Junior makes time for two-sport passion and competitive major

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 at 11:58 PM
Junior makes time for two-sport passion and competitive major by Erica Burkholder
Photo: Ben McCullough

“If I’m not the definition of a student-athlete, I don’t know who is,” Sidney Dobbins said. “I run from lab, straight to the field, without even sometimes having a car. It’s about a [one-]half mile run.”

While most student-athletes’ schedules hit a lull during the offseason, this junior competes as a midfielder in both soccer and lacrosse, keeping her busy year-round.

“I just run and as I’m onto the field, I’m just ripping off my lab coat, ripping off my goggles, and sometimes it’s that hectic,” she said. “It sucks, but I don’t know. I just – I love it though.”

Dobbins started playing soccer when she was 3 years old and lacrosse when she was in her junior year of high school. She knew since she was little that she wanted to play college soccer, but certainly had a journey to get to Edinboro.

Dobbins had committed to a Division I school for soccer, but had de-committed when she realized she didn’t want to give up lacrosse.

“I wasn’t really ready to give up lacrosse yet,” she remembered. “So I was like, maybe I’ll try Division II to keep playing lacrosse, as well.” She then found a D-II school in New York, but they only wanted her for lacrosse, while she saw soccer as her main sport.

While visiting that college, her mother then recommended Edinboro and they decided to look at it.

“I woke up while we were going to campus and was like, ‘this is an awesome campus.’ I just loved how close everything is,” she said. “It’s beautiful coming in.”

Dobbins not only faces playing two sports, but she has a difficult major, biology, along with a chemistry minor. She said her freshman year was a rough start to her academic career.

“Freshman year — other than this semester — was definitely my toughest year only because I got dragged into like 300, 400 level courses for biology,” she explained. “After freshman year, I got my studying habits down, all the techniques and time management, and then my sophomore year was great.

“And then this year, my last semester was pretty good. This semester [I have] a lot harder classes, but my freshman year was definitely extremely hard to get the transition.”

During this initial year at ‘Boro, she played in 19 soccer games (with nine starts) and scored a game-winning goal. During her lacrosse season, she scored one goal and earned five assists while playing in 17 games.

Dobbins leads a busy life, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester, when she squeezes in homework and a practice along with back-to-back classes and labs. Her day begins at 8 a.m., and she finds herself completing homework until as late as 1 a.m., snacking when she can along the way.

Dobbins is in a “competitive” major in which “you need to get the best grades to get into those medical schools [and] grad schools.”
She faces a setback with her practices as they cut into her studying time, but she’s figured out a trick.

“They have the upper hand on me (others in her major), but something I got really good at is I don’t sleep as much anymore,” she said. “I used to take 2-to-3 hour naps a day. Instead of doing that, I just push through with the homework.”

Playing two sports adds to the stress she faces from school and isn’t always easy, according to her coaches.

“Lacrosse wise, I think it kind of hurts her not being with us in the fall,” Head Lacrosse Coach LeighAnn Stauffer said. “She’s always in season; her body is always experiencing that full blown tiredness, but she always overcomes, [and] she never complains.”

Head Women’s Soccer Coach Gary Kagiavas thinks Dobbins “dividing her attention between two sports is difficult” and that it gives her additional setbacks. “In the beginning ,when she gets here she’s not quite up to snuff, but she catches on quickly.”

Both coaches praised Dobbins for her hard work, though, and for how much of a team player she is.

“The most unselfish player I’ve ever had the privilege to coach,” Stauffer said of Dobbins.

“She brings team leadership and unity,” Kagaivas added.

Dobbins said she feels her hard work is the main reason she has had success on the field.

“I’m going to be honest,” she said. “I don’t think I have much talent in both sports. I’m just a hard [worker]; I feel like I do work hard, and I think hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t show up — that’s always my motto. Like no matter what, go for that ground ball...because something might come out of it,” Dobbins said.  

She’s aware of the hard work her coaches put in and tries to repay it.

“The least we can give back is showing up, giving a 100 percent for that hour-to-hour of practice,” she said. “Go hard for that for them. That’s all they asked of us is to always work hard. So that’s what I try to do.”

Not only does Dobbins have two coaches, but she has two teams which means two families, she explained. It’s not uncommon to see the soccer team, or part of it, at lacrosse games and to see the lacrosse team at soccer games supporting Dobbins as she plays her other sport. “They support me so much and everything I do,” Dobbins said of her teammates. “I could not ask for better teammates, for sure.”

“Whenever I see them my heart starts pounding like my family’s here, and soccer did it a few days ago at one of our games,” she added. “We got, you know, we got a pretty bad loss to East Stroudsburg. They were there. They were supporting me [and] screaming my name.”

Dobbins, currently busy with two sports and a busy major, knows what she wants for the future.

“I have always wanted to find the cure for lung cancer...but lately I’ve been looking at different kinds of oncology,” she said. “I really want to shadow an oncologist this summer to learn what cancer researchers do and hopefully work with oncology when I grow up.”

She said she’s not sure yet where soccer and lacrosse will come into her future.

“I want to say [that] I want to go to the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team,” she said. “That was always my dream, but a matter of fact is, you know, what do you want more? I want to save lives. I want to make a positive impact on this world.

“I really hope that I can stay active with soccer and lacrosse but...it’s tough because I’m scared to say that it might be ending next year, and I don’t want it to end, but it might be. I’m just praying that it doesn’t. I pray.”

Dobbins continues to improve upon the stats she earned her freshman year. Last year, her sophomore campaign, she started in 16 games for soccer (playing in 17), she scored one goal (another game-winner against Cal U) and earned an assist. In lacrosse, she started 15 out of 16 games and scored five goals and earned three assists. The past soccer season she scored one goal and helped start plays in the midfield.

Erica Burkholder | sports.spectator@gmail.com

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