Freshman Alex Steigelfest is emerging as one of Nicky Adams’ leaders for the future

first_img Published on October 1, 2019 at 11:13 pm Contact Tim: [email protected] When Santa Monica (California) High School trailed 2-0 after allowing its second first-half goal, then-senior forward Alex Steigelfest watched as her teammates’ heads dropped.At halftime, she waited for head coach Jimmy Chapman to leave the huddle before stepping up herself. She wasn’t a captain, she wasn’t the team’s best player, but for one of the final times of her high school career, Steigelfest gave her go-to pep talk.“Regroup, gather your thoughts, focus on the game and nothing else,” Steigelfest remembers saying. “We are here for one purpose and one reason only, and that’s to win and give it your all.”Instead of its second defeat to Palos Verdes in several days, Santa Monica scored three second-half goals to capture its first South Torrance Holiday Tournament in school history. Steigelfest recorded an assist in the final and was named to the All-Tournament team.Now a freshman forward for Syracuse (2-6-2, 0-2-1 Atlantic Coast), Steigelfest has appeared in six matches, including a start and a career-high 73 minutes played against Fordham on Sept. 15. While she’s yet to make an impact on the stat sheet, she’s made an impression on her coaches and teammates as a leader – despite never being named a captain in her soccer career.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I would say it’s something that developed over time,” her father, David Steigelfest, said. “She’s always been very dedicated in soccer.”Steigelfest began playing soccer as a 5-year-old in Santa Monica. She displayed an unrivaled work ethic from the start, David said. However, she was also more reserved, unlike the typical captain in youth sports.Her freshman year of high school, Steigelfest solely played junior varsity. By sophomore year, she earned varsity minutes but didn’t start. The Vikings won their conference, the Oceanic League, behind tremendous leadership from their seniors, Steigelfest said. Leadership that was absent as Steigelfest became an upperclassmen. The following season, Steigelfest started occasionally but not consistently enough to wear the captain’s armband.Karleigh Merritt-Henry | Digital Design EditorWhile Steigelfest denies being disappointed when she wasn’t named a captain as a senior, David sensed she truly felt otherwise. He reinforced to his daughter that high school soccer wasn’t the “end-all, be-all.” She was a strong student and an accomplished violinist, but her first passion was soccer, and she had already committed to playing at SU.No designated captain on the Vikings took a real leadership role her senior year, Steigelfest said, so she decided to take initiative. She brought a whole new demeanor to the pitch, being much more vocal and energized like that January match against Palos Verdes.While David refuses to take credit, Steigelfest insists she’s just following her father’s example, who’s “been the boss throughout his whole life,” she said.David, the founder of esports-startup Super League Gaming, graduated from SU in 1989. One time, David took a picture of his daughter wearing a No. 44 jersey when she was four years old. She decided to follow him when she committed at the end of her junior year, in May 2018.From the first day of preseason at Syracuse, Steigelfest’s character made an impression on her teammates and coaches. Georgia Allen, whom head coach Nicky Adams has called the team’s “ultimate professional,” was particularly struck by the freshman’s awareness.“She’s very good at one-to-one, checking in with you,” Allen said.“Alex California,” as Allen refers to her, also struck a chord with the senior midfielder for her attention to detail. Steigelfest values tidiness of the locker room and accountability, regardless of a player’s role on the team.Adams was hesitant to speculate about Steigelfest’s future, but Steigelfest may one day get the armband she’s never had.“She has a lot of growth to do as a soccer player,” Adams said, “but as a person she’s got it handled 100%.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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