New Queen of the Nets

For the last few years, the Rye High girls’ soccer team has been able to field not one, but two future first-team All-Americans. All good things must come to an end, and Lia Bellizzi is taking her talents to the University of Virginia, while Tatiana Saunders will be minding the nets for Dartmouth this fall.

Lexi Hijazi

All of which means that Rye’s new starting keeper will have her hands full. Fortunately, Lexi Hijazi is up to the task. Not only does she already have varsity experience – she started in Saunders’ absence last year – but Hijazi is a star in her own right, leading her East Meadow travel team to a New York State Cup victory and a No. 6 national ranking on

Hijazi kept another clean sheet this summer in the U.S. Regional Championships before boarding a plane the next day for an intense week at University of California/Santa Barbara recruiting camp (UCSB is one of Lexi’s early college choices: their soccer program is competitive in Division I, and the Marine Biology department is one of the top programs in the country). Then she took the red-eye home and headed to another soccer camp, run by the Eastern New York Olympic Development Program. After a week to recuperate, she will take her advanced open-water scuba license test.

In her spare time, Lexi is an Honor Roll student, an equestrian jumper, a People to People Sports Ambassador, and a down-to-earth individual. “I love playing for Rich Savage and the Garnets, and I’ve learned a lot from all the coaches I’ve been associated with.”

Savage returned the compliment. “Lexi is an extremely focused, dedicated athlete who is able to handle the pressure of being a goalkeeper. She leads her defense with constant communication and provides the necessary leadership and confidence to her teammates on the field.

Sounds like the Garnets are in good hands once again.


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