By Alan Hieber
For Greene County News
FAIRBORN — She became one of Wright State’s top guards in the blink of an eye as a freshman. Now Emily Vogelpohl is looking to cement her name with her graceful dribbling and footwork.
The 5-foot-8 sophomore guard developed her grit early on by playing basketball with her older brother and his friends.
“We would always play basketball in the front yard, and that is basically where I learned everything,” Vogelpohl said.
Amongst Vogelpohl and her siblings’ athletic ability is a common trait.
Her older brother Tyler played collegiate football at Division III Thomas More in Kentucky while her younger brother Nathan is at the high school level in basketball. She also has a younger sister named Abbey who runs high school cross country and track.
“Being around a competitive family made me want to strive to be better for myself and achieve more,” Vogelpohl said.
After a decorated career at Cincinnati’s McAuley High School, Vogelpohl choose to attend WSU. Her deciding factors were the coaching staff and offensive system along with the family atmosphere around the Raiders’ program.
Vogelpohl looked more like a seasoned veteran as a freshman with her agility, thread-the-needle passes and productive scoring. She would end the year as the leader in assists (99), and was the third-leading scorer for the Raiders in addition to earning Horizon League All-Freshman Team honors.
Now in her second season, Vogelpohl has shown more of the same spark as the current assists leader (28) for the 4-4 Raiders.
“I had a really good freshman year, so that gave me a lot of confidence to come out my sophomore year and produce bigger numbers,” Vogelpohl said.
WSU coach Katrina Merriweather says Vogelpohl’s strong suit is her competitive fire and passion for basketball.
“There are very few players that I encounter that genuinely love to play the way she (Vogelpohl) does,” Merriweather said. “Her love for the game is reflected in her competitiveness, her desire to win, and her drive for success.”
Striving to reach greater heights on the court can be seen in Vogelpohl’s work ethic outside of practice where she always works to improve on her shot and fundamentals. It can also be seen in the way she carries herself.
“Emily’s versatility and the demands she places on herself make her unique. She is her worst critic and expects a lot of herself,” Merriweather said. “She is great in the open court, plays the 1-4 for us and is always willing to do whatever is best for the team.”
To find another indicator Vogelpohl is on point with her game all you have to do is look at her eyes, as her coach put it.
“Anytime we are down, she (Vogelpohl) always has this look in her eyes,” Merriweather said. “This look makes me feel confident she will do everything in her power to put us in a position to be successful.”
Vogelpohl says her teammates provide motivation through their expectations and support whenever she is knocked down.
“Since they expect a lot out of me, I try to help my team and do whatever I can,” Vogelpohl said. “If I have a bad game or practice, they’ll pat me on the back and say, ‘You’re fine. Keep going. We know you’re better than this.’”
Once a month, Vogelpohl meets at 7 a.m. with other WSU athletes who represent the Student Athlete Advisory Committee to discuss ways to enhance the involvement and unity of Raider athletes.
“Right now, we’re trying to get all of the athletes involved and have them bond,” Vogelpohl said. “We’re doing a sports swap. The basketball team is going to dance practice to see what they go through every day.”
When she isn’t the signal caller on the court for WSU, Vogelpohl is working on her studies as an early childhood education major. She hopes to use her degree to become a teacher.
“I want to be able to teach kids, help them grow and become better in society,” Vogelpohl said.
Considering Vogelpohl’s fortitude to drive the offense and her unrelenting desire to improve, her favorite quote should come as no surprise.
“Nothing is more motivating than the fear of not being good enough,” Vogelpohl said. “I think my dad told me it years ago, and ever since it stuck with me.”
Though her Raider career is still in its early stages, Vogelpohl has proven to have the capacity to be a leader as she crosses over to the next phase of her career.
“What I hope is that she grows into a leader we believe she can be. She has a lot to offer the team and not only on the floor,” Merriweather said. “Once she realizes that, she can help this team accomplish the goal of being the best we can be.”
Alan Hieber writes for WSU’s Athletic Media Relations Department.