Player profile: Paige Polonus
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An unexpected leader is showing great potential in her sophomore year at UIS. Paige Polonus is in the net for UIS this season, while she isn’t able to score goals; she plays an important role in UIS’ defense.
Polonus hails from Plainfield, Ill., where she found her passion for soccer. Playing for over ten years, she has played both club and high school varsity soccer, making her a prime candidate for UIS goalkeeper.
During her freshman year at UIS, Polonus began playing goalkeeper – playing every single minute of the game. Now as a sophomore, she continues to play just as much each game with a total of 469 minutes of playing time this season.
Last year, Polonus had a total of 88 saves and so far this season she has had 45 in a total of six games with a save percentage of .882.
Compared to last year’s season high of nine saves, Polonus has hit a season high of 12 saves, twice this season.
Polonus decided to come to UIS after being recruited by the previous coaching staff under Pete Kowall. She felt that she worked well with the team, which also influenced her decision. Outside of soccer, Polonus said that she liked the size of UIS, saying, “It’s not too big and not too small.”
After earning her degree in biology at UIS, Polonus hopes to become a physician assistant. In order to do so, she plans to continue her education in an accredited program for P.A.s.
On Friday nights, the students and the Blue Crew cheer throughout the game, encouraging the players. This is something that Polonus enjoys about the game atmosphere.
Polonus also says she enjoys working with her team, saying, “We’re similar and have the same goals.” She enjoys spending time together on and off the field. However, says that the team as whole knows when they need to be serious.
Polonus feels as if it is her responsibility to direct other players because she has the advantage of being able to see the entire field, stating that it is a “different role for me since I’m the goalie, because I get to see most of the field so I have to be vocal and I have to be loud and organize everyone and tell them where to go.”
As a sophomore, many are impressed with Polonus’ leadership. While she continues to contribute to the team defensively, she can keep the team working together, and working hard. Even as an underclassman, she embodies leadership skills, knowing that as the goalie she must continue to contribute to benefit the team throughout the season.