The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

More Stories

Next level

Recent graduate Ehmer dominates college soccer
Alumna+Bree+Ehmer+plays+against+Lenoir-Rhyne+at+Florida+Institute+of+Technology+in+the+third+round+of+the+Division+II+NCAA+tournament+on+Dec.+1.
Trae Harell
Alumna Bree Ehmer plays against Lenoir-Rhyne at Florida Institute of Technology in the third round of the Division II NCAA tournament on Dec. 1.

Entering the locker room, 2022 graduate Bree Ehmer is met with disco lighting, music blasting and energetic dancing as the team engages in its pregame ritual. After dedicating a bulk of her young life to soccer, Ehmer committed to Catawba College’s women’s soccer team last spring where, by all accounts, she is currently thriving.
“I live each week waiting for it to be game day,” Ehmer said. “I love spending time with my teammates, doing pregame and going out there kicking other teams’ butts.”
Ehmer’s team went on a 14-game win streak to kick off her freshman season, which she calls an incredible experience.
“It’s such a surreal feeling,” Ehmer said. “Winning that many games in a row, especially at this level, is not unheard of, but [it’s] extremely difficult.”
Director of Athletic Communications at Catawba Drew Sandifer said Ehmer’s impact can be clearly seen through the team’s successes.
“She really came in and made an instant impact, which is saying a lot,” Sandifer said. “Catawba has recently become a real power in the southeast region, so it’s really rare for a freshman to come in and be the impact player that she’s been.”
Since Ehmer committed, Sandifer said the program gave her a warm welcome filled with excitement for what she had to bring.

“Last year when they signed her, Nick, her head coach, was bouncing off the walls,” Sandifer said. “Division II women’s soccer doesn’t quite have the recruiting profile that you’ll find in sports like men’s football, but we had a special feeling that [Ehmer] was one of the bigger recruits that Catawba was able to sign.”
Ehmer ranked third on her team in goals, scoring 11 this season. She was awarded Freshman of the Year in the Southern Atlantic Conference and was selected for the All-Conference first team.
“I feel extremely blessed to win Freshman of the year and to be on the All-Conference team,” Ehmer said. “This is an amazing achievement that makes me only want to strive to be better. Not many people get the opportunity I have, and I am grateful for getting this recognition. None of it would have been possible without the support and hard work from my teammates.”
Varsity girls’ soccer coach Jenny Pazderak, who coached Ehmer through high school, said [Ehmer’s committment] was an important moment for her.
“Having her set different records for school history, then taking her experiences from the high-school level to college makes you a proud coach,” Pazderak said.
As Catawba advanced though the playoffs, the team made school history by making it to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
“I felt ecstatic to be able to advance in the playoffs,” Ehmer said. “I was eager to keep moving on and striving to win that championship and earn that ring.”
In the third round of the NCAA tournament, Catawba faced Lenoir-Rhyne University at Florida Institute of Technology recently. Ehmer said the location was the most exciting part, as the game was played in her hometown.
“I never thought that I would be able to play collegiate soccer in the area where my soccer career originally started,” Ehmer said. “It was a surreal experience, and I will definitely remember it for the rest of my life.”
The place where Ehmer’s career began also became the place her freshman year came to a close, following the loss against Lenoir-Rhyne University on Dec. 1.
“It was sad that our season had come to an end and that we couldn’t win the national title,” Ehmer said. “However, the team had a great season, one of the best in the program, and we can only improve from here. I’m excited to see what next year holds for us and hopefully be able to outdo our last season.”
When describing the step up from high school to college soccer, Ehmer said she was surprised by the skill gap.
“It’s a major difference, especially in the speed of play,” Ehmer said. “You’re playing against adults and they’re a lot bigger and faster.”
Maci Pekmezian, who is a senior on Belmont University’s women’s soccer team and a former teammate of Ehmer, said this change was a major surprise coming into her freshman year.
“It’s definitely an adjustment because you don’t expect it,” Pekmezian said. “It’s not like anything you’ll see in club soccer. It’s ten times more difficult and the girls are just way better. However, once you get the hang of it, you can definitely adjust.”
Although Pekmezian had to improve her technicality moving up to Division I soccer, she said she was prepared academically.
“West Shore is obviously an academic school, so that definitely helped me ease into that aspect of college,” Pekmezian said. “I had a much easier time than anyone else when it comes to academics just because of my experiences in high school.
Athletics Director Tony Riopelle said he believes “nobody will prepare you better for anything than West Shore.”
“Out of all the alumni and the few athletes I’ve spoken with, I haven’t heard one say they weren’t prepared for college,” he said.
When it comes to the balance between school and soccer, Ehmer said it can be challenging but manageable.
“I don’t have as much free time as the average college student, but that doesn’t mean that I still can’t make the most of it,” Ehmer said. “It heavily requires me to have good time management skills and remain motivated to complete my work.
As an exercise science major with a concentration in sports medicine, Ehmer said soccer takes up most of her time.
“I get to do what I love every day, but pretty much my whole afternoon is spent down at the fields,” Ehmer said. “Trying to manage schoolwork and soccer can be difficult sometimes; but overall, I think it’s made my college experience better.”
Ehmer said “West Shore did a great job at preparing [her] for the student-athlete lifestyle.”
“College is no easier than the six years spent at the school,” Ehmer said. “It really comes down yo how much you’re willing to put into it, and that depends on the results you want to get.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Drew Newlin, Staff Writer
Hi! I’m Drew Newlin. I’m a sophomore and this is my first year as a Roar staff member. I’m really big into sports, whether it’s playing basketball, watching soccer, or attending a Jaguars game at EverBank stadium.