Ohio State Women's Soccer: A Family Affair
Sept. 12, 2002
This Sunday Buckeye senior midfielder Kiley Enmark will take the field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium not just to do battle with the Pittsburgh women's soccer team but also with her sibling of 18-plus years, sister Kendall, a freshman midfielder with the Panthers. The match will mark the first time the two sisters have ever faced each other as opponents.
"It's exciting because it will be the first time that we have ever played against one another," Enmark, a business major, said. "We both play the same position, so we will be facing each other as head-to-head counterparts for the first time."
Kiley and Kendall are not the only members of the Enmark clan to compete at the Division I level of college soccer. Their older brother Ty recently concluded his career at Virginia Tech where he helped lead the Hokies into the Big East tournament in their initial season as members of the conference.
"It's exciting for me and my family, especially my parents because there are three of us kids that have played Division I soccer," Enmark stated. "My parents have traveled all over the country to see us three play, so it will be great for them to go to one place and see my sister and I play at the same time."
Off the field the family plans to spend some quality time together and take in some of the Columbus atmosphere.
"We are all going to the football game on Saturday," she remarked. "It will be great that I'll be able to share the tradition and experience of Ohio State with them."
Enmark is not the only member of the Buckeyes with family ties bound within the collegiate soccer community.
Those who closely followed the 2001 OSU squad are familiar with the Miller sisters, senior Jen and sophomore Heather, who serve as major contributors to the team's success. Jen, a returning All-Big Ten Second Team performer in 2001, is team co-captain and its defensive leader while Heather, a midfielder, supplies offensive firepower off the bench as she currently ranks fourth on the team with five shots. The Miller duo played for Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio and combined to win three team most valuable player awards in 1997 (Jen), 1999 and 2000 (Heather), while leading Centerville to seven consecutive Western Ohio League Championships under head coach Don Skelton.
The two are now delighted to team up once again and attempt to lead the aspiring Buckeyes to a Big Ten title in 2002 and the school's first-ever NCAA tournament birth.
"I've really enjoyed having Heather as a teammate for the past two seasons," Jen, a mechanical engineering major, stated. "We have always been great friends despite some fighting when we were younger, but we have matured and grown closer during our college experience."
Heather has also enjoyed the opportunity to play alongside her sister again.
"I relied on Jen a lot in the summer with my fitness and bringing me up to speed on how the team plays," Heather said. "She provided me with a little bit of an edge as I entered the college level and helped me get more familiar with the team."
In addition to the Miller and Enmark family tandems, four other Buckeyes have immediate relatives involved as players and coaches in the collegiate soccer community.
Sarah Lanham, a senior midfielder for the Buckeyes, has somewhat of a strange connection with her sister Emily, a junior forward at High Point University in North Carolina. Both the girls tore their Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (ACL) within two months of each other during the 2001 season. Emily, an All-Big South performer as a freshman in 2000, suffered her injury during the opening weeks of the season while Sarah succumbed to her ACL tear less than two months after her sister underwent surgery.
"Two months after she hurt her knee, I tore mine," Lanham explained. "We both injured the same knee (left) during the same season and we both had to deal with the recovery over about the same period of time (during the winter and into the spring). I actually think we were more upset about each other getting hurt that we were about ourselves."
Freshman forward Kristin Rhyne has two brothers, Matthew and Steven. Steven is a member of the men's soccer team at Clemson University. The Tigers are currently ranked second in the nation by both the NSCAA/ adidas poll and Soccer America. The junior starting forward ranks third on the team in shots headed into this weekend's action.
Rhyne admits that her brother was a huge influence on her own personal soccer career.
"I would train with him and follow along with the Clemson training and conditioning manual during the summer before he left for school," the Alpharetta, Georgia, native explained. "That training helped me a lot and I have always looked up to him and tried to emulate what he does on the field."
Fellow freshman forward Colleen Hoban's sister, Megan, owns the distinguished title as the first-ever women's soccer coach at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. The formerly all-male institution recently added the sport in 1999 and kicked off its initial season of women's soccer versus Columbia College on August 29, 2001.
Hoban directed the Bulldogs to two victories in their initial season and hopes to advance her team to the Southern Conference tournament in 2002.
Colleen expressed that her sister faces quite a task in taking the helm of the young program.
"It's a challenge for her at The Citadel," Hoban, the 2001 Ohio High School Player of the Year, said. Recruiting is tough because there are many stipulations that cadets must meet as opposed to the average college student at your average university."
OSU Head Coach Lori Walker feels that family influence is a crucial aspect to the molding of a college athlete. In fact, Walker summoned Megan Hoban when Colleen experienced some difficulties at the beginning of preseason practice this summer.
"Colleen was struggling and we had Megan call her on a consistent basis," Walker stated. "Things have really improved for Colleen through those conversations with her older sister."
Walker feels that it is quite advantageous to have the game of soccer run through the siblings and parents of her athletes.
"Our mentality behind recruiting is that we, as a team, are a family and it's great to find those who share that philosophy. When there is a scenario where there is an older sibling that has gone through rough times, I think it ultimately helps the younger player to use that older sibling as a support mechanism."
With a soccer family tree as vast and impressive as Ohio State's, one can imagine that the stands will be full of distinguished and knowledgeable college soccer fans offering encouragement and support not only throughout the remainder of the season, but in the off season and into next year's preseason workouts.