By Daniel Wallace
Senior goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst blocked, swatted down or caught 81.2 percent of the shots taken against the Bears this season.
Out of 20 games, Seelhorst did not let the ball get past her in nine games, tying her for the Big 12 lead in shutouts. On the season, the Bears’ opponents only scored 13 goals against Seelhorst the whole year.
She was undoubtedly a main factor in the Bears’ record-breaking 2011 season, but she is graduating in May.
Seelhorst, who hails from Plano, found a new passion and love for the game of soccer in her time at Baylor. She was a red-shirt freshman in 2008 and has had four surgeries on her left foot since that year.
The causes for her surgeries have been diverse, ranging from a chipped bone to a torn cartilage and a bone spur. Her multiple foot injuries have allowed her to spend an extra year, this past year, with the team. It has been an experience Seelhorst says she is thankful for but has mixed feelings about.
“I’m so glad I had this fifth year to play but I’m also pretty ready,” she said. “My body is kind of tired. It’s definitely bittersweet.”
One of the players who said she benefited most from Seelhorst’s presence on the team was her roommate. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Larissa Campos sought out Seelhorst for support and encouragement when dealing with injuries of her own.
“She was one of the people when I got hurt that I could connect with on that level,” she said. “She understood what I was going through. She never tried to force herself on me and always let me come to her when I needed anything but always was so supportive.”
In her first couple years in a Baylor uniform, Seelhorst admittedly struggled with her confidence and security on the team.
She said she was not always sure where she stood with the team and found it difficult never knowing how much playing time she would receive.
That time period flashed back to Seelhorst’s memories of high school, when she did not always enjoy playing the game. That, however, changed in the past two years and Seelhorst has found new passion for the game.
“It’s been such a cool thing for me because it has been a while since I really just loved playing, and I think these past two years I have been able to find that again,” she said. “Soccer has actually been fun and enjoyable and I remembered why I loved it.”
Head coach Marci Jobson said she has enjoyed seeing Seelhorst’s progression during her time at Baylor.
Since Jobson came in 2008, Seelhorst has matured greatly and that she has made herself into a leader for the team that cannot be replaced, Jobson said.
“When she realized we believed in her, she really started to fly,” she said. “Now she’s just a tremendous leader for us and she’s obviously a tremendous goalkeeper. She’s just very solid in her mentality, kind of ‘cool as ice’ sometimes. Not a lot bothers her; she has become a great leader for us.”
Seelhorst’s chill demeanor will be missed as she plans on pursuing a career in physical therapy, hoping to stay around athletics.
Last season she guided the Bears to a program record 11 shutouts and has started the past 40 games for the Bears.