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Soccer goalie Alex Hogg named top female athlete at RMC

March 20, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Adelaide Fearnley remembers well the moment she realized that the Royal Military College women’s soccer team had a keeper for a ’keeper.

It was a night game, early in the season, she recalled, and an opposing player had a breakaway down the middle of the field, bearing down on rookie goalkeeper Alex Hogg.

“I’m a centre back,” Fearnley said, “so I’m watching this, thinking, ‘Omigod, omigod,’ and suddenly Alex comes ripping out from the back line, out past the 18-yard box, and just slams into the girl. She gets the ball, clears it out, and the girl just got rocked.

“It was incredible. It was quite unexpected because she doesn’t come across as someone who’s crazy like that. It was kind of like, ‘We’re going to rally behind her, because if she’s going to put it on the line like that, we all have to do it, too.’”

Hogg doesn’t recall the play with such specificity.

“I try to lead from the back, I guess,” she said, explaining only that she wanted to make a good early impression on her teammates.

“They definitely were setting a high standard for me so I wanted to walk in and make an impact on the team.”

Wednesday night, Hogg matched the highest standard the college could set when she was named winner of the Kelly Gawne Memorial Cup as RMC’s female athlete of the year.

Fearnley speaks with a certain level of credibility. The graduating reservist and honours chemistry student from the Sunshine Coast of B.C. received another of the college’s major athletic awards, the HRH Prince of Wales Cup, for excellence in the four pillars of RMC — academics, military leadership, athletics and language studies — over the course of her four years.

As a captain of the women’s soccer team, Fearnley was charged with the task of writing Hogg’s end-of-season evaluation. Wednesday night she described the kind of play her young teammate exhibited that night last autumn as “the full Hogg.”

“She is a freight train on the field,” Fearnley said. “The energy and the power she brings to her position is so inspiring for everyone else on the field … and that was huge for us because sometimes in a game you need the big save to keep you going.

“As a first-year (student), it’s hard at RMC because you have a lot of things, not necessarily working against you, but piling on top of you, and she showed up. The fact that she was able to come out, bring her all, bring intensity and passion and the hard work, is exactly what we need to see to have progression in the program. She’s outstanding. It was a pleasure to be able to write her evaluation.”

If Hogg’s play was inspiring, her timing of her arrival was opportune. The Paladins had just graduated senior goalkeeper Olivia Clarke, who was “a big backbone of our team,” Fearnley explained.

“She was a captain, a huge part of our team,” Fearnley said, “so it was something that we were worried about coming into the season, filling the obvious void that Olivia left.

“Alex was able to step up to the talent aspect of it and she’s growing into becoming more talkative. She’ll embody that role.”

Hogg, the rookie of the year in the East division of Ontario University Athletis, hopes to have a career in aerospace engineering. She came to RMC from Ottawa with modest athletic expectations.

“I wanted to get on the field,” she said. “I know a lot of first-year athletes aren’t able to get on the field. I just wanted to play once or twice, get in there. I just wanted to be a part.”

Hogg said she was apprehensive at the start.

“I was very worried about the workload, as well as the sports, and being able to equal out the time but it worked out well. It was easy to balance with other girls on the team because (I could see) they were balancing it as well.

“The motivation to play every weekend makes you want to do the work beforehand, so you can play.”

Hogg is a legacy at RMC — her father, Kelly Hogg, was a varsity squash player — and there was forever talk around the dinner table about dad’s time at the college.

“He had an amazing experience,” Alex said, “so I wanted another amazing experience.”

It’s an experience, Fearnley believes, about which much remains to be seen.

“She’s a tank out there,” she said, “in all the best ways.”

Hogg beat a path up the aisle in the New Gym, where the awards night was held. She was also the most valuable player on her team, and she was named the college’s top first-year athlete.

The Tommy Smart Cup was presented to fifth-year volleyball player Tom McMullen as the college’s top male athlete.

The fencing team was well represented on the podium, as Harrison Kelertas was named the top second-year athlete, Jonathan Wilson the top third-year athlete and Marion Agier the top fourth-year athlete.

The Capt. Matthew Dawe Memorial Cup was presented to Stephanie Bengle of the women’s soccer team, as the top varsity ROTP athlete who excels in all aspects of college life at RMC.

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