When it comes to college, most freshmen are just trying to fit in. They are trying to get used to being on their own for the first time. Trying to get used college life.
As a college athlete freshman year could be a wasted year. Some freshmen are asked to redshirt, while others get so little playing time it’s like redshirting anyway. Not many college freshmen have impact years.
By the time they get accustomed to everything on and off the field, the season as slipped away.
That’s what makes the freshman year by Canisius’ Gretta Dry that much more impressive. While other freshmen were finding their way, Dry was making a name for herself for the Griffs. She appeared in 17 games with 14 starts.
The fact she was able to start so many games shows the type of player the soccer team was getting. Dry was a standout at Lockport High School and made the decision to come to Canisius when other schools were knocking on her door.
“Freshman year was a whirlwind. It went by so fast but it was one of the best experiences in my life,” stated Dry. “I think a lot of my success came from my work ethic. I never gave up or settled. I didn't start at first, which pushed me to even try harder. I was successful because I came out everyday wanting to prove more of myself.”
Used to starting during her career at Lockport, Dry had to get used to a different role. Coming off the bench isn’t easy for many players, especially if they are used to starting all the time. It takes a different mentality to come off the bench and contribute.
As a starter you have time to get in a flow of the game. When you come off the bench you’re asked to contribute right away. The only benefit of coming off the bench is you get to see the game from a different perspective.
You get to see the different things the other teams is doing, and then use those differences to your advantage.
“Coming off the bench you get the opportunity to see the game play out. You can focus on the defense and how they play,” stated Dry. “Also, you get the chance to go into the game and fix all the mistakes the starters made. You get the opportunity to listen to the coaches orders and prove you are the one who can get the job done.”
Getting the job done is something Dry did often. To her own admission, she started the season out a little slow - lacking the confidence that was needed to compete at the Division I level. As the season went on, however, Dry found the same confidence, and game, she had in high school.
Once her game starting clicking, she became a great weapon for the Griffs.
“I think personally coming into my freshmen year I lacked confidence. So I started out a bit slow, but overtime I finally settled into the speed of the game,” stated Dry. “I was surprised at first but after that I didn't think about starting or not starting There are only two things you can control as a player and that is your work ethic and attitude. So if you have those in line, starting games comes along with it.”
Work ethic is something that Dry brings to the table. She knew she wanted to be an impact player as soon as she stepped on the pitch at Canisius. To do that, however, it meant working hard during the offseason.
When everyone was taking it easy after graduation, Dry continued to put in the hard work to make herself better. Even after a successful freshman campaign, Dry didn’t stop getting better.
She played with the WNY Flash in the UWS. She even played a different positions - getting out of her comfort zone.
“During the off season I played with the Western New York Flash in the UWS. Personally I didn't focus on one thing to work on. I never settle for good, so I worked on all aspects of my game trying to improve in anyway I can,” explained Dry. “For the Flash I played a different position, which allowed my to be open to new ideas and develop as a player. I think the best way to improve your game is to watch professional games. You learn so much as a player watching the best of the best. I always get new ideas from it.”
Getting new ideas could be scary for others teams in the MAAC. Many players, let along freshmen, would take eight goals and 20 points in a season. Deep down, though, Dry knows she can do better.
She knows that if she didn’t get off to a slow start those numbers would be better. They brought her in to score goals and that’s what she is going to do.
A lot of players shy away from having to be the person to score and lead the team. They can’t take the pressure. Dry doesn’t worry too much if she scores or if she doesn’t. She lets the game come to her.
“As forward your number one job is to score goals. With that comes along a lot of pressure and let downs. When you score you are the hero but as soon as you don't you feel the burden that you let your team down. You can’t dwell on not scoring. Personally I don't get caught up with scoring a goal every game. There is so much more to a strikers game.I try to focus on my defending and making runs to distract the defense for someone else on my team as the opportunity to score. Once your main focus isn't scoring, finding the net comes easy.
It seems last year everything came easy for Dry, but maybe it was just the fact she was able to play in front of friends and family. Sometimes going away for college isn’t a good idea.
Sure you are experiencing a different kind of life, but you also don’t get the comforts of home when you need it. Playing is front of family and friends sometimes relaxes you, which allows you to play better.
“Its awesome to have the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends. That is the main reason I choose Canisius,” stated Dry. “I am a family orientated person so to have my family at all my home games means a lot to me. I wouldn't be where I am today without them.”
If her freshman year was any indication, Canisius and Dry should be in for a great year.