Emily Cubbage: ‘knit, grit and fight’

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Emily Cubbage’s physicality and grit on the pitch has been instrumental to the success of St. John’s women’s soccer over the last four seasons (Photo: Gina Palermo, Design Editor)

Brandon Mauk, Digital Sports Manager

Defense doesn’t show up in the box score, it’s an often-overlooked aspect in any sport. But, if you take a good look at the details, players like senior Emily Cubbage are proven to be stars. Cubbage has been a four-year starter and an Iron Horse for St. John’s.

The senior midfielder certainly doesn’t get the recognition she deserves, but all those around her know how vital she is to the team’s success.

As a midfielder, Cubbage is, as head coach Ian Stone would describe her, the team’s bull. She brings the physicality to every game, every play and is at the heart of the St. John’s defense.

“I’m just that powerhouse in there, maybe not the best technically, but my role on the team is to consistently bring that physicality to the play,” Cubbage said.

Cubbage faces much of the better players on St. John’s opponents, so she establishes her dominance early by successfully fighting for balls and winning possession through physical force. She’s unafraid to deliver the heat.

“Coach always tells me with the first tackle of the game to basically let the girl know who I am. Go in strong, win it and let her know she’s going to have a rough game,” Cubbage said.

Physicality doesn’t show up in the boxscore, but it has done more to win games than anything else. She fights to drive the possession of the ball and close the door early on opposing possessions.

“Her knit and grit and fight is something I’ve never seen in other players,” Rachel Daly said. “And I’m not saying that because she’s my best friend.”

Cubbage made an immediate impact as a freshman for a young St. John’s team, leading the team with eight points in 2012. She then helped St. John’s make the NCAA Tournament her sophomore year, playing for 1350 minutes.

“I think a lot of the midfielders don’t get credit; it’s not just me. We consistently put in the work,” Cubbage said. “It’s not really about recognition for us because, at the end of the day, we’re winning, and that’s all that I care about.”

Last year, her efforts were starting to get recognition. She was named to the All-Big East Second Team, NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Region Third Team and NSCAA Scholar All-Region Second Team. She was one of the centerpieces of a St. John’s defense that surrendered just 22 goals in 20 games.

She’s continued her stellar play in her final season. She has two goals and two assists and ranks second on the team in shots and fourth in minutes played.

“She really epitomizes what we’re trying to do. She does everything to the best of her ability, and she’s pretty good at everything,” said St. John’s head coach Ian Stone. “And, she really sums up  how bad that the seniors want to win because she’s all over the field, always trying to win everything.”

This year has been the result of all the hard work the seniors, Cubbage included put in, in their four years here at St. John’s. They’ve won 13 games to just two losses and are tied for first place in the Big East. The defense has been even better this season, surrendering a total of eight goals.

The team stresses a together-mindset on and off the field to win. It has shown from the opening draw of the season, heading into the Big East Tournament.

“I think the thing that makes us so good this year, is the bond we have off the field. Coach always says “we before me” and “as one,” and I think that every single one of the 29 girls on this team have accepted that, and that’s what makes us so great. We understand our roles and we’re together through it all,” Cubbage said.