Fulcher hopes sacrifice leads to success

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Returning to ETSU for her senior year, Emily Fulcher expected to wrap up her soccer career playing the position she had always known. Accustomed to plenty of action on the offensive side of the field and one of ETSU's leading goal scorers, Fulcher was asked to take on an entirely new role for the Bucs.


She was going to become a goal keeper.


Born out of necessity, the decision to move Fulcher to the goal keeper position came about only after a series of injuries throughout the team left the Bucs' roster depleted - especially in goal. Having both of the team's scholarship goal keepers out with injuries meant some adjusting of players, and the coaches were quickly in agreement that Fulcher would be the best fit for the position.


"Both our goal keepers have ACL injuries and we all (coaching staff) said about the same time that Emily should be goal keeper," ETSU head coach Heather Henson said.


When asked about her reaction to the sudden change Fulcher said it had been unexpected, "it was a shock, but I had to get it. I found out in mid June that I would be goal keeper so I had a little over a month of warning."


Fulcher said in regards to training that the position was new to her but there was not too much to change, "I have not played that position since before high school. I have to do a lot of quick feet now but it's not a whole lot different."


To truly put Fulcher's willingness to put her team above personal goals, one only has to look at the stats. Entering the 2006 season, Fulcher was ranked third on the Bucs career list in goals, shots and points. She started each of the team's 20 matches in 2005 and scored 10 goals, with three of them winning games for the Bucs. That success had started earlier in her career, when she scored her first 12 points as a freshman.


Coach Henson says that with Fulcher's maturity and experience on the team, she has taken the adjustment in stride. Her attitude has been positive ever since she was given the change in her team role and she has stepped up to the challenge.


"When Emily was asked if she would take the position her response was - when can I start training?" Henson said. "Emily said she didn't want anyone on the team to fear her in the goal. She said that she wanted to be the best goal keeper she could be and do the best that she could for the team."


"That is a true senior."


Fulcher is currently third on the team for career points. Reaching the top will be a tough task with most of her time spent in the goal this season. However, when asked about the record, Fulcher did not seem concerned, "I played the field the other day and scored a goal. I only have less than a month left in the goal."


In fact, recently Fulcher has been able to play more offense as freshman Lindsay Metcalf has taken on the role of goal keeper. This move is intended to help bolster the ETSU offensive attack.


Playing the field against Radford on Sept. 3, she scored her first goal of the season three minutes into the second half. Her second goal came Sept. 8 to tie the game against Murray State with less than three minutes remaining, and her third Sunday Sept. 17 in the Bucs' win against Tennessee Tech. She now edges her way toward breaking her teammate's record.


By Sandie Knight

ETSU Media Relations


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