Chelsea Semper ’21 of Swarthmore Field Hockey is our Athlete of the Week after scoring three goals against Cabrini University on September 18. Chelsea attended Watchung Hills High School in Millington, New Jersey, before coming to Swarthmore, and she’s a biology major, as well as an English and environmental studies double minor. Chelsea followed up her three-goal performance by scoring another goal in a tight, overtime loss to Dickinson. The team plays at home next against Eastern University on October 2.
Neel Gupta: Tell me your major, hometown, and position.
Chelsea Semper: I’m a biology major, English and environmental studies double minor, my hometown is Millington, New Jersey, and my position is center back (defense)
NG: Is three goals the most you’ve scored in a college match? What was going right for you and the team against Cabrini?
CS: Three goals is actually more goals than I’ve scored in my entire field hockey career. I’ve always been a defender, even in high school, so I rarely get the chance to even shoot one goal, let alone actually score. The entire Cabrini game I was convinced I was dreaming because I didn’t think it was possible for me to be scoring that much! I am the inserter for our attacking penalty corners this year, so I’ve actually gotten the chance to take some shots on goal. During the Cabrini game, I got a few good tips on cross shots from the top of the circle and was able to score all three of my goals that way.
NG: How has stepping into a leadership role on the team this year gone?
CS: It’s been really exciting being a captain on the team this year! Thus far this season, this role has helped me find confidence in my knowledge of the game and own playing abilities, as well as pushed me to be the best player I can be for my teammates. In the past, I’ve always been a quieter, lead-by-example type of player, but this year I feel like I have been encouraged to find my voice. I get the opportunity to mentor my underclassmen teammates, and simultaneously they are teaching me how to speak up and be a vocal leader on and off the field.
NG: What do you think will be key to your individual success and the team’s success this year?
CS: I think the key to my individual success will be keeping a level head and remaining composed and confident on the field. My personal goal is to find that mental toughness to be that pillar of stability others can lean on when times get rough during games or in practice. For the team, I think our success lies in getting more experience playing together. We have a very young team this year where half of our players are first years, but the pieces are slowly coming together as we sync up more and more with each game, and I can’t wait to see how tight of a unit we will be by the end of the season.
NG: What do you think your biggest strength is as a player?
CS: I think my biggest strength as a player is my persistence and determination. I am extremely hard on myself and an absolute perfectionist, and that keeps me driven to never settle for “good enough.” I am always putting in my full effort to improve because I feel like I owe it to myself and to my teammates to be the best version of myself I can be, and because playing with that level of focus and intensity is what I find most enjoyable. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than reflecting on the past and seeing how far I have come, and how my hard work has helped improve the team as a whole.