Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Cheers erupted from the crowd as the Longhorns' soccer team congratulated freshman midfielder Sophie Campise on her first goal of the season. Her timing was perfect. The goal came two minutes into double overtime and lifted Texas past Colorado, securin UT's 14th-straight Big 12 Championship bid.
Most people forget that Campise is a freshman because her adaptability and tenacious performances on and off the field say otherwise.
Only a few months ago, the freshman was packing her bags and preparing for her big move to down I-35. The Dallasite had to adapt to life as an Austinite.
"I love the school," Campise said. "It's a lot different from Dallas, but I have tons of family here, so that helps with the transition."
While she downsized the city in which she lived, Campise's school selection was a huge upgrade to what she was used to.
"I've gone to a private school all my life," Campise said. "UT was always my first choice. Everything that UT has to offer is awesome and was something I couldn't pass up."
Deviating from her comfort zone of attending small schools, she bravely entered into a world of 50,000 students.
"I'm used to small, but having the soccer family definitely helps keep the big campus small, because we have each other," Campise said.
The move to Austin and adapting to one of the biggest universities in the nation was only part of Campise's trantion. Texas coach Chris Petrucelli moved her from midfielder to defender.
Campise demonstrated in games how she used her skills as a midfielder to prove successful on defense by many times outrunning her opponents and beating them to the ball.
"When she plays, she is so mobile and so active," Petrucelli said. "You don't want to play against her, because you'll be chasing her for 90 minutes."
Campise was making strides in her new position when her next obstacle popped up. She suffered an ankle injury the first week in September.
"I've had lots of injuries in the past, but I had never hurt my ankle before," Campise said. "It was new to me and scary, because I didn't really know how it was going to affect me."
During her time away from the field, Campise relentlessly visited numerous doctors and therapists to try and fix the problem.
"The fact that I was being proactive and trying to make it better really helped," said Campise. "I was never sitting around waiting."
The newcomer also had the added benefit of coming from a soccer-heavy family that could provide support. Campise's mother Mary played collegiately at both Texas A&M and North Carolina while her sister Kendall donned the burnt orange jersey for UT.
Having those shoulders to lean on helped Campise adjust to each obstacle she faced.
"It's prepared me more for adversaries like injuries and playing different positions, because they help me out and really understand the situations I go through," she said.
The ankle injury kept Campise out of action for a month. Once healthy, she was more than ready to return to competition.
"What really made the difference was just getting out there and being confident on (my ankle)," Campise said. "Once I stopped thinking about it, then it started feeling better and healing quicker, because I wasn't compensating for it anymore."
During her absence, the Longhorns lineup had changed and her return included yet another change - Campise was moved back into her original position of midfielder.
"She's been a huge asset to our team and our midfield," junior defender Erica Campanelli said. "She's come in, worked really hard all season long and done a really great job."
While many might find all these life changes daunting, Campise has made the transition seamlessly.
"I've always been a really hard worker no matter what I'm working with," she explained. "If I'm going to be out there, I might as well give it my all. From experience, when you work hard it actually makes a difference. I like working hard because it pays off and I get the results that I want when I do."
Petrucelli echoed that sentiment: ""I think the thing that stands out about Sophie right away is her work ethic. She started very well, was injured, and came back from the injury and has done quite well. I think she has a really bright future."