July 12, 2024

Leah Rocchetta ’26 is from Cincinnati, Hannah Heald ’25 is from Westerville, and Katie Wisniewski ’24 is from Sylvania.  

Bailee Lyons: What is your background in soccer?  

Leah Rocchetta: So, I’ve been playing soccer since pretty much four years old. I got to start pretty much in a lot of rec leagues and different things like that. I kind of got into soccer because of my dad. Like he always played it when he was younger. He was my coach, like throughout like my whole entire life until I got more competitive in club. So, it was just kind of always something we had to bond over, and it kind of just grew. And now I’m playing college, and I love it so.  

Hannah Heald: Yeah, I mean, I guess I kind of sort of playing rec league as well. And then like, I eventually just kind of got into more serious like clubs and playing and so like as I kind of grew and kept playing, or I just kind of enjoyed it more and more. Yeah, just played club forever. Honestly.  

Katie Wisniewski: So, I also started when I was about four years old. My parents got me into a rec league, just so, you know, try it out, try sports out, be active. I ended up loving it. I was really good. So, I, you know, went come to the next level and there’s a lot of potential. So, I moved up even further and more levels and more complex clubs. Didn’t know if I wanted to play in college or not. But then coaches started to scout me when I was in high school. And so, I just kind of, you know, I didn’t know if I was ready for that chapter in my life to end. So, I, you know, continued and I’m really happy with that decision.  

BL: So how long have you guys played soccer?  

LR: Basically, like my entire life. So, all through high school, middle school. So like, I mean, just it’d be like after school, soccer practice. And then it’s kind of like you come into college, but now it’s like, it’s pretty much the same routine, but it’s a lot more like time management and just like, you know, waking up trying to get your homework done before practice, like different things like that. Feel like the routines pretty much been the same. Like, we all know, we have like pretty much two months where we don’t have soccer out of the entire year, it’s in winter, but we pretty much do it all year round.  

HH: Yeah, I mean, I started playing when I was 8. So, it’s been the same routine for 13 years. Soccer, yeah. So, I mean, I would just say like it is I’m allotting like in high school, I probably had four hours in in my evenings dedicated to soccer or traveling to soccer and then my weekends were taken up as well. So like, it was definitely harder in high school. With the demand of being able to do other things and like now I think when has allowed me to like get involved in other ways, involved myself outside of that in politics as well which has been really nice.

KW: I’ve been playing for 18 years, and I just don’t really remember time without soccer about going to practice. Like that’s just, I don’t know how, it’s always been soccer.  

BL: What is your major?  

LR: So, I’m a marketing major and then actually this upcoming advising week, I’m also going to double major with economics too. 

HH: I’m a marketing major with entrepreneurship minor.  

KW: I am a biology major, chemistry minor, on the pre-med track, and after graduation I am going to med school. 

BL: Are there any challenges with your major that may interfere with soccer? 

LR: I think, obviously it’s college, so a lot of the courses we are taking are a lot higher level than what we ever took in high school. But I think just college in general is all about time management and having a schedule and planning everything out. And like Coach Katie does a really good job of like, you know, people with class, like a lot of the girls on our team. Or in like biochemistry or things like that. So, she made sure that no one’s going to miss practice and different things like that. But I’ve never felt like it’s ever really interfered too much. It’s just really about planning and just, you know, staying on top of it.  

HH: Yeah, I mean with marketing and entrepreneurship to like, I think they do allow you more free time without labs and other things. I think they want you to apply yourself elsewhere, like on campus or just like by doing internships or whatever jobs you have, I guess, so I would say instead of finally with our specific nature, I guess it’s been pretty not I would say easy to manage, but it’s doable. Like super doable. 

KW: Coach Katie is great. Like, she plans her practices kind of around our labs. And if we have lab, we have to miss practice. We have to be late, whatever it is, because academics are #1 priority. It costs maybe a little bit more stress for us, but it’s just how we manage that, and we can. She’s super converging, adaptable, and she understands like soccer is not going to be your life forever. Like you have to get a job, you have to be a real adult, you have to go to class. So definitely appreciative to her for all her encouragement there. 

BL: What are you involved in outside of sports and class?  

LR: I am in a business and economics leadership program in the business department. There’s six of us, we have planned speakers to come in. We planned this past FIRE week trip to New York for the business department that I went to, which is really awesome. So just a group of six of us were kind of tightening up with the business department. I also have a job in the international business department, so I run the social media account and work with different people, so that’s a little bit I think I’m involved in.  

HH: I am a member of Delta Gamma so I do sorority stuff as well as like social standards for that. I also am in SAAC, so like me and Mackenzie, another teammate of ours, we are our representatives for them. I also work for Tiger Ventures too as well, so I’m the marketing manager for Tiger Fuel. So, like that’s been kind of interesting to do social media with them. I’m also the social media coordinator from the business department. So pretty much I just report all the professors and like post whatever they need to do on part of the cable, which is like the business leadership and whatever, and then I do social media for the women’s soccer team as well.  

KW: I’m in Alpha Delta Pi, I’m the past Vice President of Operations and the past President. I am a biology general biology lab peer mentor. I was the past FYS lead peer mentor; I did summer research with the chemistry department in 2022 over the summer, and I did a presentation at Purdue University for that. And then I think all three of us were on the Women’s Soccer leadership team, right? You guys still are.  

LR: I think you can see too like a recurring thing and not even just us for a long time. We all do like a lot of things outside of it, and it’s all like leadership roles and stuff. Like I think it’s just kind of who our team is, and I think that’s why like our culture is so good and different. Just very similar in that aspect too. Yeah, I mean our coach like, I mean I think she just recruits similar type of people. Like we all are very driven. We are motivated academically, athletically, like outside of both of those things too as well. So, like I think in obviously seeing the older girls that come before you like you. Want to get involved? You want to do more just, you know, to keep doing, just to reach some sort of their level to this.

BL: What’s your favorite part of Witt?  

LR: I mean, I feel like there’s a lot. What is there not to love about Witt? I mean there’s so many great opportunities here, which I think is something that I can appreciate. And also, to just, you know, everyone says it, but like that’s small, like you know, classroom feel is just something I personally have loved and I didn’t know if I was going to like it, but I like that I’m able to like talk to my professors online, shoot them an e-mail and they’re going to respond within the night. You know, like Katie, being able to work with our academics. I just feel like I don’t know how that would work if I played soccer, like D1 or something. Like I think how it’d be at a D1: it’s like all soccer is kind of how I feel, the vibes. So, I think here it’s just the balance of everything is so perfect and I love it. I’ll say my favorite part is just the, again, the aspect that we can do so much. 

HH: I think I’ve also been able to build relationships here with professors networking wise, that’s through Delta Gamma, that’s through the business department, that’s through soccer. I think those have just been super, super valuable. But just like being able to you know get your career started or guidance advice. Yeah, like, I think that’s just people want to get back to here. And like, people love it here and people love the relationships and like experiences they’ve had. And so, I think that’s probably one thing I really value. 

KW: Yeah, I agree with both of them. But just like for me, the people, someone’s always in your corner here. You know, like applying to grad school for me. Like having these relationships with professors and them being able to write such like personal down to earth letters of recommendation makes such a difference in the application process and Katie is such a big advocate for me, Dr. Collier such a big advocate for me and my team like my peers you know on campus. Being a part of so many organizations has exposed me to so many different individuals, backgrounds, ways of life, ways of thinking and things like that. And you just don’t necessarily get that when you go to a big school. So having the opportunity to just talk to everybody, new friends and everybody is so nice here. 

BL: What’s your main goal as a player throughout your career?  

LR: I think, you know, coming here like my goal was like I want to make history like with the team and like, you know, take the program to a different level, which we did do that this past year, like we were conference champions, which hasn’t happened in 10 years or so, a long time. It was a long time. So like, you know, just the reward and like knowing that like all of our work and hard, hard work, I guess. It’s, you know, it happens, and we make a difference. 

HH: I think, yeah, I would say similarly like when I was going through my recruiting process, like a big thing for me was like I wanted to come in here and like be like be an impactful player and like an important part of the team. The girls like made that super easy to transition like it was you could just tell everyone wanted like to be successful and everyone wanted to the team to grow. so, like it was just super easy to submit to that. And like I think that was just initially what I wanted out of it. 

KW: I think another big thing for me is personal growth. I want to encourage my teammates to grow both on the field and off the field. But also, I’m trying to foster that myself and just, you know, be the best person you can be, whether you’re being the best teammate, the best player, the best cheerleader, like whoever you are, whatever your role is, is just kind of assuming that role and just being the best, you can be giving 110% all the time. Maybe you can’t give a lot one day, but you can give more the next day. Just always pushing yourself to be better and to be better for your teammates at the end of the day.  

BL: What’s the biggest piece of advice either Katie or any coach before her has given you? 

LR: I definitely say the biggest piece of advice — this is kind of something my dad said to me and just coaches I’ve had in the past. Like, there are only two things that you can control when you’re like in the soccer field. And I just think it’s like a life lesson. And two, you can only control your effort and your attitude. And I think that’s something that’s really resonated with me, when I’m on the field and things aren’t going my way or maybe the games aren’t going my way. I just kind of think about those two things like effort and attitude. Like that’s all I can give. That’s all I can control. So, definitely, that’s the biggest piece for me.  

HH: I think when you’re playing soccer and you’re in the heat of the game, it’s really, really easy to get caught up in like little mistakes or like it might seem bigger than it is. And like, I think sometimes we forget that it’s a game and if we’re supposed to be having fun, and we’re doing it for fun. And I think sometimes when I just take a step back and play it for fun and for my teammates and just to like to get better, I think that’s when honestly more results come. I felt like we had so much fun last year. And we were getting results. You know, like, it’s just we all enjoyed being there. We all wanted to play well, and it just worked out that way. 

KW: You know, I think one of the biggest things for me over the years has been coaches instilling, like their confidence in me to improve my confidence as a goalkeeper. It’s kind of hard, you know, to have confidence because you’re the last thing defensive. The ball can get past 10 players and it doesn’t matter because there’s someone else always behind them. But when your goalkeeper, if it gets past you, it’s in the goal and you know, the game kind of restarts. So that was always a big struggle for me. But something my dad would say and even my coaches would say, it’s like I had to get to through ten other players. Before it got to you. So just like be confident, like stand your ground and like just always give everything you can and then if you give everything, you’re never going to like to be upset with your performance kind of otherwise.  

BL: If you did not play soccer, what would you play instead? 

LR: I probably would have played tennis because I did play that middle school and I would like to say I was pretty decent at it, and it’s definitely a very different sport. It’s very chill. Eventually back as much cardio, yes.  

HH: So, I probably would have played tennis, I mean, I don’t think I’d be very good at it, but like, I think volleyball looks really good. Like watching them play, like, I think it’s super cool and like it would be fun, but I don’t think I think about it.  

KW: I’ve never tried it, but I think with my hand-eye coordination I’d be good at softball, yes, but I’ve never tried it. I don’t know if I could hit a ball, but I think I’d catch one. 

BL: If you had one word to describe one another, what would you use?  

LR: Hannah, I would definitely say competitive. She is like she already described, like she just is always dialed in, like always giving 110%. Just always good competition. Katie, One word. I would say encouraging. Last year I didn’t really play a ton, but like, you know, this year ended up playing a lot more than I did. And like Katie is always there for me, like on the sideline encouraging me, doing little things like that to keep my like motivation up and stuff like that. Very positive like she is in like or also maybe reliable to as well like I always felt like she was there for the team. She had the team’s best interest at heart. Like she wanted us to like she’s always there for us and she was working for us.  

KW: Yeah, I feel like there’s so many. Like I want to say like encompass, like outgoing and positive and like fun because like I really clear provide. Like in our team, just like a lighter aspect too. Like she doesn’t take things too seriously. Like she people look to her to like to give them like if they’re having a bad day, like a positive, like silly, like make them laugh like cheer. Passionate. And like she just, she just goes, you know like she always feels like fiery and like has that sense and just like. Excitement, passion for the game and even for like anything she’s involved in outside. Like she’s always like you can just like tell when she’s super, when she loves it, you know, for Leah. I feel like she’s like a life of the party, like you know what I mean? Like she’s always just like just how, you know, saying lighthearted, like ready to go, ready to be exciting, but also like she knows when to get serious. ..one word that encompasses Leah. Like, she’s just, like, a lot of fun.

Team culture is something we really wanted to change this past season. We totally did too. And you know. Yeah, I mean, I’ll, I will say like being a part of this team has like changed like me as a person, just like as a teammate. It’s maybe reflected on that in an if anyone has the opportunity to like to be on a sports team here, women’s soccer, like it is absolutely doing. It’s a good time. Yeah, definitely reflecting back on my 4 years, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s taught me a lot of life lessons. But I’d also like, I’ve kind of found like, he was really like your corner and stuff. And you know, it’s hard making that transition from high school to college with your family and everything, but our team is just so close knit and like. Yeah, you know, sometimes we’ll have our little, like, like rough water days. But, you know, then there’s the days that are that always outweigh them. And at the end of the day, you know, you’ll always have something to rely on while you’re here. And even after the days when we leave and everything, there’s always going to be someone here that’s rooting for you and your biggest cheerleader.

Thank you Leah, Hannah and Katie! Congratulations to Katie on your upcoming graduation, too!

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