Jillian Strimbu is a young woman with drive. Balancing a high GPA as a Equine/Pre-veterinary Medicine major while also tying the Otterbein’s 25 year-old single season record for most goals, Stimbu has a work ethic that any athlete would commend. Entering into the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament (OAC), Strimbu is ready to go to work on the field.
As a junior midfielder, Strimbu this season has ranked third in OAC, voted the Capital One Academic All-District first team in women’s soccer, advanced to the Academic All-America ballot, and has lead the undefeated team with 14 goals. Academically, Strimbu has maintained straight A’s while being apart of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and ALD/PES honor societies. In addition to that, Strimbu still finds time to volunteer at Franklin County Dog Shelter to fulfill her passion of helping animals.
Learning by example, Strimbu credits her parents as the ones who instilled in her qualities of working hard, being responsible, and showing compassion stating, “I attribute my success on the field to my teammates, coaches, and family.”
As a triplet with four siblings who all play soccer, Strimbu and her sister Dana (who is also on the team) work together to gain success on the field. Strimbu credits her parents to be the backbone in her sports career.
“They motivate me to not only play my hardest on the field but to focus just as hard on my classes and schoolwork,” said Strimbu. “The support of my family means a lot to me. My dad coached my siblings and I in soccer growing up, and my mom has always been at our games, so seeing them making the trek to every one of our games inspires me to not only play for my teammates on the field, but to play for them as well.”
When talking about success, Strimbu must also mention her extended family – her fellow Cardinals. Stressing the fact that success has been a team effort, Strimbu states, “we work hard for each other.”
Our team is relentless. We have had seven of our games go into overtime this season, and we just never give up
“Our team is relentless. We have had seven of our games go into overtime this season, and we just never give up,” commented Strimbu. “My teammates and coaches have made me a better player by pushing me everyday to play the hardest I can, and for always supporting me.”
Women’s head coach Brandon Koons attests to Strimbu’s work ethic by applauding her ability to balance school, sports, and outside activities.
“She’s so steady and I expect she’ll continue to contribute in big ways,” reflected Koons. “She doesn’t get rattled, she focuses on the team and does everything for us to advance.”
Strimbu also believes her diligence in the classroom along with time management goes hand in hand with her game playing as she stated, “My success in the classroom has helped me as an athlete by keeping me focused and driven. I set goals for myself both in the classroom and on the field, and by doing well in my classes, it allows me to stay focused on what I try to accomplish with my teammates on the soccer field.”
Stating beating Ohio Northern in overtime 3-2, beating Baldwin Wallace 2-0, and tying the school record as season highlights, Strimbu sets a goal for the future and prepares for OAC.
“The OAC is a tough conference, so we will have to work even harder to continue our success on the field,” said Strimbu. “I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead of us.”
Coach Koons expresses his thoughts on the upcoming tournament.
“It will be interesting to see how teams deal with her in the second game(s) we play against OAC opponents…if they mark her tighter though, she’s work with teammates to create chances,” said Koons. “Fortunately she has teammates playing at their best now as well.”
Overall, D3 soccer fans can expect to watch a good game this coming Thursday with an athlete who is sure to give her all.
“I find hard work and dedication inspiring,” shared Strimbu. “Seeing someone work as hard as they can to reach a goal they set for themselves inspires me to do the same thing.”