California State University, Stanislaus’ Women’s soccer team is in the record books after a 2013 season in which the lady Warriors posted a 16-0-2 overall record and became the first CCAA team since 1998 to finish the regular season undefeated.
A feather in the cap of senior forward Karenee Demery — CSUS’ most highly decorated Women’s player.
Four years ago Demery hit the Warrior’s pitch as a freshman and took the program by storm, breaking records and earning multiple accolades including All-CCAA honors, CCAA Freshman of the Year, and CCAA Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Year. It was an obvious beginning to what would become a historic four years of Warriors Women soccer, that included winning her third CCAA MVP award Thursday night.
“She came in with some pretty exceptional physical tools, she’s got good speed and she’s got a good knack for scoring goals, but she has an incredible work ethic and she’s continued to improve and develop some aspect of her game every year since she’s arrived,” CSUS Women’s head coach Gabriel Bolton said.
Demery continued her development the following year as she helped lead her team to a CCAA championship and continued the trend of individual accomplishments, becoming a NSCAA All-American and a Daktronics All-Region Player.
But perhaps her biggest accomplishment was not letting the individual successes distract from her commitment to her team.
“She leads with her work ethic and her desire to win. Her teammates adore her because she’s very humble; it’s never really about her even though she does get a lot of recognition. You’d never know it if you talked to her,” Bolton said. “She’s really the ultimate team player. The number one thing she does on the field is she just makes all the players around her better, and that’s kind of a special thing.”
Even after ascending to the top spot in nearly all of the categories in CSUS’ Women’s soccer record books — first all time in goals with 75; first all time in assists with 29; first all time in points with 179; and first all time in winning goals with 30 — Demery’s attitude is unchanged.
“Personally, it doesn’t’ really matter to me,” Demery said of her individual accolades. “What matters to me is this team and our wins. It’s great that we went undefeated. That’s what matters most to me about what happened this season. Individually, you know it’s just icing on the cake.”
Now, as she nears the end of her career as a Warrior, Demery is hoping for another conference championship — an accomplishment she actually cares about because she can share it with her team. Their quest begins tonight against Cal State L.A in the first round of the CCAA Championship Tournament.
“It’s our last run at things. It gives you a little bit extra motivation, but I think, overall, my team gives me the most motivation. We want to go as far as we possibly can, and we know we’re a great team and we want to just live up to that expectation,” Demery said.
But win or lose, Demery’s playing days are unlikely to end with Stanislaus. Having already been part of training camps with the U23 national team, it would be a surprise not to see her take her game to a higher level.
“From what we can tell, she’s the only Division II player to have that happen in about 30 years. She’s a pretty special player,” Bolton said of Demery’s involvement with the national team. “Even at Utah when I coached there at Division I, and the time that I’ve been here and with the Olympic development teams, she’s hands down the best player I’ve ever coached.”
“She’s also one of the best people I’ve been around. She’s very humble, very hardworking, an amazing student, and is really just loved by her teammates and everybody involved in the program,” he added.
While Demery undoubtedly has high hopes for her future in soccer, she refuses to let the long term get in the way of the immediate.
“Any opportunity just to play further with soccer, whether it’s in the WPSL or overseas or anything like that, I think it would be hard for me to turn down just because it would be a great opportunity and a great honor,” Demery said. “I’ll figure that out after the season, but right now it’s all about tomorrow’s game and nothing more.”
Tonight’s match should be one to remember since the last match between the two teams ended in a tie. It may also be the last chance to watch Demery play in a Warriors uniform before she walks away as the best to have played at Stanislaus.
“We’re a great team and I think that we are the only people that can stand in our way. I think there’s nonstop action when you come and watch us play. It’s just great soccer,” Demery said. “We’re going to be playing a bunch of great teams this weekend, hopefully.”