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Potsdam’s Crosson makes the transition

by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor

Photos courtesy of Potsdam Athletics

In high school if you’re good you play - and you play all the time. The same cannot be said when you enter college.

In college, everyone is good. Everyone was their best player in high school. They were used to playing in the all the games, and playing all the minutes. Not once in high school did a player like Postdam’s Makenna Crosson ever think about having to into a game.

But, that’s how college humbles a player. Not only are they thinking about having to play, they are also having to go out there and earn their spot every second, and every minute, of every day.

“It was a weird transition if I'm to be honest. In high school I never once thought about if I’d play in a game. And I never worried about starting or minutes because I knew my team needed me on the field,” stated Crosson. “I had to accept the fact that I was no longer that person and I needed to work hard to prove myself. I had to remind myself that I was only a freshman and that I had to keep the best interest of the team in mind. My time would come, it didn’t have to be right from the start.”

The East Aurora native quickly found her footing during her season on campus at Potsdam. There she was able to appear in 18 games with 10 starts. Being able to get play early helped her develop her game.

It allowed Crosson to work on the things that she needed to work on to be success on the pitch. The experience she gained as a freshman is something that she wouldn’t pass up for the world.

“It meant a lot to me to be able to get some good minutes my freshmen year. I came in not knowing anyone or how the team would play, and when I was put in it boosted my confidence,” stated Crosson. “It also allowed me to get a better feel for our style of play and it made me more comfortable on the ball during games.”

All the momentum she gained over the first two seasons came to a screeching halt last year when the soccer season was cancelled because of the global pandemic. Crosson went from playing, and practicing, every day, to trying to figure out what to do with her extra time.

Crosson would watch some soccer on television, but it just wasn’t the same. She had the itch to compete on the pitch, but knew she had to wait until this fall to get back on. When she finally did get back on the pitch this fall it was like a breath of fresh air.

She was excited to be able to go out there and compete with her teammates time and time again. It was something that she missed, but didn’t know how much she missed it until it was taken away.

“It was so nice to get back on the field after a year off. I was so excited to play again and to be in season,” stated Crosson. “During that year I really missed playing the game. I’d watch some soccer games on tv and just ache to be back on the pitch with my teammates. The time off gave me more motivation to put in the work over the summer so I could come back ready to play at my fullest potential.”

That was game back after the long layoff was a tough one, Crosson won’t lie to you. It’s like she hadn’t played in more than a year. it took a little while for her to get the rust off. But, once she did, it was like the old Crosson again.

She has been out there making plays all the season long for Potsdam. She is the player she wants to be out there on the pitch. Being on the smaller side, Crosson doesn’t let her size be a determining factor.

In fact, the 5-foot, one-inch forward/midfielder uses her smarts more on the pitch than ever before. She knows she can’t compete for balls in the air like some of her taller teammates, but she knows she needs to be constantly moving for her teammates to find her in the open space.

“I did feel a little rusty when I came back this fall. It was the longest time in my whole life that I hadn’t played soccer. Since I was little I’ve played soccer year round so I definitely did feel a bit rusty. But after preseason and a few weeks of practice I felt like my old self again. I was able to bounce right back and continue to play my game,” stated Crosson. “Because I’m short I can’t rely on my height to get balls in the air or to beat a bigger opponent. Instead I have to be smart in my movement. I have to make myself open to my teammates and get in front of the opponent so I have the best chance of winning the 50/50 ball. I have to constantly be on my toes and on the move so I can be an option for my teammates.”

Crosson has found success during her first three years at Potsdam, including scoring her first goal during her freshman season. During one of the first tournaments of the year, Potsdam was up big, but Crosson was determined to get on the scow sheet.

Being able to score that first goal early in her career has given Crosson the confidence that she can go out there and be a factor for her team.

“When I step on the pitch I am both nervous and excited. At first I’m more nervous but when the game begins I’m just excited and happy to be on the field. Once the whistle blows its second nature and I just play my game,” stated Crosson. “My first collegiate goal was during a tournament near my hometown my freshman year. We were already winning by a lot but I was determined to score. And when I finally did it felt so good. My whole team was cheering me on as well as my family. It was a great moment.”

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