Swarthmore’s Lizzie King is glad she’ll be staying “home” for four years. “It’s awesome.”
In early December she got the acceptance letter from Swarthmore College, where she had applied early decision. For Lizzie, who grew up and lives in Swarthmore, familiarity did not breed contempt; in fact, she said, “Swarthmore set the standard for me. I always wanted a smaller school, with closer relationships between students and professors. And I’m excited about the whole adventure of a liberal arts education.”
Another lately prominent feature of the college is its women’s soccer program, which under coach Todd Anckaitas was nationally ranked for much of last season. “Growing up here as a soccer player, I knew about the team and the coach.” And surely the coach knew about Lizzie, who was a talented youth player in town and club soccer, and a key contributor to Strath Haven High School’s 2015 and 2016 championships in the Central League.
Lizzie was named the Delaware County Daily Times girls’ soccer player of the year after the 2016 season, repeating as the top player for the second consecutive year, and earning her third consecutive All-Delco recognition. Lizzie was one of 57 girls in the nation named to the 2016 All-America girls team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She was also inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame as a scholar athlete.
Lizzie’s role on the Panthers squad changed dramatically from sophomore to senior year. She was a dominant striker and prolific scorer as a 10th grader, attracted increased defensive attention as she played through injury in her junior year, and became a true game-changer as the double-teams focused on her throughout this season created opportunities for her talented teammates to score 40 goals on top of the 13 she netted.
Lizzie expects to play on the attacking side of the field for the Swarthmore College Garnet next fall. “I’ve played forever on lots of all kinds of teams, but I’m sure this will be a different atmosphere,” she said. “At Strath Haven, I had to change my style of play and become a distributor,” Lizzie said. “And it was cool to see my teammates score so much. There is no difference in skills, just a different mindset.” Mind, and body, she said — “I had to get used to bumps and bruises” as opposing teams played an increasingly physical style against the center forward.
Her aches and pains aside, Lizzie credits her coaches Gino Miraglia and T.J. Adams for helping her stay healthy for the full season. “They are really aware of how we’re doing physically, and I’ve learned about how the body works,” she said. That’s more than coincidence. “I love biology, and I’m planning on graduating from Swarthmore with pre-med requisites.”
Strath Haven and Swarthmore have apparently prepared Lizzie King well for the next level, both on the field and in the academic community.