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Leardership role grows with Larissa Onderlinde
By Ben Knoester

For the women's soccer team and their roller coaster of a season, the one constant fans of all levels had was the play of junior forward Larissa Onderlinde. Onderlinde's consistent hustle and determination helped solidify her role as a non-vocal team leader this year, as well as put her near the top of three offensive statistical categories once again.

Onderlinde's role as a team leader has evolved since she first started playing varsity soccer at Calvin. Instead, it was something she knew she would eventually grow into. "When you first join a varsity team at Calvin, you don't know your place. For the most part, you are just there to play. As a freshman, I can remember looking to others for leadership. I was much more of a follower.

"As you get older, you realize others are looking to you for leadership, just like I remember doing.. Some of it has to do with the fact that as you get older, you start to appreciate playing more. As a freshman, you know you have three more years left. Later, your playing years decrease, so you start to appreciate them more and you give more of your best.

"Every game I just go out there to do my best, try my hardest, and to have fun. You always want to try your best."

As coach Deb Bakker sees Onderlinde's approach to games, "She comes hard and plays hard. In addition, she is a highly skilled player that can play virtually position on the field. She is a very talented soccer player who is very valuable to our team."

A healthy mental approach and sheer talent is a lethal combination for athletes, and Onderlinde has both. Onderlinde has been a sensational player for the Knights these past three years. As a freshman in 1998, Onderlinde finished fourth on the team in scoring as she tallied five goals and eight assists for 18 points. Calvin went 15-7 overall that year and earned a NCAA Division III Tournament berth. For her efforts, she was named to the All-MIAA second team.

As a sophomore in 1999, she was named to the All-MIAA first team as Calvin went 11-7 overall and took second in the final MIAA standings. She finished third on the team in scoring with 14 points behind the strength of five goals and four assists.

This fall, Calvin finished 11-7 overall and captured third place in the final MIAA standings. She finished third on the team in scoring once again, netting six goals and seven assists for a total of 19 points to earn honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches. A native of Kalamazoo and a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School, Onderlinde cites her mother and older brother's experiences at Calvin as the main reasons why she chose to attend Calvin. "They both went here and said it was a good school," she said. "I can also remember visiting my older brother when he was here and liking it a lot."

A biology major and two-time MIAA Academic Honor Roll participant, Onderlinde hopes to attend graduate school for physical therapy someday.

 

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