Bend it like Banes
Imagine yourself hitting the gym and lifting until your hands begin to crack, running until every muscle in your body tells you to stop or training as hard as you possibly can knowing that this is your final year to leave it all out on the field.
That is exactly the mental attitude and physical drive senior forward Emily Banes has in her final season.
Originally from Bethpage, N.Y., the Long Islander has had soccer in her blood ever since she was 5 years old. When it came time to decide where she wanted to play soccer in college, Banes was torn between Hofstra and Towson.
“I liked the coaches here better and the girls on the team,” she said. “I am for sure happy with the decision I’ve made.”
Head Coach Greg Paynter has had high hopes for Banes since the season began.
“She has been a totally refocused athlete over the last 10 months or so and has really been committed to making her senior year as good as it can be,” he said.
Banes received the honor of Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Soccer Player of the Week only one week after the season began. This is her first honor since she was named Rookie of the Week in 2010. Banes is also Towson’s first CAA Women’s Soccer Player of the Week since 2011.
“I felt this has motivated me to keep doing well,” Banes said. “Hopefully I can get it again.”
Paynter said he believes this honor was well deserved and that Banes has continuously been playing at a Player of the Week level for his team.
“She deserves to be where she is right now in terms of one of the leaders in our conference in goals scored,” he said.
Paynter also credits Banes’ “stubbornness” as a key to her success.
“Stubborn isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “It defines that she knows what she wants to do and how she is going to get about it. When she puts her mind to something, that is her stubbornness coming out in a good way.”
Only 10 games into the season, Banes has scored 10 goals total and passed Courtney McClelland for third place in school history for career points (64) Sunday.
Only three goals separate Banes from the top spot as career leader at Towson in goals scored.
As of Sept. 20, Banes’s goal total put her tied for 11th in the nation in goals, only three away from the top spot.
“She is going to continue to be a threat, no doubt about it,” Paynter said. “I think she is the most prepared athlete out there week in and week out. Emily has already achieved so much in her career and still has a little bit of room to grow.”
With her success thus far, Banes acknowledged that her club soccer coach when she was growing up, Chris Smith, has had a tremendous influence in her soccer career.
“I look up to him and tell him everything that is going on with my soccer career now,” she said. “He is definitely the biggest influence I’ve had.”
Banes has proven her physical attributes throughout her career, but Paynter said he sees something more in her this season than in years past.
“Now, she is smart on the field,” he said. “She has made some really good decisions in a couple of goals we scored this year. That’s good soccer.”
He also believes this isn’t something that just magically happens.
“Emily has been here for three years and she has worked hard in the weight room with our conditioning coaches,” he said. “She’s put a lot of extra hours in.”
As her final year comes closer to an end, Banes has high hopes after college.
“I would love to try out for the national team if I could get an invitation or something,” she said.
If she continues to power through the rest of her season as she is now, the future looks bright for No. 14.