Live, Love, Lax, Lily

TOWAMENCINOver the past 13 years, North Penn School District has brought senior Lily Szilagyi to new friends, experiences, and memories. Whether she is dominating the lacrosse field with her closest friends or staying involved in the North Penn community, Szilagyi will always be fond of the time she has spent with her friends and family during the first chapter of her life.

Growing up, sports were always a constant in the Szilagyi household. Both of her brothers played soccer, along with herself. But it was not until a little later in her life where Szilagyi found her true passion: lacrosse.

“My parents always had me involved in a variety of sports when I was younger. I played water polo, field hockey, swam on a swim team, and of course, played soccer. My family loves soccer, both of my brothers played it religiously growing up. Nonetheless, it actually was not until a little bit later in my life that I started to get really into lacrosse,” Szilagyi said.

It may have taken Szilagyi a little bit to find her true calling, however, once she found it, she knew there was no turning back.

“After I started to play lacrosse for a little amount of time, I fell in love with the sport. It really felt natural to me as I was practicing and starting to play games. Because of this, I decided to cut the other sports out of my life and just focus on playing lacrosse full time,” Szilagyi added. 

When talking about all of the success and experiences she has had playing lacrosse, Szilagyi is always quick to mention her parents, who have been there through thick and thin and have helped her so much along the way.

“My parents have played such a huge role throughout my life. They have taught me to never give up in school and sports and to just push through it even though it is hard at times. I have been taught to always give it my 100% percent effort and to just have a positive attitude no matter what the situation is. My parents always had something going on but even despite that they still managed to come to every single one of my games, that is really important to me,” Szilagyi said.

My parents have played such a huge role throughout my life. They have taught me to never give up in school and sports and to just push through it even though it is hard at times. I have been taught to always give it my 100% percent effort and to just have a positive attitude no matter what the situation is. My parents always had something going on but even despite that they still managed to come to every single one of my games, that is really important to me.”

— Lily Szilagyi

If you can not tell already, lacrosse is one of, if not the most important thing in Szilagyi’s life. So you can imagine how much of a toll it took on her when the entire spring sports season was cancelled last spring.

“I remember last March my teammates and I all heard about Covid, but we did not think that it would reach our town and possibly shut down our school. As soon as we heard that we were shut down for two weeks, we were pretty excited to have a little break because we just expected to just come back right after and have a normal season. Of course, that did not happen, and as soon as I found out that our season was canceled I was very upset. I knew that last year, from just the first week of practice, that we were going to have such a good team and that we were going to make it far in the season. It was not fair how myself as well as all of my other teammates did not get to play at all. I am just thankful that I got to play this season and have a schedule full of games. During the off season, our coach sent us workouts to do and we sometimes did team workouts on Zoom. I liked to workout in my basement and just do different workout videos or just go on my elliptical. I also had several lacrosse passes outside with my friends and family,” Szilagyi said.

All that hard work that Szilagyi put in during the prolonged off season is definitely paying off during her senior year. Szilagyi, coming off an astounding 52-goal sophomore season where she was named Offensive Player of the Year, has picked up right where she left off 2 years ago, and North Penn Girls Lacrosse head coach Heather Mellow has certainly taken notice.

“Lily has been able to pick right back up where she left off from her sophomore year because she continued to play lacrosse all of last summer. Our lacrosse team also played in a fall ball league that really helped her connect with some of our newer players. Lily is just such a solid, reliable player. I am not sure she has ever really had a bad game. If she is not scoring, she is making assists and finding her teammates in open spots. And when she is being face guarded, she is taking away the best defender from the other team, which gives more scoring opportunities to our other girls. We definitely rely on her offensive strengths on the field,” Mellow said.

Lily is just such a solid, reliable player. I am not sure she has ever really had a bad game. If she is not scoring, she is making assists and finding her teammates in open spots. And when she is being face guarded, she is taking away the best defender from the other team, which gives more scoring opportunities to our other girls.”

— Girls Lacrosse Coach Heather Mellow

This past Monday, Szilagyi reached a milestone that not many have reached in the past: 100 career goals scored. However, despite the amazing accomplishment, Szilagyi is still not satisfied or concerned with her individual awards, all that matters to her is the team’s success.

“Scoring 100 goals was great and all and I am incredibly proud of myself, however my main focus is to win a State Championship. I would really like to win leagues and get to the first round of the playoffs and just keep on advancing from there. I really care about our team’s success and no individual milestone of mine will ever surpass that. We just have to take it game by game and if we are able to do that, there is no doubt in my mind that this group of girls can set anything they put their mind to,” Szilagyi said.

Playing high school lacrosse has always been something that Szilagyi has taken a great deal of pride in. And now that there is only a few weeks left to play in her final season, it is hard for the senior to put into words just how much the past four years on the turf have meant to her.

“High school lacrosse is something that I wish [would] never end. I feel so lucky to be able to meet so many new girls and create new friendships and memories that I will never forget. It has really taught me to set certain goals for myself as well as managing my time between lacrosse and schoolwork. It is just such a fun and exciting time during my high school years that I wish would have lasted forever,” Szilagyi added.

If you know Szilagyi, you know just how much of an outgoing and friendly person she can be. Making friends often comes easy to the senior, and school lacrosse has just given her yet another outlet to be the social butterfly that she is.

“I have developed many bonds with my teammates since I was a freshman on the team. The seniors who were Bri O’donnell, Kelly Macnamera, Kellie Pickford, Brooke Millevoi, etc. really broke me out of my shell since I was the only freshman on varsity at the time. They made me feel so welcomed to the team and made me feel comfortable to be with them. Morgan Dyk and Alexa Juska also pushed me hard throughout the years, and brought me to go lifting with them and to do extra running on the side. They have really helped me develop as an athlete for sure. Overall as a senior this year, I really feel like I created a special bond with the underclassmen this year. I find it really cool that they look up to us, and I love to give them advice whenever they have any questions. Finally, I have definitely created a special bond with each of the seven seniors this year. Some of them are my closest friends and I would not want to play with anyone else for these last four years. I am so thankful for all of the laughs and memories and bus rides that we have had,” Szilagyi said.

As you may have noticed, Szilagyi talks very highly of her teammates and coaches; and for the other members of the North Penn lacrosse team, the feeling is most definitely mutual.

“Lily was actually who got me to start playing lacrosse. She persuaded me to play in 8th grade and we’ve been playing together ever since. She is always my partner when we partner pass and since she is left handed she has helped me to gain confidence in catching and throwing with my non-dominant hand. Our freshman year she was swing and I was JV, but towards the end of the season I was called up and we were the only freshman on Varsity together, which brought us even closer. We also played on the same travel lacrosse team one summer and being able to continue to play with her all year round has helped our chemistry on the field. As a midfielder, my job is to be an all-around player, so it gets tiring after running down the field a whole bunch of times. I look for Lily, who I know will be open, attack the net, and score. She is just an amazing player! Lily is always happy. She is just a kind person and I believe that the team feeds off of her energy. Our team is very close and Lily is a big reason why,” team Co-Captain Alli Lindsay said.

“Lily obviously does the majority of scoring for us. However, when she does score, it does not only benefit her, it ignites the whole team. Once she starts and gets going she really brings an energy to the team that is contagious and irreplaceable,” team Co-Captain Caroline Hoy added.

Lily obviously does the majority of scoring for us. However, when she does score, it does not only benefit her, it ignites the whole team. Once she starts and gets going she really brings an energy to the team that is contagious and irreplaceable.”

— Caroline Hoy, Girls Lacrosse Co-Captain

“Lily brings strength, experience, and leadership to our team. She has been on the varsity team since her freshman year. Her teammates respect her so much as a player and captain and they really enjoy her as a teammate. She has such a mild personality, but that changes when she steps on the field. She has a lot of heart and determination. And those qualities have helped drive our lacrosse team to new levels,” Mellow said.

With her high school career slowly coming to an end, it has become apparent to Szilagyi that it is time for her now to focus on the next stage of her life: college. However, it may surprise you that Szilagyi plans to take a step back from playing lacrosse during her time at Temple to focus more on her academics.

“The reason that I chose Temple University was because of the city. There are a great amount of opportunities for internships and jobs in the city that are available to students. I also picked it because of the great school spirit and just the different variety of majors and clubs that are offered to students. I feel like Temple University will really allow me to experience city life first-hand. I did not want to play lacrosse at a collegiate level because I didn’t want to continue at that level and it being one of my top priorities. I still love the sport and will definitely play club lacrosse at temple because it is more lenient and more laid back then playing on the actual lacrosse team,” Szilagyi said.

While Szilagyi may be graduating and focusing on the next aspect of her life in college, she will always make sure to never forget where she has come from, and always be a proud member of the North Penn family.

“I am really going to miss the constant support from my teachers and all of the friends that I have made throughout the years. My family was always there for me and so supportive for me every step of the way. I will miss all of the school dances, Mini-THON, sporting events, etc. All of my teachers have been so good and helped so much in my academics. There have been so many bonds that I have created with people that I am forever thankful about. North Penn is the best school and It feels so bittersweet to leave for a new chapter of my life. I am very excited to find out what college and beyond has in store for me,” Szilagyi said.