Knerr looks to finish career on high note after leaving softball behind for ice hockey

September 17, 2020

first_imgJulie Knerr thinks about what it would have been like to play softball every single day.When she came to Syracuse in 2011, Knerr was supposed to play both softball and ice hockey for SU. Originally intending to walk-on for both sports, she was on the ice when the season began in September. She had plans of turning her attention to softball later in the spring semester.Faced with a packed schedule that made it difficult to fully participate in both sports — which overlap in February and March — former associate head softball coach Wally King and Knerr made a joint decision that Knerr would focus solely on hockey.“I don’t regret it whatsoever,” Knerr said. “I love what I’ve been through. I love all my memories here and if I could do it all over again, I would pick hockey again, absolutely.”Now in her senior season for the Orange, Knerr is second on the team in blocks with 42 and has tallied three blocks and a goal in the past four games. A key cog in the SU attack, Knerr’s versatility in two sports helped her eventually hone in on the ice. Now a senior, she’s showcased the ability to take faceoffs, play center or wing and dominate on the power play and penalty kill lines.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Whether softball or hockey, you could tell she was a good athlete,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “… She’s done a great job physically in getting stronger and stronger. For her learning the game, adapting and adjusting into becoming a one-sport athlete has taken work.”Splitting her time between softball and ice hockey throughout her childhood and high school, Knerr played third base in the field and center on the ice. She enjoyed how quick the ball got hit to her at the hot corner, the love for speed directly related to her love for the quick tempo of ice hockey.The last cut from the Canadian national softball team on more than one occasion, Knerr often wonders if she made the right choice sticking with hockey. But now, Flanagan can’t imagine the team without one of his senior captains.“I think on the ice, it has been neat to see her learn the game and she’s been very dedicated,” Flanagan said. “She knew she had to be because of the softball. It’s good to see that someone recognizes her shortcomings and things she’s needed to work on and she’s improved on them.”Flanagan described Knerr as a “natural athlete,” and was impressed when he saw her play hockey in high school. He knew, though, that she would improve upon her hockey acumen if given the chance to focus on one sport.She’s spent time watching video and working on her slap shot after practice. It’s a shot that defender Nicole Renault said was “guaranteed to go in” if Knerr is open.“I think she’s a huge part of our team,” Renault said. “She’s always moving and she’s probably one of the hardest workers on the ice so that’s really what you need on a team.”Knerr plays her final two regular season games this weekend against the Rochester Institute of Technology and hopes to close out her career strong.She’s worked hard to transform herself into a one-sport athlete and now she just wants to enjoy the remainder of her time on the ice for the Orange.“Recently, it’s just putting everything behind me and realizing I have (two) more games left and it’s do or die,” Knerr said. “I don’t have anything else after this… So it’s putting everything behind me, playing hockey and having fun.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 19, 2015 at 12:07 am Contact Liam: lpsull01@syr.edulast_img

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