CORTLAND - The moment has never been too big for Alli Pavlik.
With a district semifinal soccer game against Niles McKinley nearing the penalty-kick phase at the end of a second overtime, Pavlik did what she did 137 times during her career at Lakeview High School - scored a goal.
When Pavlik needed four goals to reach 100 for her career in a match against Poland, she decided not to spread the chore out over two matches. She nearly put a hole into the net by scoring six goals.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
LaBrae’s Peyton Aldridge, left, and Lakeview’s Alli Pavlik created legacies at their schools that will last decades. Aldridge, one the best basketball players in Trumbull County history, is headed to Davidson College, while Pavlik, a star at both basketball and soccer, is going to Ohio Dominican College to play soccer. Both will forever be legends in Trumbull County sports.
"She's a goal scorer, pure and simple," Bulldogs soccer coach Shawn Varley said. "When she gets the ball on her feet, she wants to score. Even as a freshman, I knew that in four years she would be the best player to come out of Lakeview."
It's one thing to be considered the best player in school history at one sport. When the same can be said for the same athlete in another sport, it's easy to see why Pavlik was named the Tribune Chronicle's Female Athlete of the Year. Put a basketball in Pavlik's hands, and she's equally as adept at scoring. At 1,568 career points, Pavlik has raised the bar high for the next Lakeview athlete who goes after the school record.
Pavlik was born to be leading the charge from the front. A natural striker, she was at home in finishing off offensive rushes in soccer. Basketball coach Adam Lewis realized early in Pavlik's high school days that he needed to place her at the point of the defense, where she could use her quick hands, instincts and speed to create turnovers and inevitably score on the other end.
The biggest challenge on game nights was for Pavlik's father, Bob, to keep focused on Alli's quick transition from defense to offense. There had to be times when he thought he was working a tennis match.
"She really kind of helped to put the program back on the map," Lewis said. "On the basketball court, she was able to do things that I haven't seen. She was able to stand out the last two seasons. She's a phenomenal athlete."
Along the way, Pavlik was able to balance playing with a sharp competitive edge while having fun. On and off the court or pitch, she exhibited leadership qualities and was as comfortable being interviewed as she was driving to the basket.
The outgoing side of Pavlik helped in her goal of becoming a role model for younger girls. She lists former women's national soccer team star Mia Hamm as the athlete she likes to follow on Twitter. In a way, she played the Hamm role to young girls in the Cortland area.
"The biggest thing as a senior was to make a good impression for the younger girls," Pavlik said. "When I was a freshman, we were 4-16 (in basketball). I didn't want to come out (the next season). We were bad. As seniors, we needed a good run for our coaches because that means little girls will want to come out and play for them."
Being the star in two sports created a problem for Pavlik when deciding on which of the two to pursue in college. In the end, she stayed with her first love and will play soccer at Ohio Dominican College.
"It's going to be hard for me in college not to play basketball," Pavlik said. "A lot of people ask me if I'm going to play (basketball). I've thought about seeing what the coaches (at Ohio Dominican) would say if I asked them. It's probably not going to happen because my scholarship is for soccer. It was one of the hardest choices I've had to make in my life."
Pavlik topped off her high school soccer career with 43 goals last season, which tied for the most by any boy or girl in any division in Ohio. She was the Division II Northeast Inland District Player of the Year and a first team all-state selection. Her career total of 137 goals is fifth all-time in Ohio.
Obviously, Pavlik played soccer with a scorer's mentality.
"If she gets the ball on her feet, it's going in the back of the net," Varley said. "Her speed and her physical presence contributed a lot to her excellence."
Pavlik took the same approach to basketball, which Lewis used to the maximum. She often looked like a soccer defender as she tracked opponents in search of a steal. When teammates forced steals, they usually tried to get the ball into her hands, which is why most of her points came on drives and not from the perimeter.
"I remember when I first came out for the (basketball) team," Pavlik said. "People would bounce the ball in front of me, and I couldn't understand why they didn't take the ball and go. That was my mentality. It got me far. I'm not the best shooter. I didn't have time to go out and practice because I was busy with soccer."
Pavlik had a school-record 156 steals last season, placing her 22nd all-time in Ohio. Her 423 career steals (another school record) is 24th all-time in Ohio. She was first team Division II All-State and the Northeast District Player of the Year, while finishing as a finalist for Ohio's Miss Basketball. Pavlik averaged 26.9 points, 6.2 steals and 3.8 assists per game in her senior season. She scored 56 points against Campbell Memorial.
"Anybody we put on the floor, she - head and shoulders - could do more athletically than they could," Lewis said. "She was faster and stronger. I watched her play at an open gym (this summer). It's unbelievable to watch how athletic she is. You can't coach that."
Pavlik graduated 23rd in a class of 158. Her plan is to major in business and then see where life takes her after graduation from Ohio Dominican. She credits her parents, Bob and Jodi, and coaches for their guidance.
"I was so glad to play for them (her coaches)," she said. "I'm going to miss them."
The feeling is mutual.