From the stat sheet, she might not look like the key to the Penn State women’s soccer team’s success this season when compared to her decorated teammates, but according to coach Erica Walsh, she is “the one.”
Captaining the 6-2-0 Nittany Lions this season, senior midfielder Maddy Evans has been praised profusely by her coaches and teammates alike.
“I don’t know if I am clever or smart enough to describe how important Maddy is for our team. I cannot say enough about her. She is our everything. She is the one,” Walsh said. “She is the leader, the follower, the example, the role model, the adult, the kid, the one that laughs, the one that cries, the thoughtful one. I cannot say enough about Maddy Evans.”
Since earning the honor of captain, Evans has been working on building strong relationships with her teammates and being more vocal on the field. She credits the great leaders before her who taught her how to carry the responsibilities.
“Leadership is something that I really value and I constantly want to learn how to be a better leader,” Evans said. “For me, relationship-building is the biggest thing. I may not be the most vocal on the field sometimes, which is something I am trying to work on. It comes down to trust and respect and hopefully I can continue to lead.”
Hustle has always been something that has made Evans stand out from the rest of her teammates.
Evans notes that as a kid growing up that if she was running, she was happy, and she thinks that her competitiveness and desire to win is what pushes her to go hard for every ball.
“Her [hustle] is her biggest strength and her smallest weakness,” Walsh said. “Her puppy dog-like hustle is why it is challenging for her to play central midfield. Unlike Whitney Church, who is very thoughtful before acting, Maddy is very proactive. Maddy wants to solve things before they even happen.”
Evans has started all eight games for the squad this season and has two goals. Due to the knee injury of holding midfielder Bri Garcia, Evans has embraced the challenge of changing from her comfortable position of outside midfield to center midfield.
“We had adapted our game a little bit, and God knows Maddy has adapted her game in two short days and the end result was that she was the most important person on the field on Sunday [against Wisconsin],” Walsh said. “We asked Maddy to be Maddy and do what Maddy does so well, and we have not asked her to be Bri Garcia because that’s impossible.”