Kapusta turns frustration into motivation
It wasn't the response Katie Kapusta of the Upper Arlington High School girls soccer team expected to hear from her coach when she informed him of her desire to be the starting goalkeeper.
Coach Mark Wise was being honest when he told her two years ago that he didn't think she had the temperament to play the position.
"Katie is just the sweetest kid and I told her she was too nice to play goalkeeper," Wise said. "I told her that goalkeepers have to be mean and aggressive. I felt bad because she started to cry, but she also said she understood."
What made matters worse is that Kapusta, who was a sophomore at the time, would have to play behind a freshman, Ashley Copley, in 2010. Copley started at goalie the past two seasons before opting to play for a club team this fall.
That decision opened the door for Kapusta, who turned her frustration into motivation.
"It really made me angry and it gave me the push I needed," she said. "I've been working really hard and putting a lot of effort into it and I think I've stepped it up. What coach Wise said to me really stuck in my mind and it's what motivates me every time I go out there."
Now a senior, Kapusta allowed four goals through three games this season, although two of them came in a game against Worthington Kilbourne that was suspended Sept. 1 because of bad weather with the Wolves leading 2-0 with 23 minutes left in the first half. Wise wasn't sure if the game would be completed.
UA, which was 0-1-1 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 4, tied Grove City at 1 in its opener Aug. 25 and lost to Thomas Worthington 1-0 in its league opener Aug. 28.
Wise always emphasizes the importance of playing sound defense. The Bears' starting defenders are senior Maddie Stone, juniors Megan Williams and Gabi MacNaughton and sophomore Hanna Peale. Sophomore defender Rachel Piscopo also sees significant playing time.
Kapusta, whose father was a goalie at the University of Wisconsin, directs the defenders.
"She's smart as a whip," Wise said. "There's been so many times during coaching situations where she's stepped in. I think she's a coach in the making. They say keepers make great coaches because they're in the back and they see the game. That's her. She understands it and is passionate about it."
Wise had planned to let Kapusta make a few starts even if Copley had remained with the team this season. He's been most impressed with Kapusta's quickness, which he described as being "almost cat-like."
Kapusta's goal is to shut out at least half of the Bears' opponents this season. Last year, UA allowed an average of 2.6 goals per game and recorded three shutouts. In 2010, when the Bears reached a Division I regional semifinal, they had 10 shutouts.
"I don't think we have a weak point on our defense," Kapusta said. "I've learned to be more aggressive and to put my body on the line. I'm super vocal and, when we're down, I'm trying to get everybody up."