MONUMENT — There's something about being on a field with a stick in her hands that brings out the best in Liz Phillips.
Whether it was in the fall when she scored the championship-winning goal in a shootout for Palmer Ridge's field hockey team or this spring, scoring six goals to help the Bears girls lacrosse team get its biggest win of the year, when Phillips plays well, the Bears tend to succeed.
She has been a vital part to both teams for Palmer Ridge and her play has earned her the chance to compete at the University of Colorado. She'll play lacrosse for the Buffs.
"Coach Ann Elliott is someone I definitely want to play for," Phillips said. "Being an up and coming program, I want to be a part of a young group of girls, a young team."
If she can give the Buffs even a fraction of what she has given to Palmer Ridge, they'll be in good shape.
It's been a good year for the senior.
She finished tied for second on the field hockey team with 11 goals scored on the year. But it was her shootout goal to clinch the state title that ended up counting the most. After years of close finishes, the Bears were finally champions.
And now Phillips is on to the sport that will carry her through college. But as she embarks on one last season for Palmer Ridge, she knows she's not the lacrosse player she is if not for field hockey.
"I would say that the stick work is similar," Phillips said. "The way that the field is, my field vision, gets better during field hockey and translates over to lacrosse."
Lacrosse has been a challenge in 2018. The Bears lost five of their first six games and looked nothing like the playoff team they were a year ago.
Coming into Wednesday's game against Air Academy, the No. 8 team in the CHSAANow.com rankings, Phillips averaged just two goals a game.
She exploded for six in what turned into a 15-11 win for Palmer Ridge, the most impactful win of the season thus far.
"Liz can really get the attack going when she's on her game," Palmer Ridge freshman Hannah Dove said. "She's a threat and that makes everyone around her also a threat. She can cut to the middle and everyone goes to her and the next thing you know, you're open."
Phillips added a couple of assists in the win and is far from a player that can only score. She's talented and lethal with the ball in her possession, but she's incredibly unselfish.
And those tendencies don't just stick with her on the field. Lacrosse might be what she does from an athletic standpoint, but her character is consistent with all her actions on and off the field.
"She's an amazing person all around," coach Susan Walker said. "She volunteers, she helps the youth lacrosse program. Lacrosse is just the game that she plays, but she's also a great person off the field."
Tuesday's win could be the spark that the Bears need to turn their season around. There's no denying that Phillips and her six goals were vital to lighting that spark.
Only time will tell if they can feed off that momentum. But with her on the field it's certainly possible. If the field hockey title game and Tuesday's win over Air Academy are any indication, Phillips likes to shine on the big stage.