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Senior spotlight: Alexa Steffens a natural leader for multiple Holy Spirit sports teams

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher Alexa Steffens, a senior at Holy Spirit High School, says she is ready to head off to college and start the next phase of her life and athletic career. Well, maybe not quite ready just yet. There’s a lot the 18-year-old Margate resident wants to reflect on as her sports career as a Spartan comes to a close this spring during the lacrosse season. Steffens made an immediate splash at Holy Spirit by starting as a freshman on the field hockey team, went on to become a solid player for the basketball team, and is one of the founding members of the Spartans’ new girls lacrosse program, which debuted last spring as a junior varsity squad and is now a varsity team competing in the Cape-Atlantic League. “Every team that I have been on has been pretty successful, and especially in basketball everybody is focused on winning 20 games every season. Everybody has high expectations and wants us to win. Every year we’ve won 20 games so far under coach (Dennis) Smith, so we’ve been pretty successful,” Steffens said. “In field hockey, we were very young this year and had a couple of freshmen starting, but we made out pretty well. We made it to the second round of the playoffs and that was pretty good considering we really didn’t know what to expect with starting so many young players.” Alexa Steffens, a standout player in field hockey and basketball, has become a leader for the Spartans' fledgling girls lacrosse program. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Alexa Steffens, a standout player in field hockey and basketball, has become a leader for the Spartans’ fledgling girls lacrosse program. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) Young players need senior leadership, and that is where Steffens has proved herself most valuable during the 2014-2015 school year. She helped lead the field hockey and basketball teams to state playoff berths, and has been named one of the captains of the lacrosse team despite having no experience with the sport prior to last spring. That’s how highly lacrosse and field hockey coach Kim Byrnes thinks of Steffens’ leadership skills. “She’s a great kid. She’s an amazing athlete all-around. She has natural ability. Last year was her first year ever playing lacrosse, and she could hang with girls who had been playing for five years,” Byrnes said. “She’s a natural leader. She was a captain for me in field hockey, she’s a captain in lacrosse. Anything that needs to be taken care of, she is right there. The girls listen, they like her, they respect her, and that’s a huge part of my teams. “She knows what she wants and what needs to be done, and she takes care of it. I honestly believe you can’t teach that to somebody, that’s just something you have inside of you that you are born with.” “Even though I don’t really know so much about the game of lacrosse, I try to be a leader as much as I can and try to get everyone to do the right thing,” Steffens said. “I try to be a leader as much as I can to show them what they are going to need to do when they step into their senior years.” Steffens said she has been competing in sports nearly her entire life — everything from softball to basketball to field hockey. On top of all that, she has managed to remain an outstanding student despite the time demands that playing three sports a year puts on her. Steffens said that learning time management took some time when she was a freshman, but now, after four years of high school, it’s pretty much old hat. “I’ve gotten pretty used to it. Freshman year it was harder because I was trying to get into the flow of things. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Going from eighth grade to high school, it’s a lot different. I came from such a small school,” Steffens said. “Spirit is still small, too, but coming into a different place and getting used to things, over the years it’s gotten a lot easier. I do great in school, getting all As and Bs. Once you get into the flow of things, you understand you need to keep your grades up in order to play sports.” Steffens, like so many of her classmates at Holy Spirit, see sports as a way of life. The school turns out quality athletic programs year after year, and Steffens said there is a strong camaraderie among all the athletes at the school. “I love it. Sports is a big part of my life. It’s awesome getting to go out to everyone’s games and support them, knowing (Holy Spirit) has a chance to win titles. It’s pretty awesome,” Steffens said. “Pat D’Arcy, I have a couple classes with him and I talk with him about his (wrestling) state championship. We have a couple of state champions in our school, teams that have won championships, it’s awesome to be able to go out to the games and support my friends.” Steffens said perhaps the best memory she will take away from her senior year at Holy Spirit is the field hockey team’s win over rival St. Joseph, one of the top teams in the Cape-Atlantic League every year. Steffens helped lead the Holy Spirit girls basketball team to a share of the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title this past winter. Steffens helped lead the Holy Spirit girls basketball team to a share of the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title this past winter. “Our field hockey team beat St. Joseph for the first time in a while. We came in as a young team and they have a strong team. We didn’t think we were going to be able to beat them at all, but we came out, played our hardest and we beat them with a new coach and some young kids. That was a great feeling,” Steffens said. “We made it to the second round of the playoffs and we beat St. Joe’s for the first time in five years. They came together and had a lot of fun playing the sport,” Byrnes added. With graduation looming in about two months, Steffens said she has been reflecting on her high school career and is surprised to see not only how quickly the time has gone by, but also how much she and her teammates and classmates have grown throughout the past four years. “It’s pretty crazy. I’ve seen myself grow, not only physically, but mentally. I understand the games more and I understand that you need to play as a team,” Steffens said. “Even my teammates, I’ve seen them grow so much from our freshman year to our senior year. We play well together and we’ve learned to be teammates. I’m sad (that it is almost over), but I plan on playing field hockey in college and continuing my journey (as an athlete).” What will make the transition easier, she said, is knowing that she and her friends are taking the first big step in becoming successful for the rest of their lives. “It’s bittersweet,” Steffens said about the ending of her high school career. “We all have to experience it, and I think I’m ready for the next step. We’ve all grown throughout our four years and I think everyone is ready to graduate. Everyone has grown into great people. We have people going to UPenn, Princeton. It’s awesome to see my friends doing so great.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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