This article was originally published in the Wicked Local Georgetown.
Several dozen shooters lost sleep throughout the 2016 season, during which the senior Block put such a strong season together that she was named an All-American on Dec. 2.
Specifically, Block was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division 2 All-America Second Team, thanks to a season that saw her put up 10 shutouts and a 0.85 goals against average.
"I probably haven't stopped smiling since that day. It's a dream for me, obviously," said Block, three days after hearing of the All-American honor. "Having played soccer since I was 5 years old, and coming to play college soccer, it's in everybody's minds as you go through your career that being All-American is the ultimate dream.
"To have reached that was amazing. As much of an individual accomplishment as it may seem, it definitely reflects upon the team as a whole," added Block. "I could not have done it without them."
Along with All-American, Block was also named the Northeast-10 Goalkeeper of the Year and an NE-10 All-Conference First Team selection.
"[All-American] is a tremendous honor for Jamie and one she absolutely deserves," said head coach Alex Wilson, in a team statement. "Jamie has been a staple of our defensive unit but more importantly a true leader and great teammate. She guided this team to a historic season – culminating our first NE10 Championship in 21 years as well as the program's first NCAA bid.
"I am so proud of all she's accomplished as a student-athlete and thrilled to see her reach All-America status," Wilson added. "This is an earned individual distinction for Jamie but also gives a nod to the special year had by all 2016 Skyhawks."
Among Block's 10 shutouts this year were two streaks of three in a row.
"We had a lot of shutouts this year. Obviously, a lot of people go to the goalie immediately, but we had a really impressive defensive line that helped this year immediately," added Block.
Block didn't play as a freshman, but became the starter for Stonehill as a sophomore. She registered an .800 save percentage (or, 80 percent), and that improved to .805 in her junior year. This season, she blew those marks out of the water with an .839 percentage.
Playing for Royals head coach Colleen Gibbs, she was an All-Star striker as a junior and a CAL All-League striker as a senior.
"I started playing goalkeeper pretty seriously the summer going into my junior year of high school. I was still playing the field, but going back and forth and I realized I really loved playing goal," Block said. "I was originally trying to get recruited as a field player. [In goal], I was training multiple times per week. My coach here at Stonehill [Wilson] saw something in me before I even did. When I came in, I had all the raw athleticism, but not necessarily the technique or the structure."
That first year at Stonehill (2013-14), the Seahawks went right to work crafting their goalie of the future, and all of that work paid off handsomely.
Was it the perfect year? Block is an athlete, she wants to win games, so anything short of a national championship or undefeated season can't be considered perfect.
"We did get scored on, so there were moments when I did wish things had gone differently. I'm my biggest critic. Being my senior year, it was extremely motivational to give it everything I had and just leave it all out there," added Block. "Sometimes, I even surprised myself. I've grown tremendously since freshman year. This was the year I did everything I could."
Block certainly had inside information that some other goalkeepers might not necessarily possess.
"Having been a field player before, and specifically a forward, I think that helped me as a goalie. It helped me to know what to expect from forwards and to know what I would have done in certain situations," Block said.
Block is looking forward now to finishing her studies at Stonehill, a place she has truly come to call home.
"Stonehill is special in that it is small and has very much a community feel to it. That is mostly why I chose this school. As an athlete, academic help is always provided, so I have never had issues balancing sports and school," Block added. "I love my classes and my professors – we have a lot of professors who are big sports fans and they'll say 'how was your game?' or 'good luck today.'"
She is looking to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, and a minor in Healthcare Administration.
"[Interdisciplinary Health Sciences] is basically a biology major, but with a few less classes. I created it myself, as I'm setting myself up for grad school for physical therapy," said Block. "I'm definitely going to take time off before grad school to decide what exactly I want to do. As for healthcare administration, before I was thinking of physical therapy, I was looking at something in the bio field and maybe working at a hospital. When I kind of got away from that, I still wanted to incorporate something [in my studies] if I did want to work at a hospital."
One thing Block knows she wants to do in the future is get into soccer coaching.
"Right now, I am extremely passionate about coaching," she added. With how much she knows about soccer – both on the field and in the net – she'd certainly be a wealth of information for any staff to take on in the future.