Swieczkowski signs with Schreiner for soccer

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Payton Swieczkowski was joined at the signing ceremony by her parents (seated from left) Chad and Ashlee Schulze, and brother, Cade; and Coaches Bauer and Maher.   (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Payton Swieczkowski was joined at the signing ceremony by her parents (seated from left) Chad and Ashlee Schulze, and brother, Cade; and Coaches Bauer and Maher. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By Mike Schoeffel

The Liberty Hill girls soccer program has its newest college commit.

Senior Payton Swieczkowski officially signed with Schreiner University in Kerrville, on Nov. 12. Swieczkowski was also being pursued by Hardin-Simmons and Southwestern, but ultimately decided on Division III Schreiner because “I liked Kerrville and the campus felt like home right away.”

Swieczkowski said signing with a college soccer program fulfills a dream she’s had since the “fifth or sixth grade.”

“I’ve wanted to play college soccer for a long time and Schreiner seemed like the absolute best fit for me,” she said. “I could easily see myself enjoying the next four years of my life there.”

Schreiner, located about 100 miles southwest of Liberty Hill, is a private liberal arts school with an enrollment of approximately 1,300 undergraduates. The girls soccer program experienced nine straight losing seasons from 2006 to 2014, but posted winning records in 2015 and 2016. This past spring, the Mountaineers reached the SCAC semifinals where they fell top-seeded Trinity, 1-0.

Swieczkowski will finish out her varsity career with the Panthers this spring. Last season, she helped Liberty Hill capture a 15-9 overall record (9-3 in the district) and advance to the second round of the UIL postseason, where they fell to Boerne, 2-0. Swieczkowski ended the year with four goals (fifth most on the team) and five assists (second most on the team).

Being part of the Liberty Hill girls soccer program has taught her many lessons, she said.

“I’ve learned not to be selfish,” she said. “I’ve learned to take chances sometimes. I’ve learned how to work with different types of people, and I’ve learned how to be a leader.”

Swieczkowski, who started playing soccer when she was “two or three,” hopes to one day become a teacher and a coach. One of her biggest mentors, she said, has been Liberty Hill head coach Darren Bauer. Swieczkowski noted that she hopes to one day model her coaching style after Bauer’s.

“I look up to him a lot,” she said. “I want to make players feel like he makes us feel, which is that we can absolutely do anything we put our minds to.”

Before she moves on to pursuing her goal of becoming a coach herself, she has one final season with the varsity team looming just around the corner, and she wants to make the best of it. She said she’ll miss many things about her teammates and coaches, most notably the “love we have for each other out there on the field.”

When Swieczkowski leaves Liberty Hill, she wants to leave a legacy of tolerance and acceptance in the program for years to come.

“I want to make a difference before I leave high school,” she said. “I want the program to be an open and accepting place for the younger kids and anyone else who feels different.”

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