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The Carletonian

Senior Spotlight: Madeline Topf reflects on her time with Carleton Women’s Soccer

<deline Topf is a senior biology major and a neuroscience minor from Ames, Iowa. In 2016, Topf started in all 17 of her team’s games, logged 1469 minutes of playing time, scored four goals to tie the top scorer on the team. For her strong performance during the 2016 season, Topf took home an All-MIAC Honorable Mention award. She will now serves as one of the captains for the 2017 season.

Four years ago, Topf entered the Carleton Women’s Soccer team as the only freshman on the team. Four years later, Topf is still alone, albeit this time, she is the lone senior on the team. For a roster size of 23 players, being the only senior on the team is highly unusual.

“I have always felt sort of alone on the team, but it was probably the most difficult as a freshman. I had to adjust quickly and advocate for myself. I didn’t get the perspective that my failures [on fitness tests, during games, in classes and making friends outside the team in season] were normal for freshmen on the team,” said Topf. “After the initial first-year adjustment, I’ve been fine and really well integrated into the team.”

 “Although it does feel weird to be the only senior on the team, there is no one to completely share my experiences in thinking about my future and life after soccer,” added Topf.

When asked about her goals this year, Topf responded, “I want to play hard for my team and experience more success as a team than last season. I also want to be an effective leader.” Halfway through her senior season, Topf took a moment to reflect on it. “I think the team has done a great job of working really hard but also being silly and having fun. It has been frustrating during the midseason to have to play so many overtime games. It’s also just exhausting to be a student and give so much to your sport as well.”

Being a senior also bears some responsibilities, such as being the leader of the team. “I think I lead well, but I’m not the one to assess how well I lead. Overall, I think people generally respect me.” Being the lone senior on the team also means that the core of the team will return next year. “I don’t think I am critical to this team. However, this team does work very hard in the offseason and is super motivated, so I have no doubt that they will return and be stronger next year,” said Topf.

So far this season, Topf has started in all 13 games, totaling 1101 minutes and recording 3 goals and 2 assists, including a goal in the 86th minute against Macalester to force a draw for the overall game.
Reflecting on her favorite moment these last four years, Topf said, “It’s hard to answer this question without sounding cliché…as sports can often become. But I like all of our traditions during preseason. It’s great to be on campus just hanging out with the team and playing soccer. It’s awesome to be able to play the sport I absolutely love with people who support me and are very motivated and fun. It’s been an incredibly valuable part of my Carleton experience and has taught me how to communicate effectively, be confident and persevere through difficult situations.

“The team provided me with many role models. I think those are the things that are best taken away from a DIII sport.”

This Saturday, Topf will be honored as the sole player at her senior game when Carleton women’s soccer takes on Bethel University at 3:30pm on Bell Field. 

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