On senior day Sunday afternoon, Eastern Michigan University’s Ashley Rodrigues came to play. Just before the 11th minute, Rodrigues got a feed from Carissa Wilson and scored against visiting Bowling Green in a 2-0 EMU victory.
Rodrigues, a forward, has been making defenders pay since her sophomore year; her goal Sunday was her eighth of the season.
Rodrigues has surpassed her total from last year. In 2008, she had 12 points, with four goals and four assists. This season, she has five winning goals.
“I feel I’m playing good.” Rodrigues said after being asked on her thoughts of her senior year. “It is my final year, and it’s nice. The light switch must have turned on or something. This is the time of year where you want to start playing well; playoff season is go big or go home.”
The idea of the Mid-American Conference playoffs has Rodrigues energized.
Rodrigues’ soccer background can be traced to Pickering, Ontario, her hometown. She has been playing in the United States for four years and has been in a total of 75 games, started all but seven.
Before Sunday’s game, she was having fun with her fellow teammates, clapping extra hard for their announced names and shouting nicknames for each of them.
Coach Scott Hall said her laid-back personality is good for the team and is good for the moment.
“Ashley Rodrigues stays consistent,” Hall said. “She jokes around with the girls, but once the game starts it is all business with her.”
When asked about how Rodrigues felt about leading the team in points, she couldn’t bring herself to gloat.
“It’s all about the team, we go out, prepare well and put forth a great match, all those goals had assists,” she said. “I didn’t do it myself.”
Rodrigues’ role always has been that of the attacker.
“She has a good calming factor,” Hall said. “Our team feeds off her energy. She has been in situations before where I know I can count on her leadership.
“In her sophomore season, we tried her out at midfield and later moved her to the outside, and it has paid off.”
Second-place EMU (10-3-5, 6-1-3) plays first-place Central Michigan (14-3-1, 9-0-1) at 3 p.m. Thursday at Scicluna Field. The game is the last of the regular season.