Lexie Kopko has always excelled in sports, but above all else, softball has her heart.
Growing up in Stewartstown, Pa., Kopko played basketball, soccer, volleyball and, of course, softball at Kennard-Dale High School. When it came time for her to choose which sport to focus on in her collegiate path, the choice was clear.
“I’ve always loved softball,” said the University of South Florida utility player. “It’s always been my passion. It was my dream to play D1 softball and I wanted to come down south, so that’s what I did.”
While her favourite position is first base, she started pitching at age 10 but spent a couple years in the outfield as well when her team had other needs. Playing on a team her father coached, this was her first experience learning to be adaptable.
“We had other pitchers on the team and my dad needed me in those other areas (first base and outfield), so I just focused on them.”
Recruited by USF, the school and program had everything she was looking for. It took her no time at all deciding to make Tampa her home for the next four years.
“The coaches really drew me in, the culture, the city, the weather, everything. It’s a very good science University, so I think that was one of my main factors in coming here, the schooling is unmatched.”
It was through her hard work and a team-first attitude that she showed the USF coaches she was both willing and able to play a number of different positions.
USF Bulls head coach Ken Eriksen said it’s this attitude that makes Kopko so valuable to her team.
“No matter what you ask her to do, or where you ask her to go, she’ll come through,” he said, “whether she’s going to pinch run, pitch, hit, go play first or play outfield. I mean how lucky can a coach get when you get people like that? She fits the bill for a South Florida player.”
Following a long line of family members in the medical profession, Kopko is studying Health Sciences and plans to attend nursing school to become an anesthesiologist.
“I always wanted to help people and work in the medical field – a doctor, a surgeon or something like that because my whole family was nurses.” Kopko said.
With a little over a year and a half of college left, Kopko sees the end of next season as the culmination of her time playing softball. There still are some pretty big goals she has yet to achieve before calling it a career.
“Obviously we want to win as many games as we can, win the conference tournament. That’s first and foremost. Then, after that, make it to and win regionals, go to Supers, and go to the women’s college World Series.”
If her hard work and determination have anything to say about it, it would be wise to not bet against Lexie Kopko.