April 2, 2013
Just four years ago, 3000 miles separated them. Now when they leave Siena, they are closer than ever. Tuesday night's match against No. 20 Hartwick will mark the final home game for seniors: Rebecca Robinson, Cally Timm, and Stephani Pouder, the Siena water polo class of 2013. Collectively they have accounted for 38 team wins, 111 goals, 93 assists, and 179 steals, but the moments that have meant the most to them did not come in the water.
"I think I enjoy the time with the team the most," goalie Stephani Pouder said. "We don't pick each other as teammates we kind of molded into becoming people that care for each other a lot. The fun memories like team bonding are the moments I'm going to remember more than playing time."
Pouder, herself originates from Orland Park, Illinois, a city just 38 minutes from Chicago, but over 13 hours from Loudonville. Entering the next step of her life and coming to Siena, she didn't really know anyone, so she had to rely on the collection of people that she would spend most of her waking days with, her teammates.
"I was nervous coming in, not knowing anybody," she said. "It helped knowing you're going to have a team, basically immediate friends, that you could go talk to or sit with or little things like that. I think coming from far away knowing that you have those people already eased it a little bit."
Timm, who traveled over 3000 miles to enroll at Siena, also depended on the set group of players to ease the transition, and shape who she would later become when she would graduate.
"You have someone there to push you," Timm said. "It's a lot harder to get stuff done when its just you, but when you're on a team, you have people rooting you on, cheering for you, and pushing you to do your best."
Robinson is the closest of the three, driving just four hours away in Sinking Spring, Pa. Even though her quest was not as far as others, she displayed the normal feelings of living in a strange surrounding.
"Its scary especially because you lived with your parents for your whole life," Robinson said. "My teammates definitely helped me acclimate. We ate meals together, they would text me, they would tell me to come over to their houses and it made the adjustment really easy."
But now it is time for them to move on. Their season only lasts two more weekends, three if they make the conference playoffs, and in less than two months, they will have those coveted diplomas. The three intend to use their various experiences at Siena to find their future callings.
Robinson wishes to use what she learned to give back and to teach others. Already a certified to be a teacher, she had the opportunity to study abroad, a time that shaped her life.
"It was the best thing that's ever happened to me," she said. "It showed me what else is out there and how lucky I am, most people didn't have the same opportunities as I had and I would like to give back."
Timm and Pouder want to stay in the athletic field. An English major, Timm wants to incorporate the writing and the athletics fields, mainly in a nutrition magazine.
Pouder also wants to stay in the athletic way of life, aspiring to work in the fitness and nutrition industry.
"I can't really take the athlete out of me because I think its such a big piece to who I am now," she said. "I don't think that if I didn't have Siena I would have that direction that I want to go in. I'm really grateful for that."
Entering their next big step in their lives, the three members will grab the lessons learned from forming and developing their team community to help them succeed in whatever they do.
"You have to learn to work well with others despite the differences you might have with them," Pouder said. "I think its really going to help going into the job world. You can't pick your co-workers [but]have to try and reach a goal with them ."
No matter what direction they pick, or how many miles distance wise they end up, Siena's class of 2013 will always be close.
"It has helped me to find who I am and grow," Timm said. "Since I live so far away in California, there is no really getting back in the car and driving back home if I had a bad day. That teaches you the mental toughness, if something doesn't go right just push through it and it will get better. There is so many great people that I know here who have helped me get through some tough times."