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Oct, 2018

Pair of Internationals SC Alums Lead SLU to Unprecedented Success

Evie Lavelle and Olivia Petit, a pair of Internationals SC alumni, are in the midst of an incredible season at St. Louis University.  Lavelle, a junior midfielder from Fairview Park, Ohio, has tallied one goal and four assists in 19 appearances.  Petit, a sophomore midfielder/defender from Akron, Ohio, has three goals and three assists in 15 appearances. 

Lavelle was recognized for her work several times in her first two seasons at SLU, including Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team, Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Week, and the Billikens’ One Award. Petit had a stellar freshman season in 2017, earning United Soccer Coaches East All-Region First Team, TopDrawerSoccer Freshman Best XI Second Team, Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team, Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Week, and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors.

This talented duo has led the Billikens to even more success in 2018, including a perfect 10-0-0 conference record and an overall record of 15-3-1.  Lavelle made it clear that they are still aiming for more.

“Obviously, our biggest goal is to win the A-10 Tournament.  We have to do this one game at a time, so our biggest focus in the next game. As individuals, I think we are all focused on preparing the best that we can to win this coming weekend.”  

Petit agreed.

“We still have lots to accomplish. Winning the A10 Tournament and individually I just want to be a part of history in this program.”

That history includes excellence in the A10 Conference, one of the best conferences in the entire country.  

“It was very challenging, as we always say that every game in the A-10 will be a very hard-fought game and will be extremely competitive,” Lavelle added. “Everyone is competing to make the tournament, so every team is throwing their very best at you. I think we really focused on remaining calm and grinding games out which helped us a great deal. We also have a great group of seniors and experienced players who have been through similar seasons, so they helped to lead us and keep us laser-focused.”

Petit also spoke highly of the level of competition in the A-10.

“Every team in the A-10 is great and challenging to play. We never took a game lightly and always went in as the underdog. I think having the mindset of an underdog really helped our team because we were never cocky.”

Both Lavelle and Petit have made many memories as part of the SLU program.

“The most memorable moment I’ve had at SLU thus far is winning the A-10 Conference outright this year,” Lavelle continued. “The past two seasons we have finished second in the conference, and I don’t think I realized and appreciated just how important it would be to win it all, and how great it would feel once we did.”

Petit had similar experiences that she would remember for a long time. 

“I think my most memorable moment was winning the conference this past weekend, especially on Senior Day.”

Both are known as strong players that are difference makers on the pitch.

“My role on the team is to play within the midfield where I am needed, and to bring both energy and a level of calmness to those around me,” Lavelle noted. “As a team we love to have quick speed of play and possess the ball, which I love as a player. I love quick combination play, so I think I always try to combine and get teammates involved in the play. We are a hard-nosed defensive team, so I try to help with that and be as pesky defensively as I can and listen to those around me so that we can defend collectively.”

“My role on the team is to be there for others and to be another leader,” Petit remarked. “Our playing style is connecting multiple passes to go forward and having a good flow within the team.”

Internationals SC was a major topic of discussion for Lavelle and Petit. 

“Internationals SC has elite training, high expectations, and allows you to play with the highest levels of competition available,” Lavelle said. “I think all of these were vital to teaching me the discipline and work ethic that is required to play at a high level in college.  You get exposure to what it takes to remained focused and dedicated to grow as a player.”

“I definitely think Keri (Sarver) and Zdravko (Popovic) did a great job of preparing Evie and I by pushing us to be our best whether it was fitness or technical ability,” Petit said. “They created a college like environment even before we got there.  They are two extremely knowledgeable soccer coaches who know what they are doing.  They have influenced me to continue my soccer career to play in college and to constantly love the game.” 

Lavelle also was quick to praise the work of Sarver and Popovic.

“They both had very high expectations for their players, so I think they helped me to understand that I need to give my very best in order to do well. They taught me to respect others and the game of soccer, and to never make excuses. These are lessons that I have carried with me and have influenced me as a player and a person.”

Popovic remembers the pair well from their time at Internationals SC.  He certainly wasn’t surprised by their incredible success in the college game.

“We are really happy to see Olivia and Evie continue to thrive at SLU.  By all accounts, they have been positively contributing to the Billikens’ success from the moment they stepped onto campus.  It comes as no surprise to us because they did the same thing while at the Internationals. Both players are extremely competitive and we could always count on them to make a difference.  Evie and Olivia brought a strong, disciplined mentality to each training session and were able to gain the respect of their teammates through leading by example.  They created the foundation for their current success during their time playing for us in the ECNL and it’s awesome to see them reaping the rewards of that hard work. We are excited to watch how they progress during postseason play.”

Lavelle and Petit are indeed alums of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), arguably the top youth league in the country.

“I think the most beneficial aspect of ECNL is that you have the opportunity to play against the best teams in the country, so the speed of play and competitive aspects of games help to prepare you for the collegiate level,” Lavelle concluded.

Petit also found the ECNL’s high level of play helpful in preparing for the future.

“Everyone is working to play in college and so we all have the same goals. Everyone strives to be the best so there is a good soccer atmosphere.”

A good soccer atmosphere can also be found at Robert R. Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, where Lavelle and Petit are preparing for the A-10 Conference Tournament.   The Billikens are favorites to win it all and that is certainly because of the work of these two Ohio natives.

Photo Credit: Bill Barrett

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