Sacrificing for the squad

Photo by Zack EldridgeLa Porte's Morgan Llewellyn attempts a free kick in a match versus visiting Wheeler on Sept. 26.

La PORTE — In previous seasons, Morgan Llewellyn was primarily a midfielder.

This campaign, however, La Porte's girls soccer senior was asked to play defender early in the season, since she's such a versatile player and her team needed her most on the back line.

“We have to use her talent,” Slicers co-head coach Ashley Rozparzynska said. “And her talent is being able to see the field and being able to stop that play from going forward. And knowing where that ball might be coming from. She has a good sense about knowing where something might be coming from and where it's going to.”

Llewellyn, who's a captain along with Gabby Latchford, actually began this season as a midfielder again for the first couple of games, then she was switched to defense.

While her scoring is down from recent years, Llewellyn doesn't especially mind.

“Starting the season in the midfield, that was fun," she said. "In most of the games, though, I've been center back (on defense), so it's been hard to try and get up in the attack. But I just play where they need me.”

Llewellyn's coach has directly witnessed the impact she's made on La Porte's back line.

“Her ability to play center back and to help control and lead that defense is outstanding,” Rozparzynska said. “I couldn't ask for a better person for it to be.”

Rozparzynska added with Shelby Linn being in the back line of defense with Llewellyn, and Linn also being a senior and being back there nearly all four years, those two work well together and help control the back line and keep players from advancing with the ball.

While the Slicers have struggled collectively as a team and have scuffled with fielding a decent-sized team, Llewellyn has tried to be a positive influence and has tried to guide the squad the best she can.

“Our team has been struggling with the numbers,” she said. “So it's really important that we get everyone we can out here and just try and recruit everyone we can. And also, keeping the players, keeping the energy up and making sure people can play all around. And trying to encourage them to do that is really important.”

Llewellyn is also an exceptional student. She carries an unblemished 4.0 GPA and is striving to be the valedictorian. She takes Advanced Placement classes in Calculus and Physics.

"I'm really proud of myself for keeping that 4.0 all four years while also putting my all into the game and really trying to excel in both," she said.

Otherwise, Llewellyn plays club soccer in South Bend in the winter, spring and summer, besides being involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Key Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and Principal's Advisory Council.

"I keep a lot of reminders in my phone," Llewellyn said. "To remind me when all the meetings are. I try to go to them. I really try to get my homework done before practices. It's all about time management."

Llewellyn also has an affable personality and people are drawn to her, according to her coach.

“She's a great kid,” Rozparzynska said. “Everyone loves to hang out with her and be around her. She's very smart.”

Llewellyn has followed in her older sister Macy's footsteps at La Porte, while at the same time striving to distinguish herself. Macy is a former Slicers' soccer star and 2017 La Porte High School graduate.

"I'll be the last Llewellyn on this field," Morgan said. "But I think we've both done a good job of carrying the teams and trying to keep everyone up and trying to push them to be the best we can be."

After high school, Morgan is committed to Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich., where she will join her sister on the soccer team.

“It'll be a challenge, but I'm up for it. I'm ready to work hard for that. It'll be really fun because when I was a freshman and she was a senior for the high school, I was really excited to play with her, then she got hurt before the season started, so we didn't really get the chance. So if I go there and work hard enough and get a spot on varsity, it'll be really neat to see our dynamic on the field." 

Other schools Morgan considered were St. Francis (IN) and some smaller schools by Indianapolis.

Llewellyn and the Slicers meet South Bend St. Joseph in a Class 3A South Bend Riley Sectional at Jackson Field at about 6 p.m. Thursday with the winner advancing to Saturday night's sectional final.

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