Walking between two rows of enthusiastic coaches, players and fans holding green and yellow balloons, Rock Bridge midfielder Alex Litofsky, senior, took her place among the five other seniors on the Bruins soccer team. With all the emotions of senior night and playing in front of the home crowd for one of the last times during her four-year stint on varsity, Litofsky brushed off the sentimentalities and stayed focused on the task at hand.
“It’s kind of hard to start like that,” Litofsky said. “I’m just glad nobody cried. It’s a celebration more than anything.”
Litofsky is the unquestioned, no-nonsense leader of the Rock Bridge team.
“She’s a captain,” coach Kelly Gates said. “She’s a leader. She’s kind of the hard-nosed one of the group. She won’t goof around. She will try to keep them (the team) on task. She’s the mom of the group.”
Litofsky’s practical approach has worked on the field, with her teammates responding. Litofsky’s passion for the game is unparalleled.
“My teammates might say I’m too intense,” Litofsky said. “I yell a lot. Not in a mean way. It’s encouraging or directive. When I come to play soccer, I come to play.”
Litofsky, along with the rest of the Rock Bridge team, came to play Monday night.The Bruins defeated visiting Smith-Cotton 2-0. In a fast-paced game littered with scoring chances, Rock Bridge made its first goal in the 33rd minute when senior Lauren Kelly received a pass in the box with a defender behind her, turned to her left and rocketed a right-footed shot past the lunging goalkeeper. Sophomore Kayla Hauck added an insurance goal in the 69th minute, burying a left-footed penalty kick into the lower left-hand corner of the net. With the win, Rock Bridge improves to 4-13 for the season.
“It was exciting to come out and beat the No. 1 team in our district,” Gates said. “It will be a good boost for the girls’ ego.”
Litofsky is more than just a vocal leader. Her play on the field speaks wonders. In 2007, she was awarded All-State Honorable Mention.
“It’s my sense of the field,” Litofsky said. “Being able to see it and make the connections to where the ball should go, then being able to execute.”
Litofsky is originally from Massachusetts, where she played for a variety of club teams starting at age 5. She moved to Columbia in 2004, the summer before her freshman year. Going to a strange town with new places and people, she remained unfazed.
“The first thing I did was sign up for Carerra (a competitive club soccer team in Columbia),” Litofsky said. “That definitely helped. In Massachusetts, I went to a small school. Coming to Rock Bridge with so many people and so much talent, I was excited.”
Litofsky plans on attending Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to play soccer for the Division III Spartans. CWRU coach Tiffany Crooks scouted Litofsky when she played in a showcase in Iowa.
“I want to play soccer there because soccer keeps me sane,” Litofsky said. “It will help me stay disciplined.”
However, the school caught her attention in more ways than one.
“They have a great engineering school,” Litofsky said. “It’s very competitive.”
Litofsky said she hopes to obtain an engineering degree so that she can become an environmental engineer and save the planet.
But, it all boils down to soccer for Litofsky.
“I love the game,” Litofsky said. “I love patterns and it’s so fluid. You have to be creative but with fast pace and intensity. I love headers, lead passes, switching fields. When it’s played well, it’s a pretty game.”
Focused as always, Litofsky hopes for a repeat of the 2007 District Championship.
“I want to have fun and play well,” Litofsky said. “They go hand in hand.”