Defender’s return energizes Bears

No. 9 senior defender Hannah Dismuke launches a corner kick for her teammates. Dismuke leads Baylor soccer with seven assists this season.
Matthew McCarroll | Lariat Photographer

By Daniel Wallace
Sports Writer

After her first practice in second grade, senior defender Hannah Dismuke made up her mind about her future.

She was done with soccer. She was convinced she did not want to play because she hated the feeling of the shin guards she was forced to wear. Lucky for Baylor, her parents’ encouraged young Dismuke to push through the pain of wearing the shin guards and from that point she was dedicated to the game she grew to love.

The Katy native blossomed into a premiere player at the forward position. She came to Baylor in 2008 as a true freshman, after club soccer in high school and participation in the Olympic Development Program.

After the 2008 season, the Baylor soccer team lost a number of good defensive players and Dismuke was eager to fill the role. She emailed head coach Marci Jobson when the season was over and stated that if the team needed more defenders, she’d be more than willing to give it a shot.

She worked on her defense all spring of 2009 and fell in love with the position. By the time the 2009 fall season started, Dismuke was a fully converted defender. It is a role she has embraced the past three years and says it just fits her personality as a player well.

“There’s a different pressure that comes along with a defender because if you make one mistake, it’s a goal,” she said. “As opposed to a forward, you have the midfielders and defenders behind you to defend as well. I really like that pressure knowing that if I make one mistake it could cost us the game. I think that keeps me on my toes and keeps me playing at my best at all times.”

Junior midfielder Hanna Gilmore, who played on the same club team as Dismuke in high school, said she enjoys watching her play because of the way she combines her defensive position with the aggressiveness of a forward.

“It’s fun to watch her because you can tell she has the attacking mindset, but as a defender,” she said.

After her sophomore year, Dismuke faced a new challenge. Shortly into the offseason, she broke her foot and had a fractured fifth metatarsal. She was advised by her doctor not to have surgery and to just wait it out, and a typical two-month injury turned into a six to seven month injury. Last year, she had to work hard to get her fitness level back to up to par after the injury and said she feels like this year she was back to 100 percent. From the injury, Dismuke learned that there is more to soccer than the 90 minutes of play on the field.

“It just helped me realize that soccer just isn’t a sport but there’s a family involved with it,” she said. “There’s passion. It’s an outlet.”

That family is her teammates. Although Dismuke has played her last game at Betty Lou Mays Field, she will still be there in the fall, cheering on her family. The entrepreneurship major plans to graduate in December 2012.

Coach Jobson said she has admired Dismuke’s journey and progression throughout her years at Baylor. Jobson believes Dismuke has grown tremendously in every aspect of the game, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

“Hannah has really progressed since she was a freshman,” she said. “She grew into an awesome marking back; she’s one of our biggest threats on set pieces. She really matured emotionally and became a very solid, hard-nosed player for us.”

Dismuke leads the team with seven assists this season, the most since Megan Sherrell’s seven in 2007.