UNO’s Chelsi Rohloff finding her groove at UNO

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October 22nd, 2014

Omaha, NE – Chelsi Rohloff’s quest to play Division-I women’s college soccer has brought her back home again. Rohloff lettered in soccer for Papillion-La Vista High School and, in the process, managed to attract the attention of the Huskers in Lincoln.

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After signing a letter-of-intent to play at UNL, Rohloff appeared in five games during her freshman year, before transferring to UNO so that she could be closer to her family.

“It was tough, but it was for the best and honestly I’ve never been happier (than being) here,” Rohloff said.

Rohloff chose UNO for a fresh start in 2013. The Mavericks made the move to Division-I in 2011 and are in the process of slugging their way through a mandated five-year transition period per NCAA rules (UNO will be fully eligible for regular competition play next year). Rohloff said that by being closer to home, she has been able to devote more of her focus on perfecting her game.

Chelsi Rohloff leads the Summit League with nine goals and she is second  with 21 total points (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

Chelsi Rohloff leads the Summit League with nine goals and she is second with 21 total points (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

“Probably the most important thing is having my family there, and playing time, I just want to play,” Rohloff said. This way my family can come to the games.”

Rohloff says the Mavs team-oriented coaching style was more to her liking than the Huskers style of coaching. For example, she said UNL uses a designated team captain that calls the shots on everything from training to the games. At UNO, Rohloff said, the Mavs use an ‘all-for-one’ team -centered approach, with no designated captains.

“There was definitely a difference in style of play and the overall atmosphere (was different),” Rohloff said. “At Nebraska, it was very structured and the mentality was a lot different. Here it much more laid back and we’re expected to lead ourselves, basically.”

Rohloff said the coaching differences have allowed her to grow more as a team player. The stats seem to back that up – Rohloff now leads the Summit League in goals (9) and she is second in total points (21). At home field at UNO, Rohloff has been on fire. In five games at home this season, she has racked up three goals and three assists.

To top that off, her two goals – including a game winning goal, gave UNO a big victory on the road in Denver two weeks ago. Rohloff attributes her recent success on the field to the coaching she received over the past two years.

“I probably had my best year so far, this year,” Rohloff said. “I think it had a lot to do with Tim (Bennett), Coach Klosterman and Makenzie (Gillaspie) all combined, because they let us just play. They don’t expect us to be perfect and they allow us to make mistakes, (because) that is how you learn.”

Rohloff said UNO head coach Don Klosterman better understands her personal motivation and abilities. She said his trust in her has paid off.

“I think if you have a coach that is expecting certain things from you specifically, they don’t really let you have all that freedom, and then it’s a mental game at that point,” Rohloff said. “Now I’m not really thinking too much, if he lets me do my own thing, than I don’t think about it. I think that’s huge, because a lot of time you can get inside your own head as an athlete and that can really mess you up.”

Rohloff gushes when she talks about the current team. After UNO suffered two separate five game losing streaks in 2013, they picked themselves up last spring and it has paid off this year.

“I’ve never been on a team that I have been this proud of, only because last year we were so mentally out of it and we lost almost every game,” Rohloff said. “All of us came together and sort of put the past behind us and we are building. And I am proud of the girls for not giving up and not ever putting our heads down.”

UNO is 4-9-2 this year overall and 2-0-2 in the Summit League, good for fourth place. The Mavs play their final two home games of the season this weekend. Friday they take on Fort Wayne at 7pm and Sunday it’s a 12pm start for a match-up with Oral Roberts. Both games will be played at Caniglia Field on the campus of UNO.

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