Sophomore goalie and German national Noëlle Rother is willing to sacrifice a lot of time and energy for both her country and IU.
IU’s Big Ten Tournament schedule and that of the German U-21 national team come close to overlapping, but the available time is enough that Rother can travel and participate in both.
“I would not actually miss the Big Ten tournament,” Rother said. “If Germany makes the final I would have to travel here the Monday before. There is a way of doing both, it is like stressful but it is possible.”
It’s good news for the Hoosiers, as Rother has established herself as one of the most important defensive players on the squad.
Once IU’s season finishes, however, Rother will still be going strong. Her German team will continue to play until late November as a part of the world championships.
Rother’s time with the U-21 team won’t be her first national experience, as she played with the U-16 team for two years.
“It is always exciting to play at the international level and also to play with players you usually play against,” Rother said. “Forwards who usually try to score on you suddenly are your teammates, like this is the fun part of it, it is a good level and you learn a lot from it.”
Rother has learned a lot from her German coaches and her experiences on the national team, but admits she’s learned important lessons from her IU experience, too.
“I grew up in Germany, learned my field hockey there,” Rother said. “But here I have learned about being an athlete, being part of a team. Here I have grown as a person.”
Rother said she was impressed by the size of IU’s facilities the first time she visited Bloomington, as it would be impossible to find an equal among German universities.
Now, after a year in the states, she also includes the dual importance IU places on academics and athletics.
In Germany, Rother said, you could either be completely immersed in your academics or your sport, not both. The term “student-athlete” is very rare or nonexistent.
Today, Rother looks for ways to keep a balance between her academics, Germany and IU. Her favorite thing about being a Hoosier is the support she gets from coaches and advisors to perform well.
“I will try to combine everything. You can not be a perfect student, a perfect IU player and a perfect national team player,” Rother said. “You have to focus in one or two things from each, you can not exceed in all of them.”
As IU’s season progresses, Rother is excited to see the Hoosiers achieve their objectives.
“We had a good season last year so we should try to repeat it, we used to be an underdog,” Rother says. “Now people do not underestimate us, I hope we can prove it was not luck but quality of our team.”