“I remember being speechless,” said Sara Escobedo, senior public relations major and goalie for the women’s soccer team at California Baptist University. “I never expect anything, especially from the NCAA, so it’s super humbling and surreal.”
Over the summer, the NCAA awarded the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year title to Escobedo. From first playing soccer at four years old to a junior at CBU in the 2016 season, Escobedo boasted six shutouts, the most in the women’s conference. She also started all 18 games for CBU and had 74 saves.
Kristen St. Clair, head coach for women’s soccer, said that Escobedo has excelled in all of the aspects that goalies inherently possess.
“The goalkeeper position naturally requires leadershp, organization and communication intangibles; however, goalies vary at how well they execute these apects,” said St. Clair. “Sara excels in these areas and has worked very hard to grow as a player, teammate, and leader.”
Without the help of her teammates, Escobedo said she believes she would not have won the award.
“My teammates are my greatest inspiration. When one person works hard, all of us work hard and it’s like a domino effect,” Escobedo said.
St. Clair said that Escobedo brings strong leadership to her teammates.
“Sara possesses a servant leadership style that puts her teammates first. She is there to encourage, hold accountable, and lead on and off the field.”
Desarae Felix, junior history major, midfield and team captain, said not only is Escobedo a talented player but a friend with a likeable personality, as well.
“She tells the weirdest jokes, and if you’re going to high-five her, it’s a hand hug,” Felix said. “She says a lot of ‘your mom’ jokes, even though I’m pretty sure that (those jokes) died out a long time ago.”
Felix also said that Escobedo is the best goalkeeper in the PacWest Conference and that she will prove it this season.
“She stops everything,” Felix said. “You know she’s the best when at practice we can’t score goals.”
St. Clair said the award is deserved because of Escobedo’s consistency in stats and performance on the field.
“Sara has consistently executed and performed well over the past four years putting her team in a position to be successful,” St. Clair said. “I believe she is and has been the best goalkeeper in the conference and the West region over the last three years.”
For the upcoming season, Escobedo said she has high expectations for not only herself but her team.
“The goal is to always strive to win a championship. We have a really talented group of girls and I’m confident we can get there this season. As a senior, I want to go out with a bang.”