LEG­END OF LEXOW

Ca­reer of Abing­ton su­per­star wind­ing down

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - SPORTS - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

The ball comes to the feet of Cam Lexow and for a se­cond or two, a dis­cern­able hush falls over the Abing­ton bench.

Time and again, the Ghosts girls soc­cer team has seen Lexow take a mun­dane pass and do some­thing bril­liant with it so ev­ery time she gets the ball, they’re ready. From here on out, ev­ery match could be her last at Abing­ton, the twi­light of a spe­cial ta­lent com­ing into fo­cus.

“Not play­ing puts me down, I don’t ever want to sit out,” Lexow said. “If I’m hurt, I don’t tell peo­ple I’m hurt be­cause I want to stay in a game.”

As a fresh­man, Lexow fit right in to a pretty se­nior-heavy Abing­ton team and helped that group make its first play­off ap­pear­ance in a few years. But she never got into the game, forced to watch reg­u­la­tion and two over­times on the bench with a knee in­jury. It didn’t stop Lexow from hob­bling onto the field to take a penalty kick, but the Ghosts lost the shootout.

The next two years, they didn’t find that same magic and strug­gled in the SOL Na­tional con­fer­ence even as Lexow con­tin­ued to de­velop into one of the best play­ers in all of the Sub­ur­ban One League. As a sopho­more, Lexow gave a ver­bal com­mit­ment to play at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia, one she’ll make of­fi­cial later this year on sign­ing day.

It’s been a re­cent trend where some highly touted play­ers leave their high school teams to play for their club’s devel­op­men­tal academy. That route ex­isted for Lexow, a co-cap­tain who played club for FC Penn­syl­va­nia Strik­ers, but it wasn’t one she wanted to take.

“My coach at UVA wanted me to play at a high level in club but I told him I wanted to play for my high school,” Lexow said. “Penn Fu­sion has the DA, which is the devel­op­men­tal academy and the Pre-DA so I told him I would play PDA oth­er­wise I couldn’t play for my school. He al­lowed me to play a lit­tle bit lower, but I’m still train­ing with the DA on the side. He also likes that I play bas­ket­ball.”

At Abing­ton, there’s a cer­tain pride the school’s ath­letes take in rep­re­sent­ing their com­mu­nity. Lexow’s choice to don ma­roon and white, even if it didn’t trans­late to many wins as a sopho­more or ju­nior, made a state­ment to upand-com­ing ath­letes.

One of them, sopho­more Casey Touey, now shares the field with Lexow.

“It means so much, when I was go­ing into high school I had a choice to go academy or Abing­ton and I saw what Cam did,” Touey said. “I said ‘if she can do it, then I can too.’ She’s been like a big sis­ter to me through­out this whole process and I’ve just learned from her the whole time.”

Abing­ton coach Rick Tomp­kins has called Lexow the smartest player he’s ever coached and has cited the se­nior co-cap­tain’s poise after sev­eral close games this sea­son. In a 3-2 win on the road at Hatboro-Hor­sham, with the Hat­ters throw­ing waves of pres­sure at the Ghosts late, Lexow sim­ply dropped in to play cen­ter back and cleared a ball off the line in the game’s fi­nal

minute.

Tomp­kins, who played col­lege soc­cer him­self at Penn State, is ex­cited to see what Lexow can do in the com­ing years at Vir­ginia, but only after the Ghosts make their last play­off run with Lexow and her 10 se­nior class­mates.

“She’s just dif­fer­ent,” Tomp­kins said ear­lier this sea­son. “Touey is just fast and she’s a hand­ful while (se­nior Kai­ley) Hor­ton is phys­i­cal and will shield peo­ple off the ball. With Cam­ryn, she’s not like that but she sees a ball and says to her­self ‘that’s my ball,’ and just comes out with it on her foot.”

UVA coach Steve Swan­son has his­tor­i­cally re­cruited the sub­ur­ban Philadel­phia area well and Lexow will join sev­eral other south­east­ern PA stand­outs in Char­lottesville next fall. The Cava­liers will fea­ture Glen­side res­i­dent Me­gan Mc­Cool (Spring­side Ch­est­nut Hill), Phoebe McCler­non (Notre Dame) and Syd­ney Zandi (West Chester Hen­der­son).

Soc­cer is Lexow’s main sport but she’s been a huge part of the Ghosts’ girls’ bas­ket­ball team’s suc­cess the past four years. As a fresh­man, she got spot min­utes as an ath­letic de­fender, but found her way into the start­ing lineup mid­way through her sopho­more sea­son and hasn’t left it. With Lexow in the mix, Abing­ton has made states all three years and won the District I ti­tle her sopho­more sea­son.

Lexow doesn’t play bas­ket­ball out­side the high school sea­son save for a cou­ple pick-up games here and there at the gym, but she was still one of the team’s bet­ter 3-point shoot­ers on last year’s state play­off team. Her de­fen­sive abil­ity on the hard­wood, where she’s also a team cap­tain, has got­ten more im­pact­ful as she’s got­ten more con­fi­dent on of­fense.

“Cam is one of the most unique kids I’ve ever met be­cause she’s so con­fi­dent in what she does, no mat­ter what she does,” Abing­ton girls bas­ket­ball coach Dan Marsh said after a state play­off game last year. “We play her mul­ti­ple po­si­tions all the time, ask her to do mul­ti­ple things and she’s al­ways able to do it. She’s a tremen­dous ath­lete and a tremen­dous kid, Cam has been one of the keys to this.”

Abing­ton thrived in its first sea­son play­ing in the SOL Con­ti­nen­tal, ac­cru­ing a 13-1 con­fer­ence record and the Amer­i­can cham­pi­onship. A 2-1 win over last year’s state run­ner-up Ne­shaminy se­cured the Ghosts of a first round bye and the No. 6 seed in the District I 4A tour­na­ment.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Abing­ton’s Cam­ryn Lexow ad­vance the ball near CB East’s Marissa Plack dur­ing re­cent ac­tion.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ply­mouth Whitemarsh’s Gabby Cooper and Abing­ton’s Cam­ryn Lexow go for a loose ball.

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