Athlete of the Week: Lizzie King ’21

Swarthmore women’s soccer continued their strong play this past weekend, defeating St. Joseph’s College of Maine and Virginia Wesleyan in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Although six Swarthmore players scored over the weekend, Lizzie King ’21 was one of the team’s standout performers. King, a sophomore from Swarthmore, PA, notched two goals in the 5-1 drubbing of St. Joseph’s on Saturday. She then followed up her fine performance against the Monks with an assist and a number of nice through balls in the 3-0 victory over Virginia Wesleyan. King, an All-Centennial Conference Honorable Mention selection last season, has been performing at a consistently high level again this season. However, she has picked up her scoring form in recent weeks, with three goals and two assists in her past five games. King will look to continue her hot form when the Garnet resume their journey to the national championship this weekend against No. 3 Middlebury.

Max Katz-Balmes: What are you planning to major in, and what has led you to pursue that area of study?

Lizzie King: I’m planning on majoring in medical anthropology. I was sort of interested in becoming an MD, but I found significant meaning in the pre-med classes that I was taking, so I decided to take a anthropology class on public health and loved it, so I decided that medical anth[ropology] was the path for me.

MKB: Why did you decide to attend Swarthmore?

LK: I was looking for schools that were competitive academically and had a strong women’s soccer program but didn’t look at Swarthmore because I lived here my whole life and thought that I should leave home for college. After visiting a few schools and determining that I wanted to go to a small liberal arts college, I gave Swarthmore some more thought and reached out to Coach Todd. The recruitment process was easy because I live so close by and the school really met all the criteria that I was looking for.  

MKB: When did you begin playing soccer?

LK: I started playing soccer for the Swarthmore Recreation Association when I was in second grade. Two of my best friends’ dads were the coaches of the team and it was where I learned to love soccer.

MKB: Tell us a funny story from your experience as a Swarthmore soccer player.

LK: Last week, we were watching the NCAA selection show to see what our seed would be in the playoffs. When we found out that we were hosting, Yaz[meen Namazie] got super excited and tripped on something that sent her flying over the table in front of her. Thankfully our coach was sitting right there and grabbed her by the ankle and saved her right before she hit the ground. We could have been down another player if it wasn’t for his quick thinking.  

MKB: What is your favorite aspect about playing soccer at Swat?

LK: The team. My teammates are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and they motivate me to do my best everyday, on and off the field.

MKB: What is the biggest difference between this year’s team and last year’s team?

LK: This year there has been such a group effort to keep a healthy, positive mindset amongst the team and it has cultivated a confidence that wasn’t as strong last year. I honestly could feel it during preseason. I could tell by the positivity that was being spread that we were going to have a historic season.

MKB: The team has won its past four games by an average margin of almost four goals per game. What has inspired this fine run in form?

LK: I think we have just been progressing through the season with the intent of peaking in playoffs. We have kept our team healthy so that we’ve all been able to play for the full season and with time we’ve learned to be confident in ourselves and each other. It’s allowed us to go into playoff season on our strongest foot and it shows in the scores.

MKB: Describe the emotions of playing the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament on home turf.
LK: We thought that our last home game was going to be the one against Haverford on senior day, which we tied. Being able to host meant giving our seniors another shot at winning their last game on this turf. We were playing for each other and being on this turf gave it more sentiment.
MKB: This weekend, you guys are making the trip up to Middlebury for the third round of the NCAA tournament. The three teams you could potentially face, Middlebury, Misericordia, and Hardin-Simmons, are all ranked in the top ten of the latest United Soccer Coaches rankings. How confident are you guys going into these tough matchups? What is the ceiling for this year’s team?

LK: We got one of our best results in a game against the No. 4 ranked team in the nation at the time [Johns Hopkins]. We’ve proven that rakings don’t intimidate us. After scoring 18 goals in our last four games and only allowing three goals on us, we are going into this round with momentum. I think the only ceiling for this team would be one that we create ourselves. If we continue to go forward with confidence and a positive mindset we can achieve whatever we set our minds to.

Max Katz-Balmes

Max '20 is from Berkeley, CA. Interested in pursuing a career in sustainable urban planning, Max has decided to double major in Environmental Studies and Economics. Apart from editing for The Phoenix, Max is a President's Sustainability Research Fellow, a member of the men's golf team, and a part of an environmental justice organization on campus called Serenity Soular. In his free time, Max enjoys playing basketball in the Fieldhouse and watching Love Island.

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