October 18, 2012

Hall of Fame Spotlight - Karen O'Connor Shollenberger '01

As Alumni Weekend approaches, the Lynchburg College athletic department is profiling the teams and players selected to this year's Hall of Fame Class.  The sixth honoree to be profiled is former women's soccer forward Karen O'Connor Shollenberger '01.

Karen is the all-time leading scorer for Lynchburg College and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) with 79 goals.  She helped lead the women's soccer team to their first ODAC Championship in 1997 and their first invitation to the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament.

Karen's successful career with the women's soccer team began in 1996 when she was named 1st Team All-ODAC, 1st Team All-State, and 3rd Team All-South. In 1997 Karen earned additional recognition as ODAC Co-Player-of-the Year. She was also named 1st Team All-ODAC, 1st Team All-State, 1st Team All-South, and received recognition as the Virginia State Player-of-the-Year.  Karen's achievements continued in 1998, with recognition on the 1st Team All-ODAC, 1st Team All-State, and 2nd Team All-South. In 1998, the Women's Soccer Team had its second appearance in the NCAA Championships, with Karen contributing to the success.

In her last two years, Karen served as team captain, leading the team to its second ODAC Championship in 1999 and its third appearance in the NCAAs.  During her final year with the team, Karen was named to the 1st Team All-ODAC, 1st Team All-State, and 1st Team All-South. She was recognized on campus with the LC Senior Athlete award.

Karen currently works for Honeywell Corporate Fitness and lives in Easton, Pennsylvania with her husband, Chris.

We asked Karen a couple of questions and here is what she had to say:

How does it feel to be honored with induction into the LC Hall of Fame?

It feels amazing to be receiving this award.  It's really such a great honor, and I am so proud to say that I was part of this amazing soccer legacy that is Lynchburg College women's soccer.

What was it like to be part of the early rise of the women's soccer program at LC?

When I chose LC, I was a 17 year old kid that just wanted to play soccer because I loved the game.     I had so much fun with my teammates.....there was such a great dynamic between all of us, very natural, and it was just fun.  I had no idea at the time how much success we would have as a team. 

What was your favorite memory at Lynchburg College?

There are so many, it's hard to choose just one --  road trips (van wars), making it to the NCAA tournament for the first time, hosting the NCAA's at LC....just to name a few.

How has LC soccer and LC as a whole helped you throughout your life?

We used run these "loops" at practice (all of my teammates that are reading this right now know what I am talking about).  But basically we would sprint up hills in the woods near the practice fields over and over again.  Coach Olsen would always tell us that we were doing these "loops" and training so hard so we could be stronger and faster and have more endurance than our opponents.  We pushed each other to work harder.  He was right.... it worked.  When other teams were tired at the end of a game, we were still going strong, still digging deep.  That really taught me about hard work and the power of teamwork.