There was no rookie learning curve for Krista Gommeringer.
Three minutes into her first Canada West regular season game, the Trinity Western Spartans first-year striker made an immediate impact, scoring her first goal as she rang onto a long ball, and with a trio of defenders in her wake, buried her breakaway chance.
And judging by this season, it is bound to be the first of many in her five years wearing the Spartans blue and gold.
“She is a complete forward and the scary thing is, she is only going to get better,” said coach Graham Roxburgh, who added he was not surprised by her instant success.
“Because we have known for years how talented she is,” he said.
Gommeringer, an 18-year-old from Calgary, went on to score 13 goals and 22 points. The goal tally had her tied for second in the Canada West conference while the 22 points was tops.
She also finished just one point back of the school record for single season points, which was set by Carlee O’Brien in 2004.
Not surprisingly, Gommeringer was named the conference rookie of the year and a first team all-star. She also scored both goals in Trinity Western’s 2-1 victory over the Victoria Vikes in the Canada West gold medal game on Saturday.
Gommeringer credits her success to her competitiveness.
“I was always super competitive, so I always wanted to beat him,” she explained about her sibling rivalry, with older brother Mark, who is four and a half years her senior.
Gommeringer showed instant talent when she began playing the sport.
At age six, she was on a U10 team and two years later, she was playing at the U12 level.
The trend of playing up an age group continued throughout her teenage years.
Roxburgh first saw the talented striker two years at a clinic he was running in Calgary.
“She was a piece of our puzzle that we needed to get,” he said.
And since arriving in Langley, Gommeringer has made the most of her opportunity as the Spartans dealt with player losses resulting from graduation and injury.
“Krista is just a fantastic player who has fit into how we want to play,” Roxburgh said.
“She is a finisher, she is a creator, she has really proven to be an all-around player who has fit in really nicely for us.”
The award does not surprise Roxburgh.
“She has come into a top league and impacted our team’s ability to generate offence, which was a large contribution to our team’s success this year,” he said.
“It has been great to watch her put a stamp on our team and the league this year as she has played an invaluable role for us this season.”
As for the transition from club soccer to the university level, Gommeringer said it was near seamless.
“It wasn’t too difficult because the way we play here is the way I’ve been taught to play,” she said.
“We play possession with a purpose and we don’t just kick and chase and I was used to that.”
In addition to Gommeringer’s award, goalkeeper Kristen Funk won the Canada West student-athlete award (see story below).
Both Gommeringer and Funk are the Canada West nominees for their respective awards at the CIS level, with the winners set to be announced tomorrow (Wednesday) in Victoria.
The Spartans also earned five of the 11 first team all-star awards, while a sixth was named a second team all-star.
Funk and Gommeringer were joined by midfielder Natalie Boyd and fullbacks Jennifer Castillo and Colleen Webber on the first team, while another fullback, Nikki Byrne was a second team selection.