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    Rizzo’s a keeper with a plan

    Colby College
    Samantha Rizzo in action on the pitch.

    Colby College
    Samantha Rizzo

    Samantha Rizzo, a junior keeper on the Colby College soccer team, was a captain of the soccer, basketball, and softball teams at Swampscott High and a Globe All Scholastic in soccer. As a sophomore, she started 13 games at Colby and had six wins with four shutouts. A psychologist major with a neuroscience concentration, Rizzo played softball her first year at Colby and loved playing both sports but decided to play just soccer to allow her to focus on academics, too. Rizzo will miss this season for medical reasons, but plans to work with the team and return to the playing field next season.

    Q. What’s your best high school athletics memory?

    A. It would probably be senior year in softball. We were playing Marblehead in the second round of the playoffs. They had smoked us when we played a conference game during the season and they won the conference title. We had a very intense game against them and defied the odds and beat them. They were such a powerhouse. A little Marblehead-Swampscott rivalry is always good.

    Q. How did you end up playing keeper?

    A. I hated playing goalie when I was younger. I was on a town team and we had to rotate in net. I was good at it and they always put me out against Salem when I was little. They were the big rival. I’d cry the night before, I was so nervous. When I played club, in the first game we didn’t have a goalie and were going to split halves. In the second half they put me in goal and I made a save on a breakaway. I knew to come out and cut down the angle. The coach stuck me in net after that. I grew to like it.

    Q. What’s the attraction of playing keeper to you?


    A. You have to use your head a lot and there’s a lot of strategy. It’s mental and physical and you’ve got to be mentally tough. It’s been a position that’s suited me. I think I have good hand-eye coordination.

    Q. There’s no more crying?

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    A. I definitely don’t cry any more. But it is a little nerve-wracking to be the last line of defense. Even if the goal that’s scored is not your fault, you take it personally and you think you could have stopped it. It can sometimes feel isolating, but I love it. It’s the right position for me.

    Q. What’s your favorite part of playing goalie?

    A. When you win a big game, any game, the players always run to you. They flood the goalie and it’s exciting and it’s fun. Then there are the times when you come up with a great save. The field player is one-on-one with you and they should score and you defy the odds and rob the player of a goal. That’s pretty exhilarating.

    Q. What will you be able to do with the team this season?

    A. I’m going to work with the goalies. I can help lead the warmups, set up drills with the coach, help organize practices, and basically do anything she needs me to do. I’m hoping to have a full return next season and I’m going to try and get out and finish strong.

    Q. What do you plan to do with your psychology degree?

    A. I aspire to be a doctor. I’ve always enjoyed working with special needs children. It’s been a passion of mine. Neurological development disabilities is my area of interest. When you go to med school, they tell you should explore everything and shouldn’t know exactly what you want to do. But I’ve always wanted to work with kids with special needs. I want to be an ally to them. It’s been my goal since fourth grade, and I’ve been working real hard to get there.

    Q. What’s been your favorite class at Colby?


    A. I’ve taken so many good ones. There was one last fall. It sounds funny. Drugs, Brain and Behavior. You learned if you do this substance, it affects this part of your brain and in turn it makes you behave this way. I love learning about brain behavior. It’s fascinating. It was taught by Ed Yeterian. He’s phenomenal and teaches in such an engaging way.


    Allen Lessels can be reached at