By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Lexi Salazar had two major things at the top of her list for things she wanted in a college.
She found them both at Liberty University.
“My No. 1 thing was I wanted it to be a Christian atmosphere for me, and I also wanted it to be diverse,” the Troy Christian senior said. “And it’s just a great community. It’s really friendly and diverse.”
On Thursday, Salazar, who has been first team All-Metro Buckeye Conference in girls soccer for the past three seasons, signed her national letter of intent to attend Liberty University and continue her soccer career at the Division I collegiate level for the Flames.
The overall enrollment at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., is more than 100,000 students, with students from all 50 states and more than 80 nations worldwide attending, according to the school’s website.
“I went on a visit my sophomore year, and a few weeks after that, I committed there,” Salazar said. “I was looking at Lipscomb, too, but when Liberty reached out, I loved the campus and everything about it.”
And even though she has been Troy Christian’s leading scorer the past two seasons, Salazar’s true position on the field is a defender — and Eagles coach Brian Peters hopes that adding to the diversity of her skillset on the field will help her at the collegiate level.
“When Lexi came into the program, she was an outside back,” Peters said. “My goal with her was to give her the opportunity to further her playing abilities by putting her in a scoring role. Which is abnormal, because if you asked her how she played on her club team, it would never be that role. But as she moves on to Liberty, it’s going to be a big part of who she is. Her coaches are going to expect her to know how to create opportunities, how to score, how to get forward, how to get back, and hopefully over the last four years we gave her those skills to be able to add to that next level. And on a personal level, she’s just a great person, and I’ve really loved having her these last four years.”
Salazar, who plans on studying communications and possibly going into sports broadcasting, had 17 goals and six assists her senior season, leading the Eagles to a 13-3-2 record, a share of the MBC title — the team’s third in a row and third during her career — and its first district final appearance since 2014.
“It’s different, going back and forth like that, but I like both positions,” Salazar said. “As an outside back, they do want you to go up and get those crosses and score goals, so I definitely think playing forward (in high school) will help me.”
“Lexi is one of the best athletes in this class,” Liberty coach Lang Wedemeyer said. “She is strong and fast and a great defender who can make dangerous runs out of the back. She goes about her business with quiet determination.”
The Flames went 10-7-2 this year, with Salazar being one of nine new recruits for the team following the season.
And committing before her junior year began has allowed Salazar to enjoy her final two high school seasons without the weight of deciding which college to attend on her shoulders, and though she is looking forward to the next level, she’s not done at Troy Christian quite yet.
“It’s been nice, not stressing. Because (choosing a) college can be very stressful,” she said. “I’m cheering in the winter, and in the spring I’m playing softball. But I’m excited. I’m so excited to go to Liberty.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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