Svetlik finds success for the Panthers in the corner

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Alex Svetlik (#20) challenges her defender on the first bounce. Svetlik makes an impact as the Panthers’ defensive center by consistently denying opponents the ball. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Alex Svetlik (#20) challenges her defender on the first bounce. Svetlik makes an impact as the Panthers’ defensive center by consistently denying opponents the ball. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By Paul Livengood

Alex Svetlik, senior defensive center midfielder, spends a lot of time in the corner. Svetlik, the Panthers’ three-time captain, has been taking corner kicks for Liberty Hill since the program was created her freshman year. Even before her high school career, she could be found in stance, preparing to send the ball into the box for as long as she can remember.

“Yeah, I’ve actually done them for a long time,” Svetlik said. “I think I have a big foot or a big leg, so sometimes I’ll take free kicks and corners and what not.”

Svetlik has played soccer since first grade, playing for Austin’s Lonestar Soccer Club for five-plus years before leaving the program her freshman year. Svetlik left the Lonestar program to serve from another corner, this time on the tennis court, playing for the Liberty Hill varsity tennis team.

Playing on two varsity squads along with her schoolwork proved too much to handle in addition to select soccer, so a sacrifice had to be made.

Being a dual-sport athlete is tough for anyone, especially when the two seasons overlap. Svetlik deals with this issue every spring. Most times, the senior will give priority to wherever she feels she’s needed most.

“If it’s a harder team for soccer, then I’ll probably end up going to the soccer game, because they probably need me more there,” Svetlik said. “If it’s a team we are supposed to beat, then maybe I’ll go to tennis and try to come back for the soccer game. It’s a lot.”

On occasion, Svetlik is forced to travel straight from one venue to another, immediately switching from tennis gear to soccer gear, and vice versa.

“I did that last year,” Svetlik said. “There was a tennis tournament in Georgetown, and our soccer game was in Jarrell. So afterwards, my mom picked me up from the tennis match in Georgetown and drove to Jarrell and I played.”

The Liberty Hill midfielder has verbally committed to King University in Bristol, Tennessee, to play soccer. The campus is fittingly located in the northeastern corner of the state. Svetlik has already gone on two visits to the campus, both taking place prior to her verbal commitment.

Svetlik admitted that moving out of state for college will be a difficult adjustment.

“It’s kind of weird, because I never thought I would be going out of state for school,” Svetlik said. “At first, it’s going to be really different. Even for anyone going to college, you’re like ‘wow, I’m by myself.’ I’ll be homesick a lot, but that’ll make the time that I am home more special.”

In July 2016, Svetlik attended a soccer camp in Harrogate, Tennessee, then traveled two hours east to meet the soccer coach at King, who happens to be a friend of Liberty Hill Head Coach Darren Bauer. Svetlik met the coach and took a tour of the campus during her first visit.

She returned two months later in September for another visit, taking advantage of the opportunity to play with the King soccer team for a day, stay the night in the dorms, and attend a King soccer game. In December, Svetlik verbally committed to the Tornado program.

Svetlik plans to major in Biology, but is unsure of what she wants to do with the degree. She is an avid Netflix user, where she enjoys crime shows. Svetlik said maybe she would venture off into the forensics field.

No matter what corner of the world she ends up in, Svetlik said she will always be proud to be from Texas.

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