Prolific scorer Debo brings more goals to Edinboro women's soccer team
Liz Debo didn't take long to prove she could hold her own on a college soccer field. She needed less than four minutes.
Playing in just her third game in fall 2011, Debo scored a natural hat trick in a span of 3 minutes, 47 seconds to lead Edinboro to a 3-0 win over East Stroudsburg. That outburst not only represented her first goals for the Fighting Scots but also a personal first; she never had a hat trick while playing at Norwin.
That game served as a foreshadowing of where her college career could be headed: the top of Edinboro's record books.
After a seven-goal campaign as a freshman, Debo had a breakout season in 2012, doubling her output on her way to first-team All-PSAC and Daktronics All-Atlantic Region honors. Her 21 career goals rank seventh on the Fighting Scots' all-time list, and the junior forward needs 17 over her final two seasons to surpass the school record of 37 held by Jamie (Tekotte) Sallie, Edinboro's assistant coach.
“We're always joking around about her record and not wanting me to beat it,” Debo said. “Her stats simply motivate me more to work harder.
“When I came here, I thought I might have just been average at best. ... But I think it's in my reach.”
“There's goal scorers, and there's people that can score goals. Liz is a goal scorer,” Edinboro coach Gary Kagiavas said. “Sometimes she manufactures a goal when you think she can't.”
The goals might not come as easily this season. Edinboro graduated several key players from last year's 13-4-2 team and has just one senior on the roster. That means defenses likely will be paying more attention to Debo.
To try to combat the increased pressure, Debo spent a good portion of her offseason working on speed and agility. She also worked on increasing her leg strength, although she said her ability to finesse the ball into the goal will remain her forté.
“I'm definitely not one of those players who can just fire at the goal and hope it goes in,” she said. “I love chipping the ball over goalies. Goalies really hate that.”
She also recognizes that she may need to become more of a distributor since all the attention on her should open chances for others.
If that means her goal total decreases, so be it. Debo is more concerned with winning. The Fighting Scots were picked to finish sixth in the PSAC in the preseason coaches' poll, and Debo would like nothing more than to prove her team is being underestimated.
But Kagiavas is convinced Debo is bent on proving she's been underestimated, too. Her 14 goals led the PSAC last year, and that laurel, Kagiavas said, usually leads to All-America status.
Debo's name did not appear on any All-America teams. That, Kagiavas believes, will produce an even more effective scorer.
“I think she came in with a chip on her shoulder,” he said. “She came to camp in incredible shape, and I think she's going to be even better than she was last year.
“She's one of those kids that they can mark her and do whatever they want, but she's going to score.”
Chuck Curti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.