Texas native responds following redshirt season
Frisco, Texas, is little more than 1,500 miles away from where the Rutgers women’s soccer team plays its home games at Piscataway’s Yurcak Field.
With most of the Scarlet Knights hailing from the East Coast or Canada, freshman forward Amanda DeVolk needs a coat for what she believes is the biggest adjustment to moving from the Lone Star state.
“The weather,” DeVolk said. “It gets a lot colder here.”
The weather did not have an effect on her interest in the school, as both DeVolk and sophomore defender Logan White received recognition from the Knights coaching staff at a 2011 showcase in Las Vegas.
“The following weekend they were both in on a visit,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “They both committed on their visit and enjoyed it so much. [DeVolk] didn’t have any qualms about being away from home.”
The quality of the program along with playing in the Big East also appealed to DeVolk.
“We learned about the school and [I was] interested in it,” DeVolk said. “The fact that the soccer program was so highly ranked was good because I was looking for a balance between a school that was going to be a good fit academically as well as a school that was going to be challenging athletically.”
And while some students might travel across the country to get a different taste from their usual surroundings, leaving her home state was not a huge factor in DeVolk’s decision.
“It is good to have an experience away from mom and dad,” she said. “But even if you stayed in Texas you could still be at a school six hours away.”
Another adjustment DeVolk had to make was beginning her college career on the sideline.
She suffered a knee injury her senior season with her club team last spring and credits her teammates for helping her return to full strength.
“Everyone has been so supportive and helpful,” DeVolk said. “Some of my teammates have been real supportive with getting me back in the game and are always willing to do extra fitness or extra shooting. It has been a real group effort to make sure everyone is taken care of.”
The injury forced her to redshirt, but so far it has not had much of an effect on her play.
DeVolk made appearances in all 14 games this season, registering nine starts and 641 minutes of action while also recording a goal in her home state Aug. 31 against Texas A&M.
“She has great pace,” Crooks said. “That is good for any forward. But beyond that, she can break down defenders. She likes to run at players, which is good, and she has gained more and more confidence.”
DeVolk believes the biggest change she had to make from being inactive her first season to playing substantial minutes is building camaraderie with her teammates on the field.
“Mentally, you really have to get to know people on a different level relationship-wise because you go from being friends on a social level to actually learning how to play with each other,” DeVolk said. “You are learning where everyone is going to be along with physically finding your touch again and kind of relearning the game in a new system.”
For updates on the Rutgers women’s soccer team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.