Idaho soccer midfielder Elexis Schlossarek made a name for herself in the Big Sky Conference last season, sparking the Vandals offense after scoring four goals and providing seven assists. a spark for the Vandals last season after scoring four goals and providing seven assists.
The junior currently ranks eight in program history with 11 assists, but said she doesnâ€™t reflect on her previous marks, but on helping to team excel on the field.
â€œYou have to look at it as a different season to build off what you did last season,â€ Schlossarek said. â€œThere was some great accomplishments last season but thatâ€™s out of my head. Itâ€™s more about the future and Iâ€™m definitely working towards being a better player than I was in the fall.â€
Idaho head coach Derek Pittman said Schlossarekâ€™s influential leadership helps bring out the best in her teammates.
â€œElexis is an inspirational leader and sheâ€™s a passionate player,â€ Pittman said. â€œI believe her teammates respond very well to how she plays. When she scores a goal â€” it doesnâ€™t happen very often because sheâ€™s not a forward â€” but she did score some key goals for us during her career.â€
Schlossarek netted the lone Vandal goal in the Big Sky postseason championship against Northern Colorado Nov. 8. Idaho would eventually fall to the Bears in penalty kicks 3-0.
Schlossarek said she has focused on becoming more helpful to the team than she was last season.
â€œMy main focus is being with the team, about being about the team and encouraging people to be better,â€ Schlossarek said. â€œIâ€™ve been trying to lift people up and pushing players past their limits.â€
Pittman said the teamâ€™s drive stems largely from Schlossarekâ€™s contagious love of the game.
â€œThe team rallies around her because she plays with such passion and emotion,â€ Pittman said. â€œThey really feed off from that enthusiasm she has on a regular basis. She leads in other ways in regard of how she plays. When she scores goals itâ€™s always a huge bonus because it definitely lifts the team up.â€
The junior said the team has been doing well this spring, despite a five-month period with no soccer.
â€œWeâ€™re still trying to get back into the (feel) because it has been since November when we last played a big game,â€ Schlossarek said. â€œGetting back to the routine has been difficult.â€
Pittman said Scholssarek possesses a variety of skills on the pitch, making her an incredibly versatile midfielder.
â€œThe one thing Elexis brings to the table is that she has good vision and got good awareness on the field,â€ Pittman said. â€œOnce she has the ball in the midfield and has the opportunity to start our attack, sheâ€™s very good at passing.â€
Pittman said Schlossarek has routinely provided key plays for the team.
â€œSheâ€™s involved in a lot of our attacking the play because we trust her with the ball,â€ Pittman said. â€œWe trust her ability to create opportunities for our team to score. Those are just attributes that ultimately led to her having so much success in the midfield for our team.â€
Schlossarek, entering her senior season with the team, said she has learned to embrace each moment and as a midfielder.
â€œEvery single day I work my hardest because I know Iâ€™m done after this upcoming season,â€ Schlossarek said. â€œI know that Iâ€™m not going to play soccer at a high level again so this is it. I want to make the most out of every single day that I have left.â€
She is currently majoring in business with emphasis in operation management and finance. Schlossarek said she has a passion for the competitive world of business, and has been thinking about her professional career.
â€œTaking the experience that Iâ€™ve had right now and working hard every single day, I can see how thatâ€™s going to pay off for my future,â€ she said. â€œI use soccer as my example all the time of how Iâ€™m building myself for my future and the skills that Iâ€™ve learned about leadership, time management and how to be a teammate.â€
The junior said she felt honored when her team was recognized by the North Idaho Hall of Fame as the Team of the Year.
â€œWe did make huge strides last season,â€ Schlossarek said. â€œI will never doubt that success and Iâ€™m so proud of my team for what we have done this past year. I was amazed to get that award, itâ€™s just such an honor.â€
Luis Torres can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TheLTFiles