Freshmen phenoms making a difference in fall sports

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McGovern (left) and Gasser (right) are all off to a hot start. Photos via SHU Athletics.

While Jonathan Jiminez, Siobhan McGovern and Haylee Gasser all play different sports at Seton Hall, they are connected in the immediate impact they have made on their respective teams this season.

Starting on the pitch for men’s soccer, freshman Jiminez is at the top of the stat sheet for his team. The forward is tied for second on in goals, as he has scored two this season, one being a game-winner. Jiminez has also put up four assists for his teammates and has started 12 of the 13 games played.

Jiminez even won Big East Freshman of the Week following his three-point performance against Marquette that resulted in a 2-0 win on Oct. 1. He made the first goal in the sixth minute, and went on to assist Francisco Alderete in the 53rd minute for his first career goal.

“It was good,” Jiminez said on his three-point outing. “I just played my game, and the whole team was playing well. It was extremely motivating, and we got the win.”

The honor was the first individual nod for the men’s soccer team this season, alongside sophomore Andres Arcila, who has received multiple weekly honor roll achievements.
“I was shocked, and then I got really excited,” Jiminez said of the Big East honor “It just made me motivated to work harder.”

A player who has put up two game-winning goals this season is McGovern of the women’s soccer team. What made the goals clutch is that they both came in overtime.
“It was definitely really rewarding, it was a good feeling to help the team win,” McGovern said.

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McGovern is tied at the top of her team with two goals on the season and is third on the team with four points. She has started in 13 of the 14 games played, which has brought a welcomed responsibility to the freshman forward/midfielder. She’s had a mindset of a workhorse from the start.

“I was trying to make the biggest impact I could coming into the program,” McGovern said. “I didn’t really expect anything, I wasn’t expecting anything to be given to me, so just to work as hard as I can to earn a role on the team.”

Even with the big performances and earning a rotation spot, Big East weekly honors came as a surprise to McGovern.

“It was definitely very exciting,” McGovern said. “I didn’t even know that was something you could get, so I was excited to get something.”

On the volleyball court, Gasser is the new addition turning heads. The freshman has stepped up in a middle blocker role that was left wide open with the exit of Amanda Hansen.

“I knew coming in that I had big shoes to fill because of Amanda leaving,” Gasser said. “Being a freshman, I wasn’t sure of how the team would receive me or how I would perform. I have found a place on this team and I feel good about what I am doing.“

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Jonathan Jiminez has scored two goals for his team. Photo via SHU Athletics.

Gasser’s big star performance came on a sweep of Georgetown on Sept. 27. She put up a career-high 10 kills to just one attack error, giving her a team-high .429 attack percentage. She also had three blocks and two digs to add.

“It always feels awesome to contribute to winning games,” Gasser said. “I am a very competitive person so I love to win and so does my team.”

Other freshmen have been stepping up as fall sports have progressed at Seton Hall. As the swimming and diving season has kicked off, all five individual wins in a meet against West Virginia were notched by freshmen. Male swimmer Tyler Kauth won Big East swimmer of the Week following his first-place finish in the 200m backstroke on Oct. 15. Additionally, freshmen on the women’s end tallied multiple second-place finishes.

Some freshmen student-athletes grow in playing time and skill over the course of their collegiate career, while others make an immediate impact. Jiminez, McGovern and Gasser have all done the latter, but their performances show they’re going to be forces to be reckoned with as they age as well.

Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at elizabeth.swinton@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @eswint22.

Author: Elizabeth Swinton

Elizabeth Swinton is a television production major at Seton Hall University where she serves as Sports Editor of The Setonian. In addition, Swinton is a social media specialist and contributing writer for The Brooklyn Game. You can follow her on Twitter @eswint22

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