A promising women’s soccer player is on her way to beat UTD’s all-time assist record of 29.
Junior forward Melissa Fulfer began this season with 18 assists, and after the first 10 games, has brought that number up to 25. Although she is quickly advancing up the leaderboard, Fulfer said she hasn’t been paying attention to her stats.
“When I’m playing, I don’t think about that at all,” Fulfer said. “I’m not really aware of it. I don’t know how many points I have or how many the record is. I just play.”
Women’s soccer head coach Kanute Drugan said the team is only keeping track of the record because other people keep reminding them.
“She really works hard at what she does,” Drugan said. “She makes a huge commitment to her self-process and a huge commitment to the team process.”
The women’s soccer team is currently 9-1 in their season with eight games left before the American Southwest Conference championship. Fulfer is tied for 10th place in season assists on the NCAA Division III leaderboard. She’s also tied for third in all-time assists at UTD.
Drugan said Fulfer and the rest of the team’s success was something that was taught through trial and error and not spontaneous. Senior defender Laurel Hansen said their coach’s management was another source of their triumph.
“(Drugan) didn’t let them be freshman,” Hansen said. “He treated them like everyone else on the team and I think that really helped all of them, including Melissa, be good leaders on the team.”
Both Hansen and Fulfer said they believe the younger players on the team will pass on this knowledge and continue getting better.
“I think that we have a really good group of girls coming in under us and I think they’ll be natural leaders,” Fulfer said.
Throughout her time at UTD, Fulfer said she’s developed her leadership skills. Becoming a team leader motivated her to be a better communicator on the field and helped her guide the rest of the team to better communication.
Fulfer is also a member of the women’s soccer Leadership Council, and on Aug. 1, she was elected to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which Drugan said is a reward for her commitment. Hansen said these positions and Fulfer’s attitude towards the team help make her a good role model for the younger players.
“She’s always there if you have questions,” Hansen said. “She’s always doing the right thing, always on time, always leading by example.”
Although Fulfer has focused on leading and building up the team rather than pursuing the all-time assist record, she did make her career goal very clear.
“We’re going to get a (championship) ring,” Fulfer said. “We’re gonna win.”