Ephrata’s Slovak to play soccer at D-One Liberty

By on August 15, 2019
Ephrata’s Annie Slovak in action during her junior season a year ago. Slovak will take her talents to Division One Liberty University next fall.

Ephrata’s Annie Slovak in action during her junior season a year ago. Slovak will take her talents to Division One Liberty University next fall.

Ephrata junior Annie Slovak missed most of the 2018 girls’ soccer run to the PIAA State Semifinals with a broken leg. At the time of the injury, she was the team’s leading goal scorer, catching the attention of the coaching staff at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Following rehab and a return to club tournament play over the winter, Slovak received a scholarship offer from the Flames, prompting her verbal commitment to join the team in the fall of 2020.

“I had to put off my decision a little bit,” explained Slovak, now an Ephrata senior, after her practice at Mountaineer Field on Monday evening. “I’ve been talking to Liberty since my freshman year.”

Those conversations began shortly after Slovak’s family moved from the Eastern Lancaster (Garden Spot) County School District to Ephrata in the eighth grade.

“There are so many reasons why I chose Liberty,” continued Slovak. “I wanted a big school because I like to meet new people. It’s Christian-based. That’s a big deal to me. It was the most beautiful campus that I toured. They are a good team and the coaching staff was important to me as well.”

“And they have Chic fil a and Chipotle,” she joked.

That coaching staff is led by third-year coach Lang Wedemeyer, but not before one final season with Ephrata’s Wes Deininger.

“I had him (Deininger) as a club coach, even before coming to Ephrata,” added Slovak. “He always knows what I need to work on. He looks to me as a leader, especially now that I’m a senior.”

“Annie brings a very upbeat and excitable attitude to the team every day,” said Deininger, when asked about her leadership. “She leads by example through her hard work and determination throughout training and matches.”

As to what Liberty expects from Slovak?

“The first thing that they noticed about me was my aggressiveness,” she said. “How determined I am to win the ball in 50-50 plays. They said they want me to bring that to their field. They are projecting me as a holding (defensive) midfielder.”

“Annie will bring many positives to the Liberty program on and off the field,” offered Deininger. “On the field, Annie has a tremendous work rate. She is relentless in winning possession for her team. She is always dangerous when on the ball with her vision and her ability to breakdown the other team.”

Her athletic scholarship should cover 65 percent of her college expenses, but she is hoping for more.

“We’re not exactly sure how much yet,” explained Slovak. “We haven’t done academics yet. My GPA is about 3.8, so I’m hoping the total scholarship will be about 95 percent.”

Slovak credits the classes taken at Ephrata with preparing her for the demands of college.

“When I came to Ephrata, I definitely began to challenge myself more academically,” she said. “Looking back, I know it has paid off because those harder classes have taught me discipline.”

Looking ahead, Slovak and her Mountaineer teammates are excited to get back on the pitch and hope to put together similar results as last year when they finished in the state’s top four.

Their season begins Aug. 30 at Wilson.

“Annie seems to be back at full speed. I do not see anything holding her back,” said Deininger. “I’m looking forward to her bringing her positive attitude and of course, some goals.”

“We haven’t talked about team goals yet,” added Slovak. “But I want to go to States more than anything.”


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