Kemper Robinson: The Destined Commodore

Even amidst the best season of her career, Kemper Robinson attributes her success to the people around her.
Kemper Robinson has been one of Vanderbilts main keys to success this season. (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)
Kemper Robinson has been one of Vanderbilt’s main keys to success this season. (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)
Sofia El-Shammaa

Coaches always emphasize the importance of a team. Whether it be football, basketball, soccer or lacrosse, the concept of a team and playing for those around you is consistently hammered into the minds of athletes. Yet, in a sports world filled with tons of focus on individual stars, it’s increasingly rare to find an athlete who is simply all about the team in every way. 

Enter Kemper Robinson, an exceedingly positive-spirited and talented junior midfielder out of McDonough School in Owings Mills, Md. While her play on the field radiates confidence and a killer instinct, Robinson is full of life and gratitude off the field.

Robinson was a star in every regard coming out of high school. She was a state champion in soccer, track and lacrosse. Even then, it seemed that Robinson was born to have a lacrosse stick in hand.

Her father, George Robinson, played lacrosse at Ohio Wesleyan. Her younger brother played lacrosse too, the team he played for being coached by Robinson’s father. Robinson’s competitive spirit pulled her to go to their practices, trying to beat the boy’s team. Outside of those practices, Robinson practically lived and breathed lacrosse. 

“I’m from Baltimore, which is lacrosse central,” Robinson said to The Hustler. “Lacrosse in Baltimore was like football in Alabama. We did everything lacrosse. Our social lives were lacrosse-related. When we had free periods in high school we were going out and shooting. Even in middle school, everything was based on lacrosse.”

Although Nashville may not share the same endless adornment for lacrosse, Robinson appeared to be meant to play on West End. Robinson originally visited Nashville for a five-on-five camp with her friends who needed an extra player at the last minute, but upon getting on the field, Robinson fell in love with Vanderbilt. 

“It’s kind of that feeling that everyone explains when you get on campus and you know this is where you’re meant to be,” Robinson said. “They were playing music at the camp, all the coaches were so fun and happy and wanted to talk to everyone. I knew this is where I wanted to go.”

However, what appeared to be a match made in heaven between Robinson and Vanderbilt Lacrosse still had bumps in the road. In Robinson’s freshman year, the Commodores went 11-7 and fell to No. 8 Florida in the AAC Championship, 18-7. Robinson had already started to make an impact, playing in 16 games, scoring 7 goals on 13 shots alongside adding 22 draw controls, 8 ground balls and 6 caused turnovers.

Her sophomore year was when the program hit a massive roadblock as Vanderbilt finished the season 4-11, the most losses suffered in one season since 2015-16 when the team went 5-11. Although the Commodores started the season with a dazzling win over No. 25 Colorado in overtime, a gauntlet of opponents followed, including losses to No. 9 Denver, Florida, Penn State, James Madison and Northwestern. Robinson improved in almost every statistical category, scoring 12 goals and forcing 13 turnovers. Still, for Robinson, the situation was much grander than herself.

“I think every team in your four years is going to go through ups and downs,” Robinson said. “Each year I’ve been here, the team’s confidence has gotten better and we’re figuring out our stride, who we want to be and how we want our story to be written. Coming off last year, we were all a little worried that it would continue that way or people would play out of fear, but, in reality, we banded together.”

Coming together must have paid dividends, as the Commodores started this season off on fire. Stepping into a bigger role, Robinson, alongside UNC transfer Brooke Baker, led Vanderbilt to a dominant 19-4 win over Central Michigan at home. Robinson posted a career-high in goals with five on just five shots while also earning AAC Midfielder of the Week honors. 

It’s safe to say that Vanderbilt has quite the player in its ranks. Through 13 games, in which Vanderbilt is 7-6, Robinson continues to be a force on both ends of the field by posting career-highs in every category. At the moment, Robinson has scored 27 goals, the most on the roster. On top of that, she has 22 draw controls and is tied for the third-most caused turnovers with 13.

Even while having a career year, Robinson claims that her coaches and teammates have spurred her to such heights. 

“That validation [from teammates] allowed me to feel better about what I wanted to do on the field,” Robinson said. “I played more defensively for my whole lacrosse career, so points are something I never thought about as in-depth as I have this year. So, working with Jill, whose our offensive coach, has been really awesome and she’s instilled so much confidence in me. Every one who goes in the game feels confident in me to shoot, to pass, to get assists. The team, the coaches, everything has pushed my confidence way up.” 

With an outstanding support system beneath her, Robinson is imbued with confidence and an eagerness to play her heart out for the team.

“I’m battling for my best friends. There’s seriously nothing I wouldn’t do for any of those girls,” Robinson said. “Everything for me is about the team and about each other. As an upperclassmen leader, if one of my freshmen missed a pass, I’m going to be one of the people to go help them out, get it back and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

With the regular season winding to a close, Robinson has made her mark as one of Vanderbilt Lacrosse’s key players. From being a lifting spirit to a helpful leader to an assertive force, Robinson has done it all and more for the Commodores. Despite this, all of that is sourced from what Robinson feeds off: the people who’ve supported her day in and day out. One program filled with quality teammates and coaches has given a great deal to Robinson, and in return she’s delivered a whole lot for Vanderbilt on the field.

As aspirations for an AAC championship hold strong, look for a motivated Robinson to be a leading part of this momentous unit surging forward. Every goal, every assist and every win is a signal of what Vanderbilt has played a role in developing. 

A true cornerstone. A hallmark player. A symbol of exactly what it means to be a teammate.

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About the Contributors
David Hernandez
David Hernandez, Lead Sports Analyst
David Hernandez (‘26) is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in communication studies. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can find him playing basketball, catching up on his favorite shows and mourning the tragedy that is New York sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sofia El-Shammaa
Sofia El-Shammaa, Staff Writer and Photographer, Data and Graphics Staffer
Sofia El-Shammaa (‘27) is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When they’re not writing or making graphics, you can find them with their cat, Mochi, watching bad movies or reading good books. You can reach them at [email protected].
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