By Daniel Wallace
One of Baylor soccer’s unquestioned leaders has proved herself both on and off the field for her teammates.
On the field, junior forward Dana Larsen leads the team with nine goals this season, the most for a BU player since 2007 when Megan Sherrell netted in the same amount. Larsen is coming off a weekend in which she scored three goals and assisted another. That performance against Missouri and Jackson State this weekend gave her the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Off the field, Larsen is one who leads by example in everything she does.
“She’s very good at being the best but also wanting to serve and help people, too,” roommate and teammate junior midfielder Hanna Gilmore said. “Not only in soccer but in school too. I think she tutors half the team, because she’s a genius. She just compassionately leads.”
Sophomore forward Vic Hoffman said Larsen sets the example in her work ethic and how she plays the game. She said she is always working hard, despite her busy schedule. The biochemistry major has carried a 4.0 GPA through two full years at Baylor and still manages to give everything she has when practicing and playing the game, her teammate said.
“She’s the smartest person I’ve ever met,” Hoffman said. “I don’t know how she does it; she’s very smart, and she has a sense of humor. She’s just the whole package.”
Head coach Marci Jobson echoed Hoffman’s sentiment about Larsen’s work ethic and dedication to all she pursues.
“Dana just works hard in everything she does,” Jobson said. “She’s an unbelievable student and a great person. She’s very meticulous about details. You tell her to run through a wall and she will run through a wall for you. She is going to do everything you ask of her.”
Jobson said Larsen’s attention to detail and her tendency to be a perfectionist could actually be her biggest downfall. She said she is at her best when she just relaxes, plays, and has fun competing in the game she loves.
What makes Larsen love soccer so much is her teammates.
“It’s my release for the day,” she said. “There’s so much time doing other things you don’t always want to do by yourself, like studying. It’s nice to have a release.”
Gilmore said that when Larsen plays, she just simply gets the ball, turns, goes down the field and shoots. Her game is nothing fancy but is effective, and it is the little things Larsen does that make her so successful in the game.
Hoffman said Larsen is deceptively quick and is talented on both sides of the field.
“Dana is very skillful,” Hoffman said. “She can work up and down the line, getting past players and she’s very fast. People often underestimate how fast she is. She’s a little secret attack from the left side. She’s really good on finishing off her crosses on the right side.”
Larsen has played soccer since the age of 4, when she was coached by her dad on a YMCA team.
She stopped playing on co-ed teams in fifth grade, when she joined a select team in her hometown of Mequon, Wis.
She played on that team throughout high school and also ran track for her high school team.
Larsen and Baylor soccer face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma this weekend.