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Girls Soccer: Lincoln-Way North’s Lexi Cesario finds switch reward

Lexi Cesario for Lincoln-Way North Soccer for Spring PhoDay Andrew High School Sunday March 23rd 2014 Tinley Park | Gary

Lexi Cesario for Lincoln-Way North Soccer for Spring Photo Day at Andrew High School, Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 in Tinley Park | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 30, 2014 6:21AM



When Lexi Cesario learned that Lincoln-Way North coach Mike Murphy wanted her to move from an attacking midfielder position to center defender for her senior season, she said she wasn’t thrilled.

“It’s not my favorite position,” she said. “I don’t know much about it. I’ve played it a bit with club teams and stuff, but this is the first time I’ve ever had it be my set position. It’s a big change. It’s been frustrating at times. There’s a lot of times where I just want to run forward and try to score, but I’ll do whatever I have to to help the team.”

For Murphy, the reason for the move was simple.

“We’re always a team where everything starts with defense,” he said. “We needed someone we could count on back there, and Lexi is a great player we can depend on.”

Cesario appreciates the compliment.

“I think it’s nice knowing that he thinks I can make a difference back there,” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”

So far, the change appears to be working. The Phoenix has posted 10 shutouts on the way to a 12-3-1 record.

“We lost a lot of seniors from last year, and at the beginning of the season, we didn’t know how it’d be,” Cesario said. “We’ve definitely improved a lot since the start of the season. I’m excited about how we’re playing.”

Cesario, in particular, has seen her game progress as well.

“I’ve definitely improved as a defender,” she said. “In the summer is when I really started playing there. From then to now, I think I’ve definitely come a long way.”

She’s also growing into another new role with the team.

“At the beginning of the season, (Murphy) wanted me and a couple of other seniors to be captains and leaders,” she said. “I’ve never had to be that for my team before. It was kind of hard to adapt. As the season’s gone on, though, I’ve gotten better at the leadership role. I try to help out the young players as much as I can.”

Cesario got into soccer by following in the footsteps of her sister, Kristi, who played for North and graduated in 2012.

“I basically just copied her,” Lexi said. “I started playing when I was 5 and got on a travel team when I was 8.”

Cesario will continue her career at Columbia College in South Carolina.

“I’m really excited” she said. “It’s going to be so different because it’s so far away and I don’t know anyone. I’m excited to meet new friends and glad I get to keep playing soccer.”



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