Three local Division I college soccer players recognized for on-field success

By: Mark Vest | Troy Times | Published November 26, 2013

Three local athletes, all of whom are part of Eastern Michigan University’s women’s soccer program, had seasons they aren’t likely to forget.

Aside from being part of a squad that captured a regular-season Mid-American Conference championship, Emily Dzik (Troy High School), Marisa Kozikowski (Troy Athens) and Madison Hirsch (Troy) also came away from the season with individual accolades.

Dzik, a junior at Eastern, was named as the MAC Co-defensive Player of the Year.

“I was super happy,” she said. “I was really surprised, but I was really happy and honored. I was really excited when I got it.”

While being voted MAC Co-defensive Player of the Year is a result of her accomplishments on the field, as is the case with many athletes, what isn’t always seen is the hard work that goes into achieving at a high level.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Dzik said. “To know your hard work is paying off, and you’re getting something rewarding out of it was a really good feeling, and it makes all those long days and frustrating days worth it.”

For her play on the field, Kozikowski, who is also in her junior year at Eastern, was selected to the All-MAC second team.

“I was really excited that my hard work paid off this year,” she said. “I was really honored I was able to be put on that team — that the coaches felt I was good enough to be put on that team.”

Kozikowsi cited “perseverance” and being able to “tough it out” as the keys to her accomplishment. Being selected to the honor team may have given Kozikowski the motivation to aim for an even loftier goal next season.

“It’s good to get second team, but obviously, there’s room for improvement,” she said. “I would really like to make first team next year. It motivates me to get even better next year.”

Hirsch was selected to the All-Freshman team, and receiving that honor is a nice accomplishment for someone who wasn’t sure how much of the field she would see in her debut season.

“It feels really great,” she said. “I feel like freshman year, I wanted to come in, kind of earn my spot, almost. I feel like more playing time towards the end really helped that along. I came in thinking I needed to work harder than everyone else to make sure I earned my spot. “

Hirsch referenced “hard work” and “positivity” as keys to being named to the All-Freshman team. Receiving a nice honor so early in her stint with the Eagles could go a long way toward helping Hirsch to accomplish big things, as she moves forward with her career at Eastern.

“It’s like an easier transition into next season,” she said. “(It helps) not only (with) confidence, but motivation for this summer and the off-season to keep getting better — because I know I’ve got a good start.”