Keep Calm, Lead On

Nick Vitale, Reporter

Captains say leadership is all about trust.

Matt Greene, senior guard for the men’s basketball team, has been captain for two years. He won the leadership post by receiving the most votes from his teammates.

“I think it was just that my teammates really trust me. At the end of every season, we take a vote on who we want as a captain,” said Greene. “Every player gets two votes, and I had the majority of the votes the past two years. They are really comfortable around me, and that makes it better when we are on the court.”

Green’s leadership abilities show when he calls plays.

“My coach trusts me enough that with my knowledge and my I.Q. of the game he trusts me with calling the plays at the right time and the right point in the game,” said Greene.

But he said leading an entire team every game does not present additional pressure.

“I would not say that it adds more pressure because I have been doing this since I was in high school,” said Greene. “I trust myself, too, so I feel comfortable with my judgment. Therefore, I like being liable for all these guys because I trust myself.”

It is no surprise that Greene trusts himself. He was the first team All-Freedom selection last year. Greene started 25 out of the 26 games played in a season, and he was just one out of three play- ers to see action in all 26 games.

Greene was ranked second in the Freedom Conference for assists, and he hit 70 three-pointers making him the best three-point shooter in the conference. Not only is Greene an exceptional college player, he was also a phenomenal player in high school. Greene was a captain of the basketball team for his sophomore, junior and senior years at Whitehall High School.

Greene does his best to try to coach his teammates when he sees them struggling.

“I am constantly coaching our team whether we are winning or losing or off the court. You just have to have high energy, be enthusiastic and always have positive vibes,” said Greene. “You have to get these kids’ confidence up, even when they are down. You have to level with them. You cannot be soft with these kids, because they are adults. They need to take it not as criticism but as coaching.”

Greene also works to inspire and motivate his players.

“Before every practice, I take my team and we go right to the banner where we have one championship that we got in my sophomore year,” said Greene. “I always tell them it is time to put another one up there. I try to be inspirational so that we are more competitive in practice and that is just contagious. You are what you do repeatedly. Even in the huddles and on the court, I am telling them to pick it up, and I tell them what they are doing wrong and what they should be doing and that we have to get this win.”

He still treats his teammates like brothers.

“We are one big family. I would take my shirt off of my back for any of those guys,” said Greene. “Team chemistry is so important because off the court if you are really close to each other it is contagious, and then that goes on to the court and you are more comfortable when you are around each other.”

Nicolette Ruffler, senior center back for the women’s soccer team, served as captain for the first time this season. In high school, she was a captain during her sophomore, junior and senior years and she also won a team MVP award.

In 2012, she was only one of eight players to start all 25 games in the season. She was a second team All-Freedom selection as a defender and she helped anchor a Cougar defense that posted 15 shutouts and a 0.59 goals against average.

This season Ruffler led her team to an 18-2-1 record. She then proceeded to lead her team to the Freedom Conference Championship where the Cougars played against the King’s College Monarchs. Misericordia went 3-1 and now will proceed to the NCAA tournament.

Ruffler was voted to be captain just as Greene was: by a team vote.

“It’s almost like a democracy,” said Ruffler. “Our team votes for who they want to be captain. I actually like it that way because I would not want someone being a captain that the team did not respect that much. That’s one of the reasons why I like being captain, because my team chose me to be it.”

Ruffler does not let the pressure of leadership get to her.

“I’m pretty good with pressure, but I think [being captain] does add a little bit more because since I represent the team I feel like

I am responsible for them as a whole,” she said. “There’s pressure sometimes, but I have my team behind me. I am never put under any circumstances like that, and everything is always smooth sail- ing between us as teammates.”

Ruffler believes her team has perfect chemistry, and she thinks that is the reason the team wins.

“The thing about my team is that everyone is so close and the team chemistry is so good that on the field we are just as close as we are off the field,” said Ruffler. “Everybody on the team is best friends with somebody else on the team, so every player is friends with each other. As a captain, I try to make sure I set a good example off the field as I do on the field because I know that people will still be looking up to me.”