Right from the start, soccer gave Emily Lazicki a leg up.
Lazicki, a New Foundations Charter High School senior, enrolled in the school and was headed there after graduating from Labrum Middle School. At the time, she didn’t know many people going to her high school, but shortly after arriving for soccer camp, she had a host of new best friends.
“I got to meet a lot of people before school started because of soccer,” Lazicki said. “That helped a lot because I didn’t know a lot of people. Not many people (from Labrum) went here.”
At first, they were new friends.
Now, they’re her best friends.
And together, the freshman class grew up to have the most successful runs in New Foundations girls soccer history.
On Oct. 30, the Bulldogs defeated Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy 3–2 in overtime to win the school’s third straight Penn Jersey Athletic Association girls championship. Lazicki scored a goal in regulation and netted a second in the first of two 10-minute overtime periods to win the game.
“I was out there and it came on a cross and I got it and put it in,” said Lazicki, who lives in Morrell Park. “I didn’t know if that was going to be the end of the game because it was so close and we still had to play another (overtime period). That didn’t end it.
“When I heard the whistle, I was so excited. It was exciting for everyone. We won. It’s what we worked for.”
Winning a championship is always special, but winning one is especially satisfying when it’s your final game at a school.
However, the pressure of winning a championship as a senior can be a bit overwhelming. But that made it even more special.
It was also special because she didn’t just win a championship, but she accomplished it with her best friends.
“I really wanted to win this year because it’s my last year,” Lazicki said. “It was so much fun winning. Winning every year was great, but you always want to go out on top.
“My teammates were great. They were great all year. I think winning shows that our sportsmanship and hard work paid off. We did everything together and worked together for this, so when you win, it’s special.”
The Bulldogs were more than special. They proved to be elite in their division.
Led by coach Tim Burke, the Bulldogs ran through the Penn Jersey league with ease, winning seven of eight games during the regular season and then outscoring their three foes in the postseason tournament 16–2, and the only goals they surrendered were the pair in the championship game.
They also fared well in nonleague competition. They suffered close losses to Hallahan and Cheltenham, hung in with St. Basil, and had impressive wins over George Washington, MaST Charter, Abington Friends and Philadelphia Academy Charter.
The ambitions schedule might have produced a few more losses than they would have liked, but it did help them when it came time to play against foes in the league.
It also helped that they were willing to put in the work not only every day in practice, but during the offseason.
“We were strong all over,” Lazicki said. “Everyone was really good. We played in an indoor league together and a lot of us would work out over the summer. Not everyone was there, but a lot of us were.”
Lazicki is willing to put in work, both on the field and in the classroom. And next year, she plans on going to college. Soccer is a possibility.
“I think I either want to major in respiratory therapy or sports medicine,” Lazicki said. “I think respiratory therapy would be good because you get to help people and it’s interesting. Sports medicine, I like, because I’ve had a lot of injuries.
“I’ve had a few knee injuries and I tore ligaments in my ankle. Last year, I missed a lot of games because of it. I was out for most of the year but I was back for the playoffs.”
She was back just in time for the championship run.
This year, she was one of the key leaders in the championship run.
And while she won’t be there next year, she has all the confidence in the world in her younger teammates. The Bulldogs should have bite next year, too.
“There are a lot of younger players who are good,” Lazicki said. “I think they’ll be really good next year.”