Sportswoman of the week: Katie Sullivan’s offense takes women’s football to new heights
As the 2021 preseason ended for Hopkins football, nerves began to beat for then-rookie forward Katie Sullivan. After a successful high school career, the transition to the college level was one she looked forward to but also felt uncertain about.
Those doubts quickly evaporated as women’s soccer took on Randolph-Macon College and the University of Mary Washington to open the 2021 season. Sullivan scored goals in the first two games of her career.
Those two games would set the tone for her entire career up to that point. After scoring eight points in two wins last week, Sullivan was named the Centennial Conference Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week.
Sullivan started in 19 of 20 games last season and has a total of 25 points with 10 goals and 5 assists this year. Sullivan also scored several winning goals last season as women’s football ended in a staggering 16-2-2 record.
She became the eighth Hopkins freshman selected for the first All-Centennial team. She was also named Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined last season going the way she did.
In conversation with the newsletter, Sullivan reflected on her outstanding season as a freshman and how this year will unfold into another incredible campaign for her and the team.
“My approach was, ‘I just want to be a starter and contribute to the team,'” she said. “I didn’t think I could achieve that.”
In just six games this season, Sullivan has seven goals and three assists for a total of 17 total points. She attributes her success to the atmosphere of the team.
“The team is always happy to welcome new players. In high school, teams look at freshmen as a kind of “bottom of the barrel” and make you seem like you’re not that important,” she said. “When I went to college everyone was equal and they respect how everyone plays.”
Last season, she only had five assists this year. Her coaches approached her this summer and told her some new team-mates with great crossing skills were joining the club. Sullivan took the opportunity to work on her refinement.
The work has paid off as she is certainly on track to surpass her assist totals from last year.
With her performance earlier in the season, it’s safe to say she’s in a zone: a zone that all athletes tap into when they reach a track of excellence. According to Sullivan, however, this track is a little different.
“I was pretty good at the beginning of the season, but I wouldn’t say I was in that area,” she said. “Now I have the confidence of my past performances and that has helped me really get into the zone.”
As one of the best teams in the conference, Sullivan and the team know what it’s like to play every game with a goal on your back.
“We know that the teams will do their best against us. At the beginning of the season we struggle to start strong, but we’ve definitely improved in that regard,” she said.
Women’s football remains undefeated this year and boasts a 4-0-2 record. Despite losing the NCAA tournament last year, Sullivan is optimistic about the team’s potential.
“In the Carnegie Mellon game, we were down twice and came back twice to tie the game,” she said. “I think that shows how resilient we are. Sometimes that’s hard to overcome in a game, and last year we struggled with that. But after this game, I believe this can be a successful year for us.”
With Sullivan at the forefront of such a dynamic attack, the sky really is the limit.