After Helping Georgetown Soccer Make NCAA Semis, PHS Alumna Lis Primed for Big Sophomore Season
ON THE BALL: Devon Lis dribbles the ball up the field last fall in her debut season for the Georgetown University women’s soccer team. Former Princeton High star Lis helped Georgetown go 21-1-3 in 2018 on the way to the NCAA semifinals. Midfielder Lis is currently going through preseason training for the Hoyas, who are slated to open their 2019 season by playing at James Madison University on August 22. (Photo provided courtesy of Georgetown University Athletics Communications)
By Bill Alden
When Devon Lis started preseason training last summer in her freshman season with the Georgetown University women’s soccer team, she sensed that the squad could do some special things.
“What has always been clear to me is that we were really dedicated and willing to work very hard,” said former Princeton High standout Lis. “Every practice we gave it our all, there was no slacking off.”
There was no slacking off for Lis as she adjusted to the rigors and quicker pace of the college game.
“In high school, there are really talented players,” said Lis. “It is just a different level here that you don’t even see until you start practicing and then you realize, oh my goodness, this is a whole other level. I would say speed is definitely the biggest factor. It is a really exciting place to be.”
Last fall ended up being very exciting for Lis and the Hoyas as they went 21-1-3, advancing to the NCAA College Cup Semifinals.
Lis made her debut for Georgetown on August 26, coming off the bench against Yale in a 3-1 win.
“It was incredible, being so young and so new to the team and with the success that we had, it was playing a different role than I was used to,” said midfielder Lis, who ended up making five appearances as a reserve in her debut campaign.
“Coming in, I figured for the majority of freshmen, that is their role – stepping in and being that person you can go to when you are winning in those games. It was awesome to be able to play and to make this small impact on the greater goal for our team. You can’t take any moment for granted so it was really special.”
It took a while for Lis to get up to speed last fall. “You can try to train and get your touches up to pace with the people on your team but the real way you learn is by getting the game experience and scrimmaging against the people that are so good and just learning from them,” added Lis.
“I was always in a position on my teams where I had a lot of speed and a lot of pace compared to my teammates. Coming to Georgetown, it was a huge growing experience.”
A huge moment for Lis came in late November when the Hoyas faced the University of North Carolina in the national semis at Cary, N.C.
“It was so special being part of that game and walking out on the field with all of the lights, knowing that my family and my friends were watching it on their TVs,” said Lis of the contest which saw Georgetown lose 1-0 to UNC in double overtime, suffering its only defeat of the season.
“My sister [Taylor] was out and told the restaurant to play it on the screen so she and all of her friends could see it. It is so special the support and love that you receive. It shows how much all of the work is worth it. The other freshmen and I were experiencing this in our first year; some people never will experience the Final 4 in their collegiate careers. It is incredible, I don’t know anything different right now, which is insane to me.”
With Georgetown having started preseason practices on August 5, Lis worked hard over the summer to be in top shape.
“A lot of my preparation has been running and making sure that I am fit and am ready for the season in ways that don’t even involve my teammates,” said Lis.
“Being fit is something that is a foundation for any of the drills and any of the soccer that we want to achieve. I have also been playing locally with some girls who live in New Jersey. We all get together and play. It is just keeping up with touches and things like that.”
As Lis looks ahead to her sophomore campaign, she is hoping to get more playing time for the Hoyas
“Every year, the roles on the team change and you never really know what your role on the team is going to be until you start preseason and you start the season and see how everything starts to click together,” said Lis.
“I hope to continue to grow as a player and continue to learn from my teammates and from my coaches. I play a defensive center mid and that has been cool. I have had to learn how to turn and how to beat other center midfielders on these other teams that are so technical and so skilled.”
In the view of Lis, the Hoyas will keep showing growth as they start their 2019 regular season by playing at James Madison University on August 22.
“One of the biggest things is to not get too complacent. Just because we had success last year doesn’t mean anything this year,” said Lis.
“It is a whole new season and all of these teams look at us and they are excited to play us because they really want to compete against us. So every game we have to put our best foot forward and know that no team is an easy win ever. With the high success comes that target on the back but it is a place where we want to be.”