Freshman goalie’s play earns player of the week

For Elizabeth Kowalczyk, a lifetime of work has been rewarded.

The freshman goalie’s road to the soccer fields at Cosumnes River College started at a young age.

“15 years [ago]. I started when I was three. I always played with my little brother until my parents finally got me into little league, so I started playing when I could run and walk,” Kowalczyk said.

While she has always worked hard on the field, so it came as a surprise to being recognized this week,“

This award is pretty special. I was very happy and it’s just good to know that all the hard work pays off,” she said.

Kowalczyk has started 16 games this season and allowed  a 1.27 goals against average, with a 79.3 percent save percentage.

The recognition as athlete of the week showed her that she has to keep working and stick with her work ethic.

“As far as motivation from this award, I was just wowed that I was acknowledged. It just shows you just gotta keep doing it and go for it,” she said.

She attributed much of her inspiration to her parents.

“They’re the ones who have been there for me and started everything. They’ve been there to support me and help me out through the tough times and the fun times.”

But her ongoing inspiration is her effect on others.

“My inspiration since I’ve been young was probably just being able to inspire other people,” Kowalczyk said.

“Being able to show them what they are capable of and to show them the things that are possible to them.”

Soccer had always been a great fit for her, connecting with her desire to compete with others.

“The thing I like about soccer is the competitiveness. I’m very competitive,” Kowalczyk said.

She sometimes struggles to balance schoolwork and athletics, but is grateful for the academic program at CRC.

“Luckily, us student athletes get a chance to pick our classes and give a chance to balance that time between class and soccer,” Kowalczyk said.

The bond with her teammates provides a lot of support, as they all provide for one another.

“The best thing about this season is the girls. The girls are really fun to play with and are very motivational. But the coaches, they’re great,” she said.

“They know how to motivate you in the right way and if you’ve done something amazing, they know how to praise it. That’s hard to find in a coach.”

“I’ve worked with them before, so to work with them again, I’m very happy.”

She has had a love for the game since such a young age, so it became a beneficial thing for her.

“I just enjoy the game and being able to just go out there and leave it all out on the field,” Kowalczyk said.

Soccer has been an escape for her, no matter when she encounters problems. It’s always there to provide a sense of relief and clears her mind.

“You may have problems in your everyday life, but as soon as you cross that line, all those problems just go away,” she said.

“Soccer is that getaway. It’s like people going on vacation – this is my vacation,”