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Tiger soccer pins seven commits to college ranks across US

Douglas High girls soccer will send players all over the United States to pay collegiately

By Carter Eckl ceckl@recordcourier.com

Seven members of the Douglas High girls soccer senior class are headed to college to continue pursuing athletics at the next level.

Those same seniors, who led the Tigers to back-to-back state tournament appearance, are staying local while others are traveling across the country for their next stop.

Madi Smalley, Molly Coverley,  Ariana Bilderback, Tess Sando, Vaneza Diaz, Tara Dragoo and Colby Bera are all planning to pursue stops at the collegiate level.

Madi Smalley – Dallas Baptist (NCAA Div. II) – Dallas

What drew you to Dallas Baptist?

“I have a recruiter and he was talking to people at a tournament he went too. … They (Dallas Baptist) wanted to see who I was, so we called and set up a visit. That was kind of the start of the line for me to really go visit.”

What was your visit like?

“It’s so gorgeous. I bonded with the team, we went bowling. I basically felt at home just in Dallas. Then we went onto campus and it was dark, but as soon as I saw all the lights on campus, my jaw just dropped. It’s so pretty there. … It’s 100 times prettier than the pictures.”

What does being able to play collegiate soccer mean to you?

“That’s been my goal since I was little. I think it’s really awesome. The team environment and all of their values line up with mine. It’s a religious school and I am religious and I’m really excited to add that aspect into soccer because I think faith is a big part of how I’ve been staying true to everything that I want. I;ve really worked hard for it because I believe there’s a play. They’re a very good team and they’ve been successful in the past. It’s definitely been a goal of mine to play somewhere that’s competitive because I’m very competitive. I’m going to have to compete really hard for a spot and I’m really excited to compete for one.”

Planned field of study: Dual major in psychology and secondary education

Molly Coverley – University of Sioux Falls (NCAA Div. II) – Sioux Falls, SD

What drew you to the University of Sioux Falls?

“I was going back and forth between a school in Hawaii and a school in South Dakota and when I went and visited the campus it was like super pretty and all the professors I met with were very helpful. They meet a lot of the needs athletes have because we travel a lot. The facilities were nice and the soccer team is good.”

What does being able to continue playing soccer mean to you?

“It means a lot because my dad played college football, both my sisters played college soccer, so it’s kind of like a family tradition and I feel fortunate to be able to keep doing that. So, I’m excited.”

Planned field of study: Dual major in pre-law and criminal justice with a minor in psychology

Ariana Bilderback – Trevecca Nazarene (NCAA Div. II) – Nashville, TN

What led you to want to go to Nashville?

“My dad brought up that I should look at schools on the east coast or the south, somewhere a little farther from home. He thought Nashville was a good fit for me, so we went and checked it out and turns out it was.”

What was it about thr program, coaches or visit that drew you in?

“The culture is amazing over there. The coach really cares about the players more than the game. She’s there to build us as people and build us as soccer players and that’s awesome. The school is a good school and it’s gorgeous and it’s in Nashville.”

What does this mean to you? Has it always been a dream to play collegiate soccer?

“Absolutely. I’m so excited to go and continue my soccer career out there.”

Planned field of study: Biology

Tess Sando – William Jessup (NAIA) – Rocklin, CA

What led you to William Jessup?

“Probably their aviation program because that’s what I want to study. There’s not a lot of programs that have it. when I was looking for schools in areas I want to go, that one had the program that I wanted.”

What does it mean to you to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level?

“It means a lot. I’ve always wanted to play at the college level and I wanted a team to be a part of. Also, to know that I won’t be ending my soccer career is very exciting.”

Anything else draw you to William Jessup?

“I do like that it’s small because classes and everything you really know your professor and everything. It’s also a christian school and that was something that I was also looking for. I liked the atmosphere, going there on visits, everyone is so nice and welcoming and I know that’s its a good positive environment.”

Planned field of study: Aviation

Vaneza Diaz – Clarke University (NAIA) – Dubuque, IA

What drew you to Clarke University, initially?

“It’s a small school and I have family in Iowa so basically those two reasons.”

What does it mean to be able to play soccer at the next level?

“It means everything. I’ve worked my whoe life to get to this point.”

Would you say having family in Iowa was the biggest draw for you outside of the program itself?

“Outside of soccer, yeah, my family aspect of it.”

Planned field of study: Buisness administration

Tara Dragoo – Truckee Meadows Community College (NJCAA) – Truckee, CA

What was it about TMCC that caught your interest?

“Probably the fact that I can transfer to UNR pretty easily and it’s a nice campus. It’s close to home.”

What does continuing to play soccer mean to you?

“It means a lot just cause I didn’t think I’d be able to play because I didn’t get to play my junior year due to an injury. So, I didn’t think I was going to go on and play so I’m glad I did stick with it and got an opportunity to play.”

Planned field of study: Nursing

Colby Bera – Truckee Meadows Community College (NJCAA) – Truckee, CA

I knw you haven’t officially signed yet, but what does it mean to you to have the potential to play college soccer?

“It’s exciting. I don’t think it’ll be anything like club or high school. I think it’ll be completely different. I’m excited. I wasn’t really ready for it to end so I just decided to go there.”

What has drawn you to TMCC?

“I like how close it is so I don’t have to take all my stuff to a different part of the country. It’s cheaper and close to home.”

Planned field of study: I’ll get my gen eds done there and then transfer and try to study physical therapy.