INDIAN HILL – During her career as a student-athlete at Williams College (Mass.), senior Alex McInturf has found that the less she thinks, the better she plays. As a result, her pregame routine has changed from season to season except for one constant.
“I like to listen to rap and hip-hop an hour or so before every game, though now I do it in my room instead of on the school bus,” according to McInturf, by email. “Music has a way of putting me in the mindset I need to go into the game and do everything I can to win.”
McInturf, a Cincinnati Country Day alumna, and her teammates need to be in the right frame of mind when they enter the locker room Friday at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City prior to perhaps the biggest game of their collegiate careers. Williams College last played in a NCAA Division III womens’ soccer Final Four six years ago and meets Johns Hopkins for the right to play in the championship Saturday.
McInturf’s role has shifted throughout her career. She arrived on campus as a defender, but has since assumed the role of a center midfielder where Williams head coach Michelyne Pinard said they count on her leadership, organization, ball-winning and distribution.
“She has turned into a bit of a goal scorer too, which is a fun and unanticipated addition to her game these days,” said Pinard, by email. “She has four goals on the year, which isn’t easy in the position she plays.”
Her mental and physical toughness, as well as her discipline and competitiveness were what convinced Pinard that McInturf would be a good fit for her team.
McInturf said she embraced the physicality of the game during her career at CCD and that has helped her excel even with the jump to the college game.
“I was in a league that did not consist entirely of club players, and I constantly faced athletes who were strong and physical,” she said. “As a result, I began lifting seriously throughout high school, and I would say that my ability to hold people off of the ball is my biggest strength now.”
In addition to that, McInturf said playing at CCD has taught her a sense of playing for something bigger than herself and she found that her community was, and still is, invested in her success. Also during her time at CCD, Alex played for two seasons with her sister Abby, who was a goalkeeper. Her brother, Ian completed his sophomore season on the CCD boys’ soccer team.
“I’m lucky to have two siblings who know and love the game, and will act as training buddies whenever the need arises,” McInturf said.
Alex and her teammates will need to draw on all of their training, as well as the idea of playing for something greater than yourself if they want to advance past Johns Hopkins and ultimately win the NCAA D III National Championship.
“When I applied, coach Michelyne made it very clear that a national championship was the goal, and she has prepared us incredibly well for this moment,” McInturf said. “I have never seen, much less been on, a more talented team than the one I am with currently. I think the key to our success rests in the fact that we are more than just very talented individuals, but we are all willing to sacrifice our individuality for the sake of the team.”