While the Golden Eagles are 3-7- 3 overall this season, redshirt junior Kay Kay Hypolite will be the first to tell you that the season has not gone as the team hoped, but that has not stopped the defender from giving all she has got.
Hypolite, a Hattiesburg native, began playing soccer when she was six years old.
“I saw a girl with a soccer uniform on,” Hypolite said. “And I told my dad I wanted to wear it.”
Hypolite was forced to deal with adversity before she was able to compete for the Golden Eagles. The most difficult time in her career came before her senior season in high school, sustaining an injury in a powderpuff football game. The injury forced her to miss her first year of college competition.
“Missing that year was really rough on me,” she said. “I did not realize how much soccer mattered to me that first year.”
Three years removed from the initial injury, Hypolite still plays with a brace on her left knee. She describes the recovery with her
knee as ongoing. “Overall, it’s been going well. Of course it gets sore and achy here and there, but for the most part I’ve been doing well.”
When it was time to decide on a school, the choice was not hard for Hypolite—she loved the feeling she had from her official visit to The University of Southern Mississippi.
“When I came (to USM), everyone was so welcoming and hospitable,” Hypolite said. “You grow up watching your hometown school play (and) you have to take the chance to fulfill that dream.”
It was important to her to have the opportunity to play in front of family and friends, and she chose to live out her dream by donning the black and gold.
While the team has not performed up to its expectations at this point in the season from a record standpoint, Hypolite’s optimism is not misguided.
Five of the Golden Eagles’ seven losses have been by one point. The small margins of loss have given Hypolite and the team a reason to believe that the team is potentially a bounce away from turning the season around.
“We’re coming along and improving,” Hypolite said. “We realize we’re young (and) we are so close to reaching our potential. We just have to a put it all together.”
Evidence of the Golden Eagles putting it together came when they picked up their first conference win of the season against Charlotte. Hypolite and her teammates know the time is now to ride that momentum into turning the season around.
“It’s conference play now,” she said. “Competition is at an all-time high and we all know it.”
Hypolite takes great pride in being the last line of defense. The reaction from teammates and fans after a great tackle or a great save is what pushes her to raise her intensity for another stop. She is the type of defender you want on your back row.
“I am very competitive,” Hypolite said. “I absolutely hate being scored on.”
While Hypolite has started 49 games thus far in her career, she cannot pinpoint a particular moment in her career that stands out above the rest.
“I’ve loved my whole career,” Hypolite said. “I’m excited about the team’s progress and where we can be in the future.”
USM will look to carry its momentum into a two-game weekend road trip to Florida this weekend, taking on FIU and FAU Friday and Sunday, respectively.