Freshman goalie grabs defensive player of the week... twice

By Anthony Navarrete, Staff Writer

Goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team Jackie Lari has scored Heartland Conference defensive player of the week twice in her freshman season, something that hadn’t been done in at least the past three years.

Lari said that she was not aware that the conference gave out weekly awards and was surprised when she had picked it up the first time.

“It was an honor to get it as a freshman because I hadn’t been here that long. Knowing that I’m making an impact on the team is really cool and that the conference is recognizing that too is a big deal for me,” she said.

Head women’s soccer coach Aaron Avila said that Lari has been a positive addition to the team and that he hopes to continue to see her grow as a player.

“She obviously enjoys being recognized, but that will definitely drive her to try to perform better because she’s so competitive,” he said.

While Lari may enjoy being recognized for her work in the goal, she said that much of the success her team has seen this year is because of everyone on the field.

“I know that the defenders are going to work their butts off and then that makes me want to work my butt off for them. It’s just a mutual thing. And then we have the forwards up top, always working hard. It’s just a good vibe with the team,” she said.

Avila said that in his three years as head coach, there has not been a freshman that has received weekly awards twice in their first season.

“That’s definitely something that’s special for her and I’m glad she’s getting that individual recognition because she is playing so well,” he said.

The Jets had not won a game against St. Edwards since 2009 and Dallas Baptist since 2010, but with the assistance of Lari, the Jets were able to not only beat the top schools of the conference but also win by shutouts in both games.

Coach Avila said that both teams played well and that it was a tight match but Lari rose to the occasion.

“The hard part for a goalkeeper is when you’re called upon, and it may not be very often in those big games, but that’s the big difference in those games. Can you come up with the big save, even if it’s only one? When it really counts? And that’s what she’s been able to do,” he said.

The lady Jets fell short against St. Mary’s on Oct. 18 but went on to defeat Texas A&M International with a score of 0-1 where Lari, who played the whole 90 minutes, faced five shots and had two saves.

This article was apart of our 50th anniversary issue where we used similar formatting to an issue from 1973.  To see the full issue, formatting included, click here.