Hilton Head girls soccer team sending large group off to college after season

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High School Soccer

Hilton Head girls soccer team sending large group off to college after season

Nine Seahawks announce their college commitments
By CHRIS COX
ccox@islandpacket.com
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013   |  679 Words  |  

The Hilton Head Island High School girls soccer team, just like all the other clubs out there, starts 11 players in each and every match.

On Wednesday, nine of them -- yes, nine --signed on to play at the college level.

"I think it's definitely something that makes our team unique, because I don't know any other schools that have this many girls," midfielder Emily Crick said. "It sets a legacy for the teams to come and sets a level that everybody will hopefully strive for after us."

Crick joined four other Seahawks who signed NCAA Division I scholarships in the Hilton Head High media center as part of National Signing Day. The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette player of the year will join Winthrop next season after helping the Seahawks finish with a 25-2 record in 2012 en route to a second consecutive state championship.

Midfielder Faith Lifer, a member of last season's SCSoccer.com Super XXII team, signed with Wofford while Jordan Haughton-James, Kelsey Fitzhugh and Nikki Schoning all signed with Charleston Southern.

"I think it's great," Lifer said. "It just goes to show what a great program we have here and all the hard work we've put in over the years."

Midfielder Taylor Bush and defenders Victoria Johnston and Alex Vinson all signed with Division II Erskine while Bridgette Noonan rounded out the list by staying home to attend USC Beaufort, an NAIA member.

"(Noonan) could have been playing at a D1 program," Seahawks coach Ernie Suozzi said. "I think USCB stole her, realistically. They're getting a player that's a hard worker."

The scary part for the Seahawks' opposition in 2013? Johnston, Vinson and Bush weren't even starters a year ago. They help make up what Suozzi believes will be one of his deepest teams at Hilton Head High.

"The dynamics of the team really is what make the whole thing go," Suozzi said. "Coaches see the success the team has had and figure if they can make the team and play with these guys all the time, they could (play for) them.

That talent has helped the team's goals shift for this year, Crick said. After winning state championships in each of the last two seasons, the Seahawks now have aspirations of an undefeated season.

They'll get their chance in the opener of the Taco Bell Viking Cup against J.L. Mann on March 1.

"I think that this puts a target on our back that we already had," she said. "This year is going to be interesting, but I'm excited."

For those keeping count at home, the nine scholarship players represent 82 percent of the Seahawks' projected starting lineup. And no, Suozzi has no plans of applying for NCAA membership.

"Being a part of this team, it's just like a bigger school or a college or something like that," he said. "They're part of something successful."

Hilton Head High actually scrimmaged a college a year ago, as SCAD came out on top with a goal late in regulation after Suozzi pulled most of his starters. They'll play again on Friday, and the Seahawks have different plans for the rematch.

"I want to beat them this year," Lifer said. "I think we might."

Hilton Head High girls soccer signees

NCAA Division 1

Emily Crick, M/F, Winthrop

Faith Lifer, M/F, Wofford

Jordan Haughton-James, D, Charleston Southern

Kelsey Fitzhugh, M/F, Charleston Southern

Nikki Schoning, M, Charleston Southern

NCAA Division II

Taylor Bush, M/F, Erskine

Victoria Johnston, D, Erskine

Alex Vinson, D, Erskine

NAIA

Bridgette Noonan, M, USC Beaufort