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College Sports

August 27, 2012

KICK IT: Local soccer stars moving to next level

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — A record number of the area’s players start their collegiate soccer careers this month.

We count at least 14 who have joined various programs in 2012, ranging from NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III to NAIA and National Junior College Athletic Association levels.

Floyd Central girls’ graduates account for a large chunk of those carrying on their soccer careers, with no fewer than six playing college ball this fall.

One of them, Loryn Queen, has already gotten off to a flyer, scoring in her very first game for Division I University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

In the Lady Mocs’ 6-0 win over cross-town rival Tennessee Temple last week, Queen started off her college career in midfield, where she chipped in with an assist, before scoring a goal when moved up front.

“I am loving it so far,” said Queen, who was the leading scorer for the Highlanders last year with 16 goals. “It’s a great challenge and it has pushed me to become more mature with the game. The coaches and upperclassmen have made being away from home much easier.”

It also helps that her old Javanon club teammate Logan Higgins from Louisville Assumption joins her on the program. On the academic side, having a great physical therapy course was a great pull.

“And after visiting the school, I chose UTC because of the beautiful campus, the coaches and the players. They were all so welcoming. I felt right at home,” Queen said.

 Casey Marlin, Providence’s all-time highest career scorer with 95 goals, has chosen to study and play soccer at Lenoir-Rhyne University, located in Hickory, N.C.

The program, which is part of the South Atlantic Conference, is coming off back-to-back regular-season championships, as well as subsequent berths in the NCAA Division II national tournament.

The Bears are ranked ninth in the country in the preseason and much is expected of the team under new coach Cally Morrill.

Marlin said Lenoir-Rhyne, while having a successful soccer program, also has a sense of community that appealed to her.

“I think it is a challenge to be seven hours away from home with people I don’t know in an area I’m not familiar with. But I think it will be a great growing and learning experience,” she said.

Marlin will once again wear the No. 10 jersey she so successfully adorned during high school — a career which culminated in an Indiana Class A state championship with the Pioneers.

She said she believes the experience has really helped her thus far in what has been a rigorous preseason.

“It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life, but it’ll pay off,” she said. “I do think college is tougher because there is much more time put into it, and it is a higher level of playing. But I’d say I’m prepared for it thanks to my experiences with Providence.”

The Bears’ first game will see them take on Georgia College in the Lenoir-Rhyne Classic on Friday.

Also starting its fall campaign on Friday is the NCAA Division III outfit of Transylvania University, ranked No. 1 in preseason polls to repeat its 2011 feat of finishing atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Amongst the Pioneers’ new recruits are Nick Blackwell (New Albany) and Brett Bass (Providence).

Blackwell, who plays with two-time national league runner-up and six-time state champion Javanon ‘94, follows in the footsteps of Bulldog brothers Matt and Nick Karaffa, who both played at Transy.

“I am most thankful about getting an opportunity to play in college because it was always one of my goals to play college soccer and I am truly blessed to have this chance,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said he chose Transylvania as it is a good blend of soccer and academics that will help him pursue his goals in life, one of which is coaching.

 “I have taken part in coaching the New Albany boys’ team this summer with Dutch Vigar and Dietrich Rudolph, and while attending Transy, the players can help coach club at Lexington FC, which is a great way for me to help further my coaching career and help build a foundation for it,” he said.

Bass, meanwhile, plays club soccer with United 1996, will become the second Providence defender to play with the Transylvania, the other having been Ryan Sparks.

Like many who have played at Transy, coach Brandon Bowman — now in his 10th year at the Lexington, Ky., college — was a factor when Bass was choosing where to go.

“I met with Coach Bowman and really enjoyed my visit and loved the campus,” said Bass. “Transy has consistently been strong in soccer year after year under him and that influenced my decision.

“There are a lot of juniors here with a lot of experience and it’s been challenging as the game is faster. It’s nice also having other freshmen I know like Nick Blackwell and some United teammates here.”

The Pioneers’ first game is against Berea College at the Little Caesar’s College Showcase in Lexington on Friday, August 31.

Starting their collegiate soccer career:

Brett Bass (Providence/Transylvania); Nick Blackwell (New Albany/Transylvania); Danny Laird (Floyd Central/Northern Kentucky); Caleb Moore (Christian Academy of Indiana/Huntington); Chris Smith (Christian Academy of Indiana/Huntington); Gabe Stewart (St. Xavier, Henryville native/Lipscomb, Nashville, Tenn.); Rebekah Burgan (Floyd Central and Jeffersonville/Parkland College, Ill.); Lauren Haley (Floyd Central/Ohio University); Cassie Holland (Floyd Central/Asbury, Ky.); Casey Marlin (Providence/Lenoir-Rhyne); Taylor Patty (Floyd Central/Southern Indiana, Evansville); Alysen Shireman (Floyd Central, 2011 graduate, first year at Campbellsville University, Ky.); Loryn Queen (Floyd Central/Tennessee-Chattanooga); Ashley Walls (Christian Academy of Indiana, 2011 graduate, first year at Asbury, Ky.).

Contact Aidan Kelly at aidokaydo@gmail.com.

 

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