By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Staff Writer
If you happen to be in some trouble in a few years and require the services of a paramedic, and Liz Picardi gets the call, you can have full confidence that the former Absegami three-sport star will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Because that’s exactly what she did for four years in various Braves uniforms, cementing herself as one of the best athletes in the Cape-Atlantic League with an outstanding 2018-2019 senior year.
Picardi had a unique sports career at Absegami, as she was the goalie for the field hockey team, a shooting guard in basketball, and one of the Braves’ leading scorers in lacrosse. And in each of her roles, she brought an intensity that was tough for opponents — and even teammates — to match.

Liz Picardi, a 2019 graduate of Absegami, was one of the top lacrosse goal scorers in the Cape-Atlantic League this season. (Glory Days photo/Dave O’Sullivan)


“She was not only valuable to all her sports, she was so valuable to this school. She’s definitely the female Athlete of the Year at our school, and to be a first-time goalie (in field hockey), she scored more than 100 goals in lacrosse and averaged double-digit points in basketball — that’s pretty amazing. She’s an amazing kid. Usually kids specialize in one sport, but she’s talented in all three. You could make a case that she’s a first-team athlete in all three sports. We call her ‘Big Game Liz’ because when it’s a big game, she shows up, whether it’s Ocean City, Mainland — you saw how good she was in that Mainland (playoff) game,” said Absegami girls basketball coach Bob Lasko. “With a girl like Liz, just give her the ball, she’ll be fine. She made more than 40 three-pointers this year. It was kind of like (Mainland senior Claudia) Mairone, if she had her feet set, it was going in. I’m missing her already. The cool thing is, she is such a humble kid. She was one of the captains of our team, and she showed the younger girls that if you play your role, good things will happen. She was never flashy, just did her job. She always made the right play, which you don’t see very often. Some kids are about themselves and they want to see their name in the paper, but she just wanted to play. She’s a fierce competitor who always wants to win. We couldn’t have won half the games we did without her.”
In field hockey, she led the Braves to eight wins and a berth in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals, and had more than 200 saves as a goalie. As a basketball player, Picardi scored double-digit points 12 times and averaged nearly 11 points per game for a team that won 13 games and advanced to the sectional quarterfinals, and in lacrosse she scored 49 goals for another state playoff qualifier.
“I miss it already. I did the day after it ended, I can’t believe it’s over. I enjoyed every single sport. I’m a very determined person, so I always wanted to get better in all the sports, and since I enjoyed them I didn’t mind the work it took. I had friends in each sport, so it was manageable. I had time to do my school work and hang out with my friends, even though most of the times it was hanging out on the court or the field,” said Picardi, who, surprisingly, is not going to college to play a sport but rather studying to become an EMT with an eventual goal of getting into the medical field in some capacity, like older sister Victoria, who is an ICU nurse. “Looking back on it, this year was definitely my best athletic year. I really tried to make the most of my last time playing each sport. In anything I do, I want to do well and be successful, so I always wanted to put myself out there for the team and do whatever I could to finish on top.”

Picardi played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse throughout her high school career, and as a senior led all three teams to the state playoffs. (Glory Days photo/Dave O’Sullivan)


Coach Lasko said there were times when he had to corral Picardi’s energy and aggressiveness, knowing that he would need her to still have some gas left in the tank for big games in February.
“She got stronger as the year went on, and the leadership she showed — a key example was our two state playoff games. She was unbelievable, hitting big shots. I knew she was a special player when (Mainland coach Scott) Betson had somebody pick her up at half court and guard her the whole way down,” Lasko said. “Off the court, Liz is a great kid who just wants to be part of the team. She was thinking about the other players, never worried about herself. On the court, I’ve never seen somebody as intense as her. It scared me, because I’m a pretty intense guy, but she would be so fired up for games. She was never afraid of contact and would get in there and mix it up with the bigger girls. Sometimes I’d have to try to calm her down. She’s intense, and we’re going to miss that about her.”
“I like when people say I’m tough,” Picardi said. “Sometimes I get a little too determined, but I try to keep my composure. But, yeah, I won’t stop until the end, and even if the game ends in a loss I won’t stop until the end.”
Picardi likely will have to find some other way to channel all that competitive energy now that she has graduated. It wasn’t easy taking off those Absegami uniforms for the last time, she said.
“For lacrosse, the game I’ll remember is my 100th goal, and also senior night. We lost that game, but it was something I’ll always remember. And in basketball, I just remember that last time I walked off the court in that Mainland playoff game. And in field hockey, also, that last game was probably my best game. Walking off the field for the last time was a crazy feeling. (After my last lacrosse game) I felt like it wasn’t real, and it still hasn’t hit me yet and it probably won’t until they start going back to school and I’m not there. It didn’t feel real at all,” she said. “It means a lot to me that I got a chance to be a part of it. I loved the girls I played with all four years, and all the coaches I had. I’m really glad I’ll always have those memories to take with me.”
“I don’t know if you can say there has been an athlete like her around here. She was a 100-goal scorer in lacrosse, one of the best shooters in the league (in basketball). I’ve never seen anything like it,” Lasko said. “What senior can say they are that good at three sports? She’s a throwback. Maybe on the one person you could compare her to is Kira Sides (of Middle Township). Seeing kids like that is rare now because most kids only play one or two sports. She didn’t get recognized as much as she should have.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays