There’s more to the Colorado Buffaloes soccer team than star player Nikki Marshall, and senior goalkeeper Kara Linder has proven it this season.
Linder has twice been named the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week while Marshall has yet to receive such an honor this season. This isn’t a shot at Marshall as more of what else there is on the team besides her.
Although the Buffs are 7-6 this season, they are 4-1 in conference play and Linder has been right smack in the middle of CU’s success. Of Linder’s four shutouts this season, three have been against Big 12 foes.
CU Independent sports editor Cheng Sio and Linder got together for 20 questions as the Buffs gear up for a Big 12 title run.
CUI: Why do you like soccer?
Kara Linder: I like soccer because I get to come out here and be competitive every day. I don’t know what I’m going to do after soccer, but it’s definitely fun.
CUI: Do you call this sport soccer or fútbol?
KL: I call it soccer because it’s what I grew up doing, I guess.
CUI: Your brother, Luke, goes to the University of Nebraska. Does he tease you about playing for the rival?
KL: No, he only talks about football. He’s a huge Huskers football fan, so we always get into it about that.
CUI: Does anyone else in Boulder or Lincoln, Neb., since that’s where you were born and raised, give you grief about coming here?
KL: No, not really.
CUI: So far, how has this season been?
KL: Rocky patches because we’ve struggled on the road, but we have four games left to prove ourselves on the road.
(The team is 6-1 at Prentup Field, but is 1-5 in neutral and road games.)
CUI: In your first three years, you had to share the goalie position with Kirstin Radlinski. Now that she’s graduated and the job is yours, what is your mindset now compared to when you had to share the position?
KL: The last three years, we definitely competed every single day in practice and then we shared a lot of game time. This year is a lot different not having her around. But there’s also Kelly Moore, who’s a freshman, and I enjoy training with her every day too.
CUI: Have you ever seen as many soccer balls in one game such as the 27 shots Santa Clara took against you a couple of weeks ago?
KL: Yeah, I have before. Coming from Nebraska, we’d go and play a lot of big teams at regionals.
CUI: When Nikki Marshall is having one of her scoring binges such as her four-goal game last Friday against Oklahoma, how much easier does it make your job?
KL: It doesn’t make my job necessarily easier. Even though you’re standing around, you still got to be on the top of your game.
CUI: Does it make it tougher to focus and concentrate if nothing is coming your way?
KL: I guess it’s harder but that’s the way the game is played.
CUI: What is your most memorable moment on the soccer field?
KL: It would have to be when we beat Texas A&M in the Big 12 tournament my freshman year.
CUI: What is your most embarrassing moment on the soccer field?
KL: I have plenty. I would have to say when I mess up on goals that should’ve never gone in.
CUI: Being a goalie at CU, have you ever scored a goal in your entire life?
KL: Yeah, I have. I used to play the field a lot in high school. If I wasn’t playing goalie, I’d play forward.
CUI: Do you remember how many goals you have scored?
KL: I don’t remember. It’s like really sporadic when it does go in and we’d always be winning 4-0 or something.
CUI: When you score, is it like one big celebration?
KL: Oh yeah. It’s really funny. Everyone gets a kick out of it.
CUI: If you could stop a shot from any five people in the world in a penalty kick situation, who would they be?
KL: Nikki Marshall, [Zinedine] Zidane, [volunteer assistant coach] Stephen [Hoogerwerf], [senior defender] Carly Peetz from Nebraska and Mia Hamm.
CUI: How would you describe yourself?
CUI: What is your favorite movie?
KL: My favorite movie would have to be Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.
CUI: Word association – Boulder? Lincoln? Winning a Big 12 Championship?
KL: Pretty. Football. Awesome
CUI: After college, will you play soccer professionally or will you enter the real world?
KL: That decision is up in the air, I guess. I don’t know. I’m kind of just focusing on graduating right now and then see where life takes me.
CUI: What will you miss most when your collegiate career at CU comes to an end?
KL: Definitely my teammates, being a student-athlete and just being competitive every day.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Cheng Sio at Cheng.Sio@colorado.edu.