Rye High juniors Lia Bellizzi (forward) and Tatiana Saunders (keeper) have been selected to the NSCAA 2009 Girls High School All-American soccer team. Of the 90 players from all over the country to earn this award, 11 of them, including Bellizzi, are repeat winners. Only 15 players from the eastern states are selected to this team, and it’s extremely rare that two players from the same school are chosen. Both girls are thrilled, proud, and humbled by the award.
“I was shocked that I received it this year because I didn’t know you could get it two years in a row,” said Bellizzi. “It’s that much nicer because Tatiana and I both received it.”
“Being awarded All-American is such a huge honor and it feels especially good because we had a sort of disappointing ending to our season.” Saunders commented. “The fact that our team did not go as far as we did last year makes this even more special. I’m grateful that all my and Lia’s hard work is being recognized – we practice outside practically every day of the year!”
Both girls thanked head coach Rich Savage for making the award happen. Savage, who nominated and pushed for both girls, said, “It is so nice to see both Lia and Tatiana receiving the recognition for all of their hard work. I am proud of their effort and glad their talent was recognized on the national level. ”
The luncheon to honor the All-American Athletes (youth, high school and college) will be held in Philadelphia on January 16.
– Melanie Cane