Under the Feathers: Salisbury women’s soccer’s Hope Knussman

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

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Knussman punts a ball away in a match last season. Kaitlin Poling photo

No. 31 Hope Knussman

SU women’s soccer – Sr. Goalkeeper

Hometown: Easton, Md.

The Salisbury women’s soccer team (6-7, 4-0 CAC) is off to their best Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) start since 2011 with the team shutting out their first four conference opponents in four wins. At the center of the stout defense is senior goalkeeper Hope Knussman.

Last week’s CAC Defensive Player of the Week has a 1.35 goals-against average (GAA), but the defense has only allowed three goals over their last six matches with a 6-1 record. Knussman has aided the effort with 47 total saves and a 74.6 save percentage in her 12 starts this season.

The Easton, Md.-native has 33 career starts for the Sea Gulls, now in her third season starting for the team. With acrobatic saves and strong communication with her back line, Knussman is one to watch as the Salisbury looks to continue their win streak in CAC-play.

1) What are your majors/minors? What made you interested in that field(s)?

Knussman: “Accounting-I originally came into college as an International Business major, but after I took my first Accounting class, I realized that that was what I wanted to do. Also, my mom is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and we would talk a lot about what she does and what CPAs do, and that definitely influenced my decision to major in Accounting.”

2) What made you want to play soccer at or just come to Salisbury?

Knussman: “I have played soccer my whole life, and I always knew I wanted to play in college. My goal in high school was to get a scholarship to play Division I soccer. I ended up going to Youngstown State University and playing soccer there, but it wasn’t what I envisioned. It was a full-time job, 40+ hours a week being devoted to film, lifting, practice, and goalkeeper sessions. I didn’t have time for a job, time to get involved in clubs, or even just time to hang out with friends. I made the decision to transfer to Salisbury so I could have a balance. I already knew a couple of the girls on the team which made the decision to transfer that much easier. I also knew I would be able to achieve that balance between soccer and extracurriculars here as well.”

3) What has been your favorite moment as part of SU women’s soccer while here at Salisbury, and why?

Knussman: “I would say karaoke on our bus trips to away games. Our coach brought a mic and a speaker and we will sing songs. Jamie Tacka and I love doing duets to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus throwbacks and that’s always a fun time.”

4) Have you always played goalkeeper as you do currently? What do you enjoy about your position on the field?

Knussman: “No, I was half field-player, half goalkeeper until my junior year in high school. I had to be realistic. I wasn’t good enough technically or fast enough to play Division I soccer as a field player. So going into my junior year, I decided to be a goalkeeper full-time and start to do goalkeeper training.”

5) In your senior year now, what do you think comes with the title ‘senior’ on a sports team and how do you embrace that today?

Knussman: “I always joke with Jamie and Ruthie [Lucas] and ask them if they feel old because we are seniors and we always talk about how crazy it is that we are seniors because it feels like just yesterday we started playing. But I would say being a senior definitely has its perks and some downsides. I love how close I am with everyone on the team and the other teams because we have been here for so long. The downside is that it’s the last year of college and my last season, which is so depressing because who wants to graduate?”

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Salisbury is a perfect in conference play with four straight shutouts. Emma Reider photo

6) What is your favorite part of Salisbury University Athletics or your team-environment here at SU? 

Knussman: “I love how all the sports teams are so close and how supportive we are of each other. All the different sports teams go out to each other’s games and cheer for them. It’s like one big family. As for my team, I love how open and crazy we are. We definitely are not afraid to be ourselves around each other. I don’t ever feel like I have to be someone I’m not; everyone is so accepting and nice.”

7) What is your favorite part of campus life at Salisbury, and why?

Knussman: “How every day you see all of your friends, but also see people that you have never seen before. Also, everyone at SU is super friendly. Everyone is so welcoming. As far as the actual campus goes, I love the layout of the campus and how compact it is. It’s nice being able to walk from one end of campus to the other in 10 minutes.”

8) What are your hobbies and interests off the field?

Knussman: “I love going to other SU sporting events with my friends. I love sleeping too, so any free time I get, I try to take full advantage of that and get a nap in.”

9) Where is your favorite place to go for a meal or snack on or off-campus? Favorite food?

Knussman: “Moe’s Southwest Grill is probably my favorite restaurant. I also love sushi and loaded cheese fries. Three very different foods, but definitely my favorites.”

10) Is there any favorite music you like to listen to right before a game? Favorite band or artist?

Knussman: “I like any kind of pump-up music really. One song that I always play in the locker room is Temperature by Sean Paul. It just gets me really hype for the game, and Jamie and I will dance to it.”

11) Is there something unique about you that many SU soccer fans don’t know?

Knussman: “My whole family are SU alums. My mom and dad both went to SU and my sister graduated from SU in 2016, and also played softball and is now the graduate assistant coach for the softball team here.”

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