BY KATELYN SPELLMAN
Athlete of the Week Alex Lewis does not lead the Montrose girls’ varsity soccer team in scoring or assists. Nor does she lead the team in shutouts or saves. In fact, her name rarely appears in the box score of a game.
However, the senior defender is an integral part of the team, according to head coach John Cherundolo.
“Along with our other defenders, (Lewis) is directly responsible for our team’s successes over the past few seasons and our drive to the playoffs this season,” Coach Cherundolo said. “Her leadership qualities as well as her on-field presence are both contributing factors to her being named Athlete of the Week.”
Daughter of Bill and Debbie Lewis of Montrose, Lewis has played soccer since third grade and has been a varsity starter for the Lady Meteors since her freshman season. Although she has played striker or midfield for the majority of her career, Lewis was moved to defense last season.
“Playing defense takes a special person who is not only fast and strong but understands the game. (Lewis’) knowledge and experience at the other positions helps her have a feel for what the opponent is going to do and how to keep one step ahead of them,” Coach Cherundolo said. “Traditionally, our team’s most fearless players who possess the most skills and are the best tacklers eventually end up as a defender.”
The move has proved successful for both the team and Lewis; the Lady Meteors captured the 2009 District 2 AA title last fall, and Lewis was named to the Lackawanna League first all-star team last season.
Despite being hampered by foot and ankle injuries earlier this season, Lewis has rebounded and continues to be a defensive force for the Lady Meteors.
“Being injured was really hard because it affected my speed,” Lewis said. “I rely on my speed to do my job as a defender.”
Utilizing her sprinter’s speed, Lewis is able to catch opposing teams’ forwards who may have evaded the team’s other defender and prevent a shot or goal, a job that she relishes, according to Coach Cherundolo.
“She takes pride and pleasure in chasing down opponents who invade her territory,” Coach Cherundolo said. “For the last few years, assistant coach Jerry Homsher and I have often times uttered ‘T.G.F.A!’ which stands for ‘Thank goodness for Alex!’”
As the regular season comes to a close and the playoff race heats up, the Lady Meteors are once again looking to Lewis to “perform her usual heroics” and help lead the team in earning a berth in the district tournament and a chance to defend their title.
“We have a good shot of getting to the playoffs and advancing deep into the tournament if we play together and play our game,” Lewis said.
After the season ends, Lewis’ playing days will not be over as she hopes to continue her career at Ithaca College next fall.
Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Doug and Cindy Lattner of McDonald’s in Montrose.