Lyndhurst’s Augustyniak finds knack to scoring goals

Photo by Jim Hague

So how does a girls’ soccer player like Lexi Augustyniak become so much of a prolific scorer overnight?

After all, the Lyndhurst High School junior scored eight goals as a freshman, then four goals in last year’s COVID-shortened campaign. To some, those might be pedestrian scoring totals.

But this year, Augustyniak has just exploded onto the scene, becoming one of the top goal scorers in all of northern New Jersey.

So far, Augustyniak has found the nets an astounding 19 times. She’s had at last two goals in seven Golden Bears contests and collected the three-goal hat trick three times – all in the last three weeks.

Two of those hat tricks came in consecutive games last week, wins against Ridgefield and Leonia. All totaled for the week, Augustyniak had seven goals and three assists. She’s added 10 assists to her lofty goal totals.

So it’s easy to see how Augustyniak has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

But how does this happen? It’s an improvement that is rarely seen in girls’ soccer. To go from four goals to 19 in one year is beyond comprehension.

Well, there seems to be a few prongs as to why Augustyniak has improved so much.

For one, it comes with an incredible amount of hard work in the off-season.

“I practiced my shooting a lot on my own,” Augustyniak said. “I would go to the field with my Dad and take shots every day. I also went to the gym (Retro Fitness in North Arlington) and work with weights, doing squats to get my legs stronger. I then had a lot more confidence. I’m also older and stronger. I think the confidence came with getting older.”

Augustyniak also played for a highly competitive club team called PSA, which stands for the Princeton Soccer Association, one of the most prestigious club soccer programs in the state. PSA has teams and organizations across the state.

“It really helped me,” Augustyniak said. “I got to play against all the good teams at a high level and that made me better.”

The results are staggering. But it’s what Augustyniak wanted.

“Yeah, that’s what I was shooting for,” Augustyniak said. “I really enjoy playing soccer and scoring goals.”

Needless to say, it was the results that Lyndhurst head girls’ soccer coach Kim Hykey was looking for.

“We’ve been waiting for this since her freshman year,” Hykey said. “I knew it was there. It just had to come out when she believed in herself and had confidence. Honestly, I could tell that the kid had potential. You can talk about potential all you want, but I think when she realized that she was being a factor in some of our big games early on and had some success, I think that’s when everything just clicked.”

And now the Golden Bears have a legitimate striker, a scoring threat that the rest of the team can rely upon and does.

“She started putting herself in better places,” Hykey said. “She started making the good runs. She has a lot of speed and that’s her best asset, so she can run to the ball. I noticed that she started asking for the ball and her teammates are looking for her. They’ve all developed good chemistry.”

Hykey said that Augustyniak’s shot is a lot better as well.

“She’s striking the ball well,” Hykey said. “She’s striking the ball with authority. She’s starting to rip it from further out. She’s not afraid to take a shot from 18 yards out. She also takes our corner kicks and that has helped her get assists.”

Hykey said that she expected Augustyniak to produce more this season.
“I really was hoping for her to get like 13, 14 goals,” Hykey said. “I knew Lexi had to step it up this year. She’s done a nice job.”

Augustyniak is also an excellent basketball player in the winter months for coach Perrin Mosca.

“She’s definitely active,” Hykey said. “I’m trying to get her to run track in the spring.”

Of course, since Hykey is also the girls’ track coach at Lyndhurst.

Does Augustyniak hope for improvement on the hardwood as well?

“Yeah, I’m expecting to score about 15 points a game,” Augustyniak said. “I like sports a lot. I think I’m better in soccer.”

But incredibly, Augustyniak has no expectations of playing in college.

“I just think it will take up a lot of my time,” Augustyniak said. “I want to focus on my school work. I hope to study nursing. My mother (Toni) is a nurse and I want to become a nurse, too.”

As for where she’d like to go to nursing school?

“I have no clue,” she laughs. “Probably somewhere far away.”

For now, Augustyniak doesn’t mind being the Golden Bears’ golden child this fall.

“I’m happy and excited,” Augustyniak said. “I’m glad all my hard work paid off. It’s what I hoped for since I was little.”

Augustyniak is still on the little side, standing about 5-foot-2.

“She’s a lot like me,” said Hykey, who was a diminutive player who became the school’s all-time leading scorer before going on to play at Seton Hall. “I see a lot of me in her.”

That’s not a bad comparison at all.




Lyndhurst junior forward Lexi Augustyniak. Photo by Jim Hague




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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”