Emily Gerber always had the stats. A three-time WIAC Player of the Year, Gerber has said her individual statistics and records are nice, but her goals have always been to win and go far as a team.
After carrying the Warhawks to their first ever Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament this year, she was voted as the Royal Purple’s Female Athlete of the Year.
“There are many great female athletes on this campus and I am humbled by the fact that I was chosen as the female athlete of the year,” Gerber said. “It is always special to get recognized at this level by your school that you love to play for and are a part of.”
The first year was a struggle for Gerber. After transferring from Division-II St. Joseph’s where she played basketball, Gerber decided to return to soccer. She said she was out of shape and things were just not clicking.
Gerber said she credits her teammates for making her feel so welcomed at UW-Whitewater, even after a rough first year.
“Coming to UW-Whitewater following a bad experience in basketball, I am a firm believer that your teammates are what make you feel as if you had a good career,” Gerber said. “This is because if you’re not enjoying yourself, you leave your career feeling salty.”
Gerber’s sophomore year is when things started to click. After scoring only six goals her freshman year, Gerber knocked in a school record of 24 goals. She also recorded a record-breaking 49 points.
Although the team came up short of the NCAA Tournament, she showed promise going forward.
During Gerber’s junior year, she helped the team win its first WIAC Title, which led to its first NCAA Tournament berth.
The team’s success carried into her senior year, where she led the ’Hawks to another NCAA Tournament. This time, they advanced to the program’s first ever Sweet 16.
“Making it to the Sweet 16 was one of the best opportunities and feelings that I have experienced throughout my lifetime,” Gerber said. “It was the way we did it that made it that much more special because we had to fight every game.”
Gerber led the team this year in goals (13), assists (12) and points (38).
UW-Whitewater Athletic Director Paul Plinske said Gerber’s career is one to remember because she helped transform the women’s soccer program.
“Emily will truly go down in the record books as one of the most storied female soccer players in school history,” Plinske said. “Her leadership simply carried a program from a middle-of-the-pack position to a two-time conference champion with a Sweet 16 appearance.”
Gerber, who was named as the program’s first All-American, holds many school records, including career points (133), career goals (55), points in a season (49), assists in a season (12), goals in a season (24) and goals in a game (4).
Other than competing, Gerber said she will miss the team the most.
“I will miss the pre-game rituals a few of my teammates had before the games,” Gerber said. “I will miss the friendships I have made with the families of my teammates. Most importantly, I will miss the times shared with my teammates, be that on or off the field.”