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Versatile Knoch star Lassinger leads team by example

| Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 11:36 p.m.

When it comes to soccer, Knoch senior forward Gabi Lassinger is the total package. Offense, defense — she does it all.

Lassinger leads the Knights in goals with 12. Despite being a star scorer for Knoch, she has verbally committed to Division I Lafayette for defense. She will sign her letter of intent on Feb. 5.

She'll line up in the back at Lafayette for a simple reason: She's a shutdown defender, a detail her Century United cup team knows all too well.

As a third-year center defender, she was noticed by Lafayette while playing for Century United, an organization based in the South Hills. The team travels throughout the United States and regularly plays in college showcase tournaments.

“It's different than high school because the (game) outcome doesn't matter as much,” Lassinger said. “It's mostly a lot of individual, as well as team.”

Playing on offense for one team and defense for another doesn't complicate things. Lassinger considers the arrangement beneficial.

“I think that it's nice I play center defender at Century, and I play forward at Knoch,” she said. “It makes me more well-rounded. When I play offense, I think about center defender and vice-versa. ... It makes me appreciate more what everyone is doing besides myself.”

The Knoch soccer team has improved significantly from last year — one year after going 11-8, they're 11-3-1 overall and 9-2-1 in Section 2-AA play.

Lassinger's versatility has been on display since her freshman year at Knoch. During her first two seasons, she strictly played forward. At times during the past two years, however, she has played an attacking midfielder position, which requires her to get back in time to prevent transition opportunities for opponents.

Her conditioning has to be at its highest level. It also has motivated her to keep in top shape as she heads into her freshman year at Lafayette.

“She's one of our captains,” said Knoch assistant Amanda Sharbaugh. “When she's on the field she's not a vocal player. She leads more by example.”

Lassinger has been out the last four games because of injuries to her chest and ribs. She is due to return early next week.

She plans on majoring in chemical engineering at Lafayette.

“I visited there last fall, and it was the last college I visited,” she said. “As soon as I went there I fell in love with the campus and the team.

“It was the top academic school, and Division I soccer, and that's my dream. I knew as soon I was there, I knew I wanted to go there. I didn't need to visit anywhere else.”

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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