Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Sami Nemeth

The GCC girls soccer alum is a redshirt sophomore at IUP

Tue Oct 18, 2022 - 7:57PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Wed Oct 19, 2022 - 1:56AM

Very few soccer programs in the WPIAL have enjoyed the sustained success of the Greensburg Central Catholic girls. For more than a decade, the Centurions have been perennial title contenders, and have also produced a bevy of college talent. Among the former GCC players who are now thriving in college is Sami Nemeth, who ranks as one of the top scorers for the IUP women’s team. Nemeth is under the microscope this week for the Westmorland Alum Q&A.

Nemeth was a multi-year contributor on the pitch for the Centurions, including her junior season in 2018. That year, Greensburg Central Catholic posted an overall mark of 12-4-0, including 9-1-0 in section play. In the WPIAL Class 1A playoffs, the Centurions defeated Riverside and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, but fell to Bentworth in the semifinals, and subsequently to Shady Side Academy in the consolation game.

In Nemeth’s senior campaign, she posted 29 goals, helping GCC once again go 9-1-0 in section action. In the postseason, the Centurions defeated Carlynton, Seton-LaSalle, and Freedom Area to reach the WPIAL Class 1A Championship match. With gold at stake, the Indians edged the Centurions 2-1 at Highmark Stadium. The Centurions rebounded in the PIAA postseason, defeating Brockway and Freedom Area. Once again, though, it was Shady Side Academy that stood in the way, eliminating GCC in the state semifinals, as the Centurions finished at 16-5-0.

Nemeth, who also played basketball at Greensburg Central Catholic, was recognized as an All-WPIAL performer on the pitch.

Following her graduation, Nemeth matriculated to Indiana University of Pennsylvania to continue her soccer career with the Crimson Hawks as a midfielder. Her first season was cancelled, however, as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) did not play fall sports in 2020 as a result of COVID.

Last season, Nemeth appeared in 16 games, all starts, and contributed one assist. The Crimson Hawks collectively went 8-8-1 overall, including 7-8-1 in the PSAC.

This season, Nemeth has played in 11 matches, including five starts, and has compiled one goal and three assists, as she ranks fourth in the team in scoring. To this point, IUP has posted a record of 3-4-6, including 2-4-6 in the conference.

Sami took time from her schedule to answer questions about playing alongside her sister Jessica, how she benefitted from playing basketball in high school, and her favorite holiday.

Q: You have ranked among the top scorers on the team this season. What has been key to your offensive success?

A: Being that most of my points come from my assists, I believe that creating opportunities for my teammates has brought us the most success. While scoring goals is rewarding, I find that creating a play that results in a team goal is just as satisfying.

Q: How have you grown as a player from the start of your college career until now?

A: I feel that I have grown tremendously as a player since starting my collegiate career. Earning a spot on the field each game holds a deeper gratuity in my heart - for the privilege to be out there and hold such a vital role in my program.

Q: What has it been like to play with your sister Jessica? Did you help recruit her to IUP?

A: Jessica did not take much persuasion, to say the least. The opportunity to play the sport we love at a collegiate level and continue the studies of our choice together is a dream come true. She is my best friend, and I cannot imagine doing this without her by my side.

Q: What team and individual goals did you set for this season?

A: Team goals I had set for this season included advancing to the PSAC playoffs and building more chemistry on the field. We are all so close off the field that I believe if we brought it to the game, we could connect more fluidly. Individual goals I have for myself included contributing everything I am able to do for my teammates while I am a part of this team; meaning showing up every day and doing my part to the best of my abilities for the good of the team. As a junior, I want to leave my mark on this program and become a leader that the girls can look to for direction - as I was able to do in high school.

Q: Longtime IUP women's soccer coach Adel Heder retired after last year. How has the transition been to new coach Noreen Herlihy?

A: It certainly takes some time to transition when Coach Heder has been a respected member of the program for 20+ seasons. Although he is missed dearly, I believe that Coach Herlihy has shown how passionate she is about the future of our program. Personally, I believe that she and her new coaching staff have so far been, and will continue to be, tremendously beneficial to the growth and development of IUP women’s soccer.

Q: What led to your decision to attend IUP?

A: The moment I stepped on campus, IUP felt like home to me. Coach just secured my initial love for the place with his promise to take care of me on multiple fronts. He made me feel secure in the fact that he would take care of me as a student and my overall development as a person. I appreciated his supportive perspective of my future and his care for each of his players as one of his own.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: I am currently a junior in the nursing program. My ideal profession as of right now would be to become a pediatric or labor and delivery nurse once I graduate with my BSN.

Q: What has been your most enjoyable college course to this point?

A: My most enjoyable college course has been clinical for my nursing coursework. It is a great privilege to get to go into the hospital and be temporarily accepted as a member of the facility to get hands-on experience in something I am so passionate about learning. My patients teach me something new every day!

Q: You were part of an incredibly successful program at Greensburg Central Catholic. What were the biggest factors in that run?

A: I feel that team chemistry played a huge role in our success. Being able to have a team that was so genuine and close with each other is special. All passionately pursuing success in each game and playing for each other is something you do not find often. Coach Bri was also our new coach for the season, which turned out to be one of the best people we could have to come in and cultivate the talent we had to make that successful run.

Q: What is your fondest high school memory?

A: My fondest academic memories would have to be history classes with Mr. Sullivan. My fondest athletic high school memories include my buzzer-beater in basketball, as well as my sister and my winning goal against Freedom in the WPIAL semifinals that secured our win in overtime.

Q: You also played basketball in high school. How did that sport benefit your athletic career?

A: Basketball gave me a versatile experience to explore my athletic ability in a new way. I feel that Coach Sam additionally gave me a lot of perspective regarding how vital it is to have discipline in your sport, as well as in all you do in life. I have carried this mindset into my collegiate experience, understanding now the high demands of being a student-athlete in the nursing program.

Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals before, during, or after a game?

A: My sister and I do a special handshake after the pregame huddle just before we go out onto the field -every time without fail.

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

A: If I could eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would be breakfast; I could eat it any time of the day and be satisfied.

Q: What is your favorite holiday? Why?

A: My favorite holiday would have to be Christmas, because during this time, I get to travel and be surrounded by my loved ones who I do not always get to see. Getting to relax while enjoying quality time with family is the best way to reset for me.