Photo By Hillary Ehlen
Monica Polgar joined a Bison soccer team that was looking to repeat as Summit League regular season champions in 2016. After the departure of a senior goalkeeper in 2015, the starting job was an open race and freshman Polgar won the competition. The Bison went on to repeat as conference champs with Polgar in net, and now, their sights are set on another conference championship run.
Polgar’s 2017 got off to a less than ideal start when she hurt herself training this August and had to miss both exhibition matches. She’s building herself back to full match fitness and that’s when we caught up with the sophomore keeper.
Coming From Cali
Bison Illustrated: You grew up in California and ended up here. Why North Dakota State?
Monica Polgar: “I’ve always wanted to go far away for college just because I lived in California my whole life. Head coach Mark (Cook) gave me the opportunity to come here and I wasn’t really sure because, honestly, I didn’t know where North Dakota was. I flew out here and everyone was so incredibly nice, calm and relaxed, and that’s just something you don’t get in California because everyone is go, go, go all the time. So I really liked that and I always wanted to experience a different culture, and it’s definitely different out here.”
BI: How did coach Cook find you?
MP: “I went to a soccer tournament in Las Vegas and he was recruiting. I was actually playing up that year and he saw me warming up, and said, ‘Woah, who’s that?’ He saw me playing up so he thought I was already committed but then he watched me play and realized I wasn’t committed. It was kind of funny. It was so random. I wasn’t even planning on playing college soccer, honestly. I was just having fun.”
Preferring The Bison Style
BI: NDSU likes to build out of the back at times. Why did you like coming into that style of play?
MP: “I like it more because I’m not huge into punting. It’s not really my specialty, so having a team that does a lot of passing and playing out of the back works well for me. I can get the ball, pass it out and I’m a little more involved in the play rather than a team who kicks the ball all the time because it’s just me getting the ball and sending it up the field, which is no fun.”
BI: Players have struggled with the jump to college their freshman season. Why were you able to make the transition so well?
MP: “It was a different kind of pressure. For us (soccer players), it’s not so much of high school that matters, it’s our club teams. In club, you’re playing to have fun, but here you’re playing for pride, you’re playing for your school, you’re playing for all your teammates even more so. I came in over the summer (2016), so that helped me out a lot because I got to know some of the seniors and I wasn’t so terrified of them. I think that helped me get more confidence on the field because it wasn’t my first introduction to the team.”