Former Silver Lake standout named to NE-10 Weekly Honor Roll after scoring twice in opening two games
By David Wolcott Jr.
KINGSTON, Mass. – The final tally between soccer games was 665 days for Izzy Ruprecht (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake Regional), a stretch that started Nov. 5, 2019, and finally mercifully ended on Sept. 2. That's a long time, but to the St. Michael's College junior from Kingston it felt more like an eternity.
"It felt so good to be back on the field again. It's almost indescribable," she said. "Just simply playing the game and being with my teammates again is an incredible feeling. I missed the adrenaline rush of everything around playing soccer and that feeling of being so exhausted after the game when you know you've given it everything you have. But it's a great kind of exhausted."
Ruprecht hadn't been that tired for quite some time until last week. A great freshman campaign saw her score two goals and an assist in 17 starts as a midfielder, earning the former Silver Lake star a spot to the NE10 All-Rookie team. But the 2020 season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic and everything was put on hold.
Active in several clubs and a two-sport athlete in high school, Ruprecht is accustomed to being busy. She said there was a sizeable void each day without the soccer practices and games there to anchor everything.
"I missed everything about the game so much. We got to practice in small groups for a while, but eventually, even that couldn't happen. So at that point it was just Zoom calls with the team while working out on your own until things got better," Ruprecht said.
She completed the spring semester online back at home but did not let that impact her academic standing. The Dean's List student has been named to the NE10 Academic Honor Roll four times and won the 2020-21 D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award.
Now back at school and with her teammates once again for her junior year, life is good as well as busy once again for the Business Administration and Psychology double major.
"I love being up at the school," said Ruprecht about the Colchester, Vermont, college. "I really enjoy being at a school that's on the smaller side, where you can put a name to many of the faces you see on campus every day. You have a chance to get to know everyone at Saint Michael's, and that's exactly what I was looking for in a college."
She wasted no time making up for lost time with a pair of goals in St. Michael's' opening two games this season, a 1-0 win over Roberts Wesleyan on Sept. 2 and then a 3-2 overtime loss to Caldwell (New Jersey) University in double overtime on Sept. 5. Both goals came on penalty kicks, and her quick start earned Ruprecht a spot on the NE10 Weekly Honor Roll this week.
"Penalty kicks are pretty rare, so you need to take advantage of them," Ruprecht said. "(Against Roberts Wesleyan) we had a throw-in in their end of the field in the 65th minute and I got crunched between two players right at the top of the penalty area and they called for a penalty kick."
A softball and soccer captain and Patriot League all-star at Silver Lake, Ruprecht had all the tools needed for a successful run at the NCAA Division 2 level. But, as every athlete finds out as they move from high school to college, there is always room for improvement.
"I learned pretty quickly that I had to be more disciplined with what I ate and how I treated my body if I wanted to compete at this level of soccer. I've learned to make smarter choices with what I eat," Ruprecht explained. "Post-game meals are very important and the right foods can really fuel your body and help you recover more quickly after games."
An increased focus on the mental approach to her game is also helping Ruprecht reach her goals. She's an executive board member with the Hope Happens Here group at the college, a foundation dedicated to fighting the negative stigma surrounding mental illness on college campuses.
There's always been some friendly competition within the Ruprecht household between Izzy and her siblings, Jack and Alex. Jack is a baseball player at Wentworth, while Alex led the Bridgewater State University softball team to the MASCAC championship and a spot in the NCAA D3 tournament this spring.
"It's all positive. We all want to push each other to get just a little bit better," she joked. "We're a really close family and we all like to compete."