EMU goalie Budani proves to be a 'keeper'

Some athletes might let an injury get them down. But Monique Budani isn’t one of them.

Budani is the all-time career saves holder for the Eastern Michigan University women’s soccer team. She has been the goalkeeper since 2006, sitting out only the 2007 season due to a torn ACL.

“I was really frustrated,” Budani said. “It was a huge setback for me. I went through all the physical therapy, and I fought through it. Look at me now, I broke a record.”

This season, Budani has two shutouts in non-conference play. She has 18 career shutouts and is second to EMU Hall of Famer Sarah Willis, who has 24 shutouts. She is averaging more than eight saves per-game, and is leading the Mid-American Conference with 74 saves through nine games. Her closest competition has 43 saves.

Senior Maggie Christensen has been a teammate of Budani for five-years.

“She is great,” Christensen said. “Five years together, and she has overcome a lot. She just goes out plays her heart out. She sticks up for her girls, and she sticks up for her team.”

Coach Scott Hall has coached Budani all five years she has worn green and white.

“Coach Hall is the biggest reason why I came to Eastern,” Budani said. “He’s been a great coach on and off the field, and he has been supportive of problems on and off the field. He has been a major part of my success here.”

Because of Budani’s keeper play, Hall has noticed her stature rise from a recruit to an EMU all-time career saves leader.

“She’s been great,” Hall said. “Her freshman year she was great. Her sophomore year she tore her ACL. The last couple of years she has been sharing time, but she was still top four goalies in the conference in saves. Her presence definitely makes a difference.”

Budani, from Whitby, Ontario, came into Hall’s program her freshman year and fought for a starting spot right away. All of Hall’s goalkeepers were freshmen in the 2006 season. Budani said a lot of pressure was on her first year, but she thrived under it. She says when there is pressure on her she pushes back.

Christensen said, “It’s a safety blanket knowing she is behind us letting us know where we need to be at all times. She has saved our butts so many times, especially this season.”

Budani is also the vocal leader for her team.

“She is a leader by example,” Hall said. “She does right on the field; she does right off the field. Anything you ask her to do in practice, she will do it. All programs need kids like her.”

Among her teammates Budani has made an impact on others, but for Budani that’s her motivation.

“My goal is to not allow goals,” Budani said. “I go out every day and try my best. If I’m doing my job it motivates others to do the same. We build off each other.

Budani has other goals in mind for her career, she doesn’t know whether she’d like to continue her career as a goalkeeper. “I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know,” Budani said. “I’d prefer to concentrate on getting into medical school, and make that my top priority. I just don’t know how much more my body can take.”

Many student athletes struggle with the idea of post-collegiate careers, it is often more of an idea then an actual reality. The reality for Budani is that she is EMU all-time career saves leader.

“[Hearing that] sounds great,” Budani said. “I was hoping to break some record while I was here, and I got it.”
Hall said, “It’s fitting for a kid that works as hard as she. She will be an EMU Hall-of-Famer at some point; she is a coach’s dream.”

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