With just a single goal oftentimes being the difference between a win and a loss in soccer, one could make the case that no one has impacted Wooster’s women’s soccer games as much as Larisa Fricsons, who scored 42 goals and assisted on 21 others, on her way to becoming the program’s career points leader.
Fricsons wasn’t the quickest player on the team, but she was the toughest, according to long-time head coach David “Geordie” Brown, and she put her signature toughness on display as soon as she arrived on campus. Having endured multiple knee surgeries before coming to Wooster, Fricsons made up for her lack of mobility by using her size and strength to become what’s known as a “target” player.
“Larisa was such a tough athlete,” recalled Brown, who was a first-year head coach during Fricson’s freshman year. “She played through a lot of pain, but you wouldn’t have known it watching her. If we had the ball around the goal box, we wanted it falling to her. She knew how to put the ball in the net, and that’s something you need on any good team – a player that knows how to get a shot off.”
Fricsons had a breakthrough rookie season, leading the team with 27 points (10 goals, 7 assists), highlighted by a four-goal outburst against Oberlin College, which still stands as the program record, only recently being matched. The Scots went 14-3-3 and finished first in the North Coast Athletic Conference (7-0-1), and Fricsons picked up her initial all-conference certificate (second-team).
As a sophomore, Fricsons scored a career-high 14 goals and passed out two assists, helping the team to a 13-win season and its first-ever NCAA Div. III Tournament bid. In order to get there, the Scots rattled off a nine-game winning streak at one point and Fricsons keyed the attack by scoring in eight of the nine. Fricsons received second-team all-region and first-team all-conference honors for her efforts.
The Scots had a disappointing year in 1993, as they were dealt some key injuries. Fricsons was hobbled herself, but still managed to play through and lead the team, which went 9-9-1, with eight goals, including a hat trick, good for a second-team all-NCAC nod.
Her senior year was yet another strong one, a record-breaking one individually in fact, and the team got back on track. For the first time in her career, Fricsons wasn’t the team’s leading goal scorer, although she did score 10 times, but instead she developed into a strong distributor. Fricsons passed out a program-record 12 assists, including at least one in seven-straight games during a stretch, and her dynamic play helped lead Wooster to 15 wins, the second-most in team history, and a return to first-place in the conference.
Fittingly, Fricsons displayed her goal-scoring touch one last time in the final game of her career, as she scored both of Wooster’s goals in a 2-1 victory against Kenyon College, including the game-winner in overtime. She garnered first-team all-conference accolades for the second time, and in doing so, became the first in team history to be four-time all-NCAC (now one of five). She landed on the all-region first team as a senior as well.
After graduating Wooster with a business economics degree, Fricsons moved “on a whim” to the Washington, D.C., area, where she remained involved in sports by working in event management at the Verizon Center – the home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards. She later earned a M.B.A. degree from Marymount University, and currently, works as a business and operations officer at Annenberg Learner, a company that funds the creation of educational multimedia resources for use by teachers and schools.
Personally, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Sean Kirgan, and their two children, Alexis (7) and Charlie (5), who are both following in their mother’s footsteps and beginning their own athletic careers.