Joseph Dodson, Contributing Writer
Standing at 5-foot-3, junior midfielder Samantha Jerabek does not score many header goals. But at Pittsburgh in early September, she used her head to score a game-winner in the 80th minute.
“I’m not usually the one to head balls in the air,” Jerabek said.
Last season, Jerabek was selected to the A-10 all conference team. She led the Rams with 11 goals and 7 assists last season and remains focused on winning this season.
“I think I’ve been getting in my head trying just to score, score, score, score,” Jerabek said. “But I’ve been thinking about this season just trying to win — scoring has been an obstacle.”
In Jerabek’s most recent outing, she scored twice and provided senior defender Susanna Friedrichs with an assist to lead the Rams in a 5-1 away win against George Mason.
Junior defender Karen Lohrmann plays the left-back position behind Jerabek, who is on the wing. Their connection has grown over the course of the season.
“It’s great playing with her on the left, I feel really comfortable with her,” Lohrmann said. “I know that I can play the ball to her feet, or play the long ball.”
Jerabek has racked up four goals and three assists to help the Rams to a 7-3-1 record. Jerabek credits a supportive atmosphere among her teammates and coaches off the field to their success on the field.
“We’ve been a really close team,” Jerabek said. “Before each game, we hug each other out and tell each other we can do this.”
Jerabek grew up 15 miles south of Richmond in Chesterfield, Virginia. At Clover Hill High School, she won Conference Player of the Year twice. She also was named All-Metro first team. As an only child, Jerabek grew close with her parents, who encouraged her soccer career.
“They are very supportive. They come to every single game, even the away games,” Jerabek said. “My dad always sends me a before-game message to pump me up.”
Coach Lindsey Martin has seen Jerabek transform from a defensive role her freshman year into one of VCU’s top offensive threats.
“Her ability to go at players time and time again throughout a 90-minute game is relentless,” Martin said. “She may be unlike any other attacking player I have ever coached. … She’ll wear you down.”
Martin has seen Jerabek help the team in more ways than just scoring this season. She says Jerabek continues to create chances for her teammates and plays in a way that keeps her comfortable and confident.
“She is creating a lot of opportunities for other people,” Martin said.