One of the benefits of being an athlete is that it often brings about a celebrity status, whether it’s at the professional, collegiate or high school level. Our society loves to glorify athletes and their accomplishments. However, for Fairfield’s Lizzy Ball ‘16, sports have always been more about the love of the game than soaking in the spotlight.

Ball is a point guard for the women’s basketball team, and currently leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in assists in her first year as a full-time starter. Ball began playing basketball at a young age, starting in her home town recreation league.

When it came time to pick a college, Ball knew she wanted to continue with the sport. “I was really looking for a school that would offer me a basketball scholarship,” said Ball. Eventually, it was a call from assistant coach Laura Scinto that brought Ball on a visit to Fairfield.

While basketball may have been what initially introduced Ball to Fairfield, academics are what helped her make the decision to attend. “I wanted to do nursing. Out of all the schools that recruited me, Fairfield was the only one that was going to let me play basketball and be a nursing major,” recalled Ball.

While this is Ball’s first year as a starter, she doesn’t see it as much of a promotion as it is a changing of roles. “Everyone on the team is important. Even if you’re on the scout team, you’re still getting the starters ready for the game, you’re still a huge aspect whether you’re starting or not,” she stated.

Ball takes the team mentality very seriously. “When you’re on a team, you need to have the best interest of the team at mind.” Even when asked on how it felt to lead the MAAC in assists, Ball was quick to give props to those supporting her. “It makes it easy when your teammates always finish and hit their shots. I also give a lot of credit to coach Frager and the rest of the coaching staff for drawing up plays and getting my teammates open.”

Ball gives credit to teammates Samantha Cooper ‘18 and Casey Smith ‘17 for creating her favorite memory of the season so far. Cooper connected with Smith, who hit the game winning shot against Manhattan College in the final seconds of the game, a moment that Ball described as a “turning point” in the season.

Even with her commitment to basketball, Ball still finds time to complete a nursing major. “You have to balance everything, regardless of whether you’re a student athlete or a nursing major.” With two very time-demanding commitments, free time can be very fleeting, but Ball doesn’t seem to mind. “I have to pick my priorities. Academics and basketball come before anything else for me.”

One of the most destructive forces to a sports team are players who are unwilling to put their ego aside for the betterment of the team. Fortunately, Fairfield has someone on the opposite end on the spectrum in Ball.

Fewer people genuinely exhibit the “team first” mentality than Ball, who has played her role on the team well during her career. Whether that role was preparing her teammates on the scout team or facilitating the team offense as one of the best guards in her conference, Ball is dedicated to helping her team achieve success.

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