Lea Xenakis is surrounded by her soccer coach Doug Williamson, Berry College soccer coach Lorenzo Canalis, her brother Nick Xenakis and her father Stephen Xenakis as she signs a scholarship to play for Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lea Xenakis is an accomplished pianist, and when she steps on the pitch with the Augusta Preparatory Day School soccer team, she's a real virtuoso.
As a junior last season, the Lady Cavaliers' striker set a school record with 26 goals. This season the senior captain is turning in an encore performance.
Xenakis already has notched 14 goals and 14 assists through seven matches, and last week she netted a scholarship with Berry College.
"I am really impressed by how complete a player she has become in the last year," Augusta Prep coach Doug Williamson said. "Lea has integrated into her game nuances that a lot of sophisticated college players don't have. She has added fine points to her game that have just made her exceptional."
Williamson was a college soccer coach for 20 years, and he thinks Xenakis is ready to excel at the next level. The first step came Wednesday when Xenakis signed with Berry.
"I definitely want to be competitive, but I want to have fun also," she said. "I've pretty much always wanted to play in college, it was just a matter of what level."
Thanks to a combination of speed, skills, attitude and experience, Xenakis could have chosen to compete with a Division I squad, but she settled on the NAIA school in Mount Berry, Ga.
"I realized I wanted to balance academics and soccer," she said. "I knew playing at Berry I could be serious about soccer and have enough time for schoolwork too."
Xenakis would like to one day forge a career in nursing, but with the Lady Vikings, she will likely put a hurt on opponents.
Last season Berry finished with a 15-4-3 record and qualified for the NAIA national tournament for a record 14th straight year. The Lady Vikings have won three national titles, and finished the 2003 season ranked No. 5 in the country.
This season with Augusta Prep, Xenakis hopes to help the team defend its Region 4-AAA title. She also wants to break her own scoring record, and a second consecutive trip to the Georgia Independent School Association final four is on her to-do list.
After capping her high-school career, Xenakis has set a goal to earn a starting job at Berry next fall.
"I'm willing to play anywhere in college," said Xenakis, who has played every position on the pitch during her years in club ball.
That versatility will serve her well, according to Berry coach Lorenzo Canalis.
"She has technical ability, speed and the desire to do very well at our level," Canalis said. "She has played such a variety of positions. For the first year, we're looking at her more as a defender. I think she has a lot of potential."
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