Albertus graduate fits in at Catholic University

Albertus graduate fits in at Catholic University

Suzie Peters: Albertus graduate fits in at Catholic University
Written By: Joe Lombardi
Originally published in The Journal News on October 2, 2007

When Suzie Peters joined the Catholic University women's soccer team, her athletic ability was immediately apparent.

The former Albertus Magnus star earned a starting job with the Cardinals in the first game of her freshman year.

But since then, the Nanuet resident has added another attribute that might be just as important.

"She's becoming a very smart soccer player," Catholic coach J.P. Sousa said of the 5-foot-6 junior forward. "When she first came here, she relied on her talent alone - and she's very talented."

Peters is the Cardinals' second-leading scorer through nine games with seven goals and one assist. This follows a sophomore season in which she was the lone Catholic player named to the all-Capital Athletic Conference team, leading the squad in goals with eight (including three game winners) and points with 18.

"I was really nervous about coming in freshman year," Peters said. "I was so nervous about college in general, let alone playing soccer, too."

It didn't take long, though, for Peters to start feeling comfortable.

"The good thing was playing on the team made it easier," the 20-year-old said. "We ate every meal together. Before I knew it, I had 20 friends."

Peters welcomed two more friends her sophomore year when former Albertus Magnus teammates Diana Spadaro and Michelle Spadaro, who are fraternal twins, joined the Catholic program. The trio has played on the same club team the last two summers.

"On the field, you can tell we've played together before," Peters said. "It's really special."

So, too, have been Peters' accomplishments with the Cardinals.

Her 24 career goals place her fifth on the school's all-time list.

"I was a forward in college myself, so if she's struggling, I try to talk her through it," Souza said. "She's responded great. We're able to communicate with each other."

Peters also has benefited from her upbringing in a soccer-minded family.

Her father, Jim Peters, played at SUNY Fredonia. Her oldest brother, also named Jim, played at Stevens Tech, where he graduated last year. And her other brother, Kevin, just joined Emerson College's soccer team.

"We're very much a soccer family," she said.

Peters' passion for the game has helped the Cardinals accomplish some impressive feats on the field.

Her freshman year, the team went 18-1-2, won the Capital Athletic Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament, where it lost to Lynchburg 3-1.

"It was amazing," Peters said. "It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had and such a huge step for the program. The year before, they were barely .500 (10-9-1 in 2004), and that whole season, our only loss came in our last game."

After going 11-8-1 last season, Catholic is off to a 6-1-2 start.

Despite her established effectiveness as a scorer, Peters, an education major, thinks she might want to give defense a try when she plays club soccer after college.

That desire is undoubtedly the result of the knowledge of the game she's acquired since arriving at Catholic.

"My whole thing to her is that when you have the ball, the mind-set is to go forward and score. But the minute we lose possession, all 11 players on the field are defenders," Souza said. "She's taken to that philosophy, and that's not only made her but the team better."