For senior forward Megan Mugavero and senior defender Sam Konstanty, this season is a season of lasts — last home game, last road trip and the last time they’ll take the field representing UTD.
At first, Konstanty didn’t try to make too much of the fact he was entering the final year of his collegiate career, but he said it has become increasingly harder as games pass.
“(I) have constant reminders that (my) career here is almost over, which has turned out to be more difficult to accept than I previously expected,” he said. “In terms of approach, I initially was focusing only on myself and working hard to make sure I had a great last season to end on. As practices go by, I’m really just trying to enjoy this last season while working hard and encouraging our younger teammates since they will be the future of this team after our seniors graduate.”
Konstanty said he has sought out advice from former teammates on dealing with his last year.
“I’ve talked to Omar Jaroun, Brian Childs and Travis White about it a bit, who were my role models on the field as a younger player,” he said. “They just encouraged me to enjoy my last year since the competition … is nearly nonexistent after college.”
Mugavero said what she’ll miss the most about her soccer career is taking the field with 30 of her closest friends every night of the week. She said she’s trying to find something else to fill the vacancy that soccer will leave behind.
“One of my former teammates told me CrossFit is a fun, good workout to fill that competitive void,” she said. “From what I’ve seen, you just have to dive into your (professional) career and find new passions after your athletic career ends.”
A 1-1 overtime thriller against Tyler in 2014 quickly came to Mugavero’s mind as one of the most memorable moments she’s experienced in her time at UTD. She would end up notching the equalizer in front of a packed home crowd of 600 people.
But she said she would also like to be remembered for how she conducted herself on the field, beyond the goals and assists.
“My playing time here throughout my career has been very exciting with challenges and victories among them,” Mugavero said. “If someone looked back at my time here, I would want them to remember me as someone who was always fun to be around and could keep everyone calm on the field.”
For Konstanty, an event that sticks out from his playing time didn’t even happen on the field.
“(My freshman year) I went to a steakhouse with some of the upperclassmen on our preseason trip to California,” he said. “That night was amazing for me as it helped me feel like a part of the starting team and really made me less nervous to play with those upperclassmen who can be intimidating as a freshman.”
Despite all the fun trips and hard fought games, Konstanty said nothing quite compared to winning the ASC tournament last year.
“After (Joe Weber) saved that last penalty against Tyler there was just a feeling of elation and every guy on the team was screaming and laughing,” he said. “It was definitely the most united we had ever been and it was simply an amazing feeling that can’t quite be put into words.”
Konstanty admitted he was never the most skillful or flashiest player on the team, but he said he played his role and put in the effort every time he took the field. He said he’ll miss competing alongside his teammates the most.
“I know (that) after this season it will feel weird not seeing my teammates every day,” he said.