Cunningham, who was a second team All-Inter-Ac and All-Main Line at center midfielder/back last fall as the Churchwomen won the PAISAA girls’ soccer championship, was moved to more of an attacking role this fall due to an early-season injury to Raina Kuzemka, and has come through nicely, tallying two goals and two assists in EA’s first four games, including the game-winning goal in the final minutes of the team’s opener against Radnor. EA girls soccer head coach Andy Fraggos said, “Lauren’s intelligence, talent, and versatility have made her indispensable. This season, Lauren picked up where she left off from sophomore year, as a scoring and passing threat. Lauren’s focus and leadership will be essential to carry this team to another successful season.” The Lafayette College-bound senior is an all-around athlete, having previously competed in winter track and varsity basketball for EA. Her cousin Zac Gallen is completing a fine rookie season as a starting pitcher for MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks
Q: You were one of the key players on last year’s EA team that won the PAISAA state championship. What is your most vivid memory of last season – can you share it with us?
A: My most vivid memory was beating Pennington at home. We hadn’t beaten them in years and we finally beat them last year 1-0. Due to an injury to our center back, I had to step up and play her position. I was nervous because I had been playing center midfield the whole season. We kept Pennington scoreless and held on to win the game. This was definitely my most vivid memory because we all worked extremely hard as a team to win the game.
Q: How do you see your role changing from last year?
A: I see my role changing immensely because Raina was a key player on this team. I definitely have shifted my mindset throughout my offensive years at EA and I know this year I need to take advantage of my opportunity to score goals. I’m willing to play wherever the team needs me.
Q: What do you consider the strongest part of your game? What aspects of your game are you working on most currently?
A: I think the strongest part of my game is my versatility because I have grown to be able to play any position on the field. I am defensive minded, but now I have become more attacking minded at the same time. The aspects of my game that I am working on now are my quick foot skills in small spaces and staying composed with the ball.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in soccer. What originally attracted you to soccer? Who have been your most important soccer mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. Although my parents made the decision for me to try soccer, I continue to play it because I love being competitive. My Penn Fusion club soccer coach, Craig Scangarella, has been a very important mentor to me because he always is extra hard on me and wants me to become the best player I can be. Also, my high school coach, Andy Fraggos, pushes me to be able to play in many different positions and has helped me become a versatile player on the field.
Q: Briefly describe for us your pre-game preparation (physical, mental) on the day of a game.
A: On game days, I usually spend a lot of my time alone thinking about strategies to win the game. I drink at least three bottles of water throughout the day and then, right before we start warmups, I go by myself and juggle while listening to music.
Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 5 for EA soccer. Is there a reason you picked this number – does it have any significance to you?
A: I wear No. 5 because I have worn it for a few years now for EA and I wear it for Penn Fusion. I am excited that I will be wearing No. 5 for Lafayette next year.
Q: What is your favorite course at EA? What do you think you might want to major in at Lafayette? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: My favorite course at EA is Computer Science. I would definitely consider majoring in Computer Science at Lafayette and having a career in that field.
Fun facts – Lauren Cunningham
Favorite TV show: All American.
Favorite movie: Game Night.
Favorite athlete: Julie Ertz.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: On the Road, by Post Malone.
Favorite team: Liverpool soccer.
Favorite place to visit: San Diego.
Favorite pre-game meal: Chicken and rice.
Person I most admire: “I most admire my parents because of how much they motivate me to be the best person and player I can be. I also admire my cousin Zac Gallen, who is finishing a great rookie season as a starting pitcher for MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. He has shown me that perseverance and hard work pay off.”
Family members: parents John and Christine, sister Alyssa (senior at Villanova), brother Johnny (sophomore playing soccer at Saint Joseph’s University), sisters Julia and Erin (sophomores playing varsity soccer for EA).
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)
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