Lourdes Academy’s Kelli Calkins played soccer her entire life.
So when spring rolled around her freshman year, her decision to play for the Knights soccer team had to be an easy one, right?
Not so much.
Calkins, thanks to her cousin — current teammate Micki Honsinger — and a few others, decided to play softball instead.
“I actually had played soccer my whole life but then freshman year, they convinced me to play softball,” Calkins said. “But it wasn’t soccer. So sophomore year I decided to go back.”
However, her switch didn’t go easy. Coaches assigned her to be the team’s goalkeeper, something she wasn’t interested in at the time. But after getting used to the position, she found success.
Calkins was an honorable mention goalkeeper last year, and is on pace to be the Flyway Conference’s top goalie. She leads the conference in goals allowed per game (.50) and save percentage (.901).
“Originally I wasn’t even interested in it, they forced me to play it and then I had to learn it,” Calkins said. “But it got to be pretty cool.
“Emotionally it can be up and down, it was hard at first because I didn’t understand that not every goal (given up) was my fault. Growing as an individual and as a player I’ve learned that I do what I can, my team does what they can and if it happens it happens but we have to recover right away.”
Because of Calkins and the rest of the defense, the Knights have been toward the top of the Flyway each of the last three years. They wrapped up the conference season last Thursday with a win over Mayville, finishing with a mark of 7-2. They sit second behind Kettle Moraine Lutheran (7-0-2).
with two games left to go in the regular season, Calkins has 73 saves and has allowed eight goals. Last year, she allowed 10 goals (.72 per game) and had 89 saves (.899 percent).
Calkins has shut out opposing offenses nine times in 15 games and has allowed more than one goal just once, in a loss to second-ranked Notre Dame (3-0 loss). The Knights are 12-3 on the season and approach the postseason with high hopes.
“The year has been full of up and downs, mainly ups though,” Calkins said. “This has been coach Rob’s most winning conference season so that is cool to be a part of. We have had a few tough losses but we’ve been able to come back and win some big games so that’s been good.
“I’d like to think (my season individually) has been going good. It’s nice coming out as a senior having played a few years, there is more confidence and I trust my defense completely so I know they have a huge part in this.”
A standout volleyball player as well, Calkins earned first-team all-Trailways last fall, helping the Knights make back-to-back sectional final appearances. She was second on the team in kills this season with 296.
Making a run as part of the volleyball team is Calkins’ favorite high school memory, so she hopes the soccer team can make a run as well with regionals right around the corner.
“The ultimate goal is to make it as far as we can,” Calkins said. “It would be nice to come out with another regional championship and hopefully we can make it to sectionals again and state would be great.”
Calkins won’t be going too far away next year. She plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and will major in something business related.
Alex Wolf: (920) 426-6661; firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @Wolfa07