chain Management
10213Wiegand has been one of the team's top goal scorers from the get-go, posting a goal and assist as a freshman, four goals as a sophomore and one goal as a junior. Darby has recorded a career-high nine points this season, scoring a goal in each of the first three games (two wins and a tie) while also scoring the tying goal against defending Patriot League Champion Boston University and tallying an assist at Central Connecticut State. With 10 career goals, Wiegand is within four of cracking Lehigh's top 10 in school history. In the classroom, Wiegand owns a 3.75 cumulative GPA, earning Dean's List, Patriot League Academic Honor Roll recognition and garnering the Faculty Athletics Council Award on multiple occasions.
 
What's your favorite Lehigh women's soccer memory up until this point?
DW: My favorite LUWS moment up until this point would have to be our win against Colgate my sophomore year. Colgate was undefeated the entire season and we were their only loss. Playing in that game was honestly one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences of my life.
 
Describe the relationship with your fellow seniors.
DW: Over the years, we have learned a great deal about one another. We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have celebrated wins and we have been upset about losses. All of these moments have formed a bond between the five of us that could never be replicated. Danielle, Ashley, Jordan and Darby will forever hold a special place in my heart, no matter where our paths take us after graduation.
 
Describe the feeling going into Senior Night. What are some of the thoughts going through your mind?
DW: My feelings about Senior Night and the end of not only my collegiate career, but also my soccer career in general, are overwhelming. I go through burst of excitement, sadness, happiness and just pure confusion/denial. Everyone always asks me why I play soccer, and the expected answer is, "I do it for the love of the game. I do it for me." That's not the case. I play soccer in memory of my mother, and that is going to be the hardest thing to leave behind come November.
 
What will you miss most about Lehigh women's soccer?
DW: The feeling I get when I step on the field, and the ability to forget everything that is going on in life for simply a few hours while I am playing. As weird as that sounds, it's therapeutic. Not to mention, my teammates (special shout-out to my family!) are incredible. I have made life-long friends on this team and memories that I will cherish forever.
 
What are your postgraduate plans?
DW: Working! I just got an offer from IBM, but honestly I have no idea what I will be doing just yet.
 
#26 Darby Dustman - Midfield - Salt Lake City, Utah - Industrial and Systems Engineering
10490Dustman's impact at Lehigh has been far-reaching, from the field to the classroom and as a leader. Darby played in 16 games, starting seven times as a freshman, before enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign with three goals. Dustman earned a spot on the prestigious Academic All-Patriot League Team, an award that encompasses performance on the field and in the classroom. Darby scored goals against Bucknell and Colgate to earn Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors and help Lehigh make a late-season charge to the Patriot League Tournament. Dustman tallied two goals and one assist as a junior, scoring in Lehigh's big win at Saint Mary's (Calif.). This season, she has played in 10 games with one start and continues to make her mark in all areas of the program. In the classroom, Dustman owns a stellar 3.89 GPA, has earned several awards in the Engineering school, has been on the Dean's List every semester and has posted a perfect 4.0 term. She's also progressed through Lehigh Athletics' complete leadership program and is a Student-Athlete Mentor.
 
What's your favorite Lehigh women's soccer memory up until this point?
DD: My favorite memory of Lehigh women's soccer was when we beat the undefeated Colgate my sophomore year.  This win not only helped clinch us a playoff spot, but it also proved that we could play with the best (not to mention it meant we got to see Coach do the worm...).  Another favorite memory was our 2013 trip to California - Although the red-eye flight was rough, it was well worth the tournament win and the giant ice cream sundaes. 
 
Describe the relationship with your fellow seniors.
DD: We are the "Fab Five" - we bring out the best and worst in each other. Our four years together have been up and down, but we have always found a way to stick it out.  I can honestly say that I will be forever grateful for everything Jordan, Ashley, Danielle and Darby have done for me. Their friendship has helped shape the person I am today, and I can't wait to see what the future brings. I am so grateful that I have been able to share the past four years with these girls, I wouldn't want it any other way.
 
Describe the feeling going into Senior Night. What are some of the thoughts going through your mind?
DD: I am at a loss of words as I think about finishing up my soccer career. Thinking back to all of the blood, sweat and tears I have sacrificed for the game, I can honestly say I have put my heart and soul into soccer. I am in denial that my soccer life will be coming to an end, however, I am excited for what the next step of my life will bring. 
 
What will you miss most about Lehigh women's soccer?
DD: I will miss the girls who have dedicated so much time and energy to the sport. Every single girl that I have played with during my four years has been passionate, kind and caring.  The relationships that I have established on the team are more meaningful than any game will ever be. I will miss walking into the locker room and knowing that I have 26 girls that will have my back no matter what. This team has been my everything for the past four years and I will truly miss spending hours with them gossiping about fitness tests, analyzing our opponent and watching trashy TV shows.  
 
What are your postgraduate plans?
DD: I am still undecided as to where I will be going, but I am planning on going straight into the workforce after graduation.

 
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