Noble Knights: Kelsey Kravec

Oct. 12, 2007

The following story appears in the October edition of KnightVision. Produced 10 times per year, KnightVision is the official publication of the UCF Athletics Asssociation. Each issue includes stories about UCF teams, student-athletes and coaches. To order 10 exciting issues from August through June, call 1-888-877-4373 (ext. 121) or 336-768-3400 (ext. 121).

Secretary of Defense

To receive a great deal of recognition in women's soccer, student-athletes are usually exceptional scorers or agile goalkeepers. It is rare for a player to be part of the defense and still get plenty of attention. But that is what UCF has in senior Kelsey Kravec.

Entering the 2007 season, Kravec had just one goal with the Knights. Even though she did not register a point as a sophomore or a junior, she still was selected to the Conference USA All-Tournament Team in 2005 and to the NSCAA/adidas College Women's Scholar All-South Region Second Team in 2006.

Kravec may have ended her point drought by picking up a helper in a 3-0 win over UC Davis Sept. 9, however she understands her responsibility rests on the other side of the field.

"It would be nice to score goals but that really isn't my role," said Kravec, who hails from Sarasota, Fla., and graduated from Riverview High School. "My role is to keep my whole team pumped up. Soccer is not an individual sport. None of us could do our jobs without having great teammates."

Serving as a vocal leader seems to come pretty natural to Kravec, especially since her fellow Knights have developed precise communication on the field that involves the entire team. However, early in Kravec's playing career, it appeared her legs were going to limit the two-time C-USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll selection from seeing any playing time at all.

Two major injuries could force any athlete to rethink their options, just not Kravec.

"I have torn both my ACLs but they aren't really a factor anymore," admits Kravec, who transferred to UCF from Florida after redshirting the 2003 season with the Gators. "The first was my sophomore year in high school and the second was my freshman year at Florida. Those injuries made me mentally tougher and helped me work on things that maybe I needed to work on before I was injured. And I've always had the support of everyone around me. My family, friends, teammates and coaches have always been there to support me. So if anything, those injuries made me stronger."

Kravec, who continuously ranks as one of UCF's leader in minutes played, saw time in 12 matches in her first year with the Knights. She then made 20 starts in 2005 and was in the starting lineup for all 19 games a year ago. It was clear she had prevailed through the adversity of dealing with a pair of ACL tears.

While Kravec acknowledges that Florida was not the right program for her, coming to UCF became a perfect decision.

"My favorite memory so far is everyone that I have met at UCF," smiled Kravec. "My teammates and coaches have been great. I've never had team chemistry like this before. Everything has just been amazing and this season should be a standout year for us. And like our assistant coach Colby Hale keeps saying, it's a special team and we're going to go really far. Hopefully that will be my personal highlight."

It is pretty easy to call the 2007 squad a "special team" when you have a student-athlete like Kravec leading the way. And no matter how the Knights close the 2007 campaign, it will be impossible to replace her.

- Brian Ormiston