SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - University of Illinois Springfield student-athletes and sisters Jocelyn Matsen and Emily Matsen play different sports in the same season, so the Rochester High School graduates turn to technology to keep tabs on what the other one is up to.
“I watch her soccer games even if we are traveling in the bus,” said Jocelyn, a senior on the UIS women’s golf team. “I’ll pull it up on my phone or I’ll watch it at the hotel.”
Golf tournaments aren’t usually broadcast over the Internet.
“I’ll look at the live stats and if our mom goes to watch, she’ll text me every three holes,” said Emily, who also is a member of UIS women’s basketball team.
There’s a lot for the sisters, who are one year and eight months apart, to keep up with this fall.
Jocelyn was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week on Oct. 13.
“She played exceptionally well,” UIS golf coach Frank Marsaglia said. “She just seems more relaxed on the course this year. I think that’s why you’re seeing lower scores from her.”
Emily is a junior starter on a women’s soccer team that has set the program’s single-season record for wins at seven and she was the hero in one of those victories. Emily scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against Wisconsin-Parkside on Sept. 30. It was UIS’ first time ever beating the Rangers.
Jocelyn’s award came of the heels of her winning the Maryville Fall Invitational, where she set the school record for lowest 36-hole round and became the first UIS golfer to finish a 36-hole tourney under par. Matsen shot rounds of 70 and 73 for a 1-under-par 143 at Annbriar Golf Club in Waterloo. She sank a 15-foot birdie putt on her final hole to finish below par. Her 70 is a college career low and ties the school record for lowest 18-hole score.
“I was surprised just because I’ve always gone mid-70s, but I hadn’t gone low-70s both days,” said Matsen, who shot a 69 at the Women’s City Golf Tournament in July.
She bested the 63-player field by five strokes to win medalist honors. She has had several top 10 finishes and tied for first in a dual, but this is her first win at a major invite.
“I was really dialed in with my irons,” she said.
Just one week remains in the fall golf season, and UIS is closing it out with a bang. The Stars are playing next week in the UIS Island Getaway tournament in Puerto Rico.
The women’s soccer regular season ends Wednesday for UIS with a home match against McKendree. The 7-8 Stars are fighting to qualify for the GLVC Championships for the first time. UIS is 4-8 in the conference and needs to win all three of the remaining three games to have a chance. One more GLVC win will break the school record for conference victories in a single season.
“We have hit a lot of marks and we’ve definitely improved from previous years,” Emily said. “We’ve put ourselves in a tough situation with the conference tournament, but it is still nice because we’ve never had the situation where we could potentially get in the conference tournament. It’s nice to still be in it technically this late in the season because we’ve never had that before.”
All of the members of the team want to play a role in the program’s growth and Emily is right there in the thick of it. She has nearly doubled her playing time compared to the previous two seasons. She did not start as a sophomore, but has six starts this year with four in the last five games. She is tied for second in assists (two) and third in goals (two).
In the second match of the year, Matsen made a key position switch from forward to center midfielder.
“One of Emily’s greatest assets is her technical ability,” UIS interim women’s soccer coach Erin Egolf said. “She can pass with both feet. We needed some playmakers in the middle. We needed to get a little bit more going forward and find balls to our forwards, and she can win some balls in the midfield.
“She’s someone to rely on to do the simple things: pass, receive and work. I wasn’t sure coming into the year where she’d fit it and she’s exceeded my expectations.”
Emily originally considered playing basketball at Millikin or Monmouth instead of playing soccer for the Stars. She got the opportunity to play basketball for UIS last year after participating in an open tryout. She is one of only two athletes who competes in two sports at UIS and she cannot envision herself anywhere else.
There was just one thing that could have put a wrinkle in her plans to attend the school.
“I asked Jocelyn 20 times to make sure it was OK if I came to the same college as her,” Emily said. “I did not want it to be 20 years from now and her be like, ‘I wish she didn’t follow me to college.’
“I asked Jocelyn, ‘Are you sure it’s OK that I go to the same college as you?’ So she wouldn’t be mad at me.”
Jocelyn, who picked UIS over Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Western Illinois, had no trouble giving her blessing. She wanted her sole sibling to attend UIS, but didn’t want to pressure her.
“I knew she would be happier closer to home,” Jocelyn said. “When I found out the soccer opportunity was there, I was super happy.”
It wasn’t about attending college near home for Jocelyn, who is majoring in both mathematics and economics and is an intern in the actuarial department at Horace Mann Educators Corp.
“I didn’t think being close to home was really important,” she said. “It just kind of worked out that way. UIS was just the best fit.”
Emily, a biology major, and Jocelyn sort of see themselves as ambassadors of the university when it comes to sharing their success stories with local athletes in hopes of convincing them to compete for UIS.
“Students from around here don’t really consider UIS as an option,” Emily said. “I’m really satisfied with my soccer and basketball experience and academics so we definitely want to promote the college around Springfield.”
A local softball player was on campus for a recruiting visit and Emily bumped into her in the cafeteria.
“I talked to her and the coach for a little bit,” she said. “Then I texted her a couple times and asked, ‘Have you decided?’ When she decided, I said, ‘Congrats. I can’t wait to see you on cnampus.”
Source: The (Springfield) State Journal-Register, https://bit.ly/2f0BeQb
Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com
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