Lisa Kemp kicked her first soccer ball 18 years ago and fortunately for the Aggies, she never stopped.
Kemp earned a starting spot her sophomore year and she has started every game since. She led the Aggies in scoring her junior year, totaling five goals on the season.
UC Davis is only halfway through their season and Kemp has already matched her five goal record from last year. She took some time off from scoring goals to sit down with Aggie Sports Writer Kim Carr and reflect on her time as an Aggie and to look forward to what she still hopes to accomplish.
You’re from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. How in the world did you end up at Davis?
I know! It’s a really random story but basically I have a lot of family in California and I don’t really like the cold weather. I kind of liked the idea of moving around so I ended up here.
How long have you been playing soccer?
I’ve been playing since I was four so that’s 18 years now.
This is your last year as an Aggie. What are your personal goals for the season?
It’s kind of a personal goal and a team goal. My ultimate goal would to make the Big West Tournament so finishing top four in conference is definitely the number one goal.
Coach Robinson really wants to see the Aggies in the tournament too. What does the team need to do to make that happen?
Well we need to be consistent. That’s our biggest issue because there’s some days where we will show up with a ton of energy and we’ll have a great outcome but the days where we don’t have as much energy – it’s not always as positive. Our main issue is consistency so if we can manage that I think we have a definite chance.
You and Allison Kelly are back and forth for leading scorer this season and several of your teammates have multiple goals. What’s your offense doing differently this year to create all this productivity?
I think we have a lot more experience, which is the main thing that’s helped us out. I think a lot more people are more confident and more comfortable taking the hard shots or passing it to whoever and trusting that they will finish the opportunity. We believe in each other more.
You have played a lot of minutes this year. How are you feeling fitness-wise?
Fitness-wise I feel pretty good. There’s always a bit of a hump in the middle of the season that you have to get over but I think I’ve gotten over it and I’m feeling pretty good.
There are several key seniors on your team this year, with you, defender Aisha Lott, your goalie Maria Magana and others. Where do you see the Aggies going next year when all of you have graduated?
I think it’s going to be really exciting because we have a lot of girls on the team who aren’t getting as much time right now because they’re young and the seniors are playing more but they match us just as well in practice and everything else so I think that even though Davis is losing a lot of players we’re going to bring in a lot of fresh faces and I don’t think it will drop the program at all.
What was it like to earn your first conference win over UC Riverside – a team the Aggies had never beaten before?
That was big for us because it’s always been really frustrating playing them. We always felt like we were the better team without a doubt but for whatever reason we were never been able to finish it out against them [prior to this season]. So going down there we really, really, really wanted to win it, especially the seniors.
What has been your favorite moment of the season so far?
Probably tying [UC] Irvine just because last year it didn’t go so well and they’re known as the top-dogs in the conference. Even though we wanted to win, it set a good tone that ‘we’re here and we can compete with you guys.’
What are you most proud of this season?
I’m most proud of our ability to play together and we just have a lot of really good positive energy and a lot of really good team dynamic this year. I think that’s helped us a lot and it’s been playing into what we’ve been doing. I’m definitely happy with the positive attitude and the cohesion on the team.
You’re graduating with a major in sociology. What are your plans after Davis?
I have no idea [laughs]. I have no plans as of right now other than to maybe travel.
Well let’s talk about your time at Davis. Did you have a favorite class?
Beer and Brewing is always a fun one. Human Sexuality is fun because you have a lot of friends in your class and it’s not too heavy of a workload.
Well if you could meet any professional athlete who would it be?
Kevin Garnett. Without a doubt.
KIM CARR can be reached at theaggie.org.