YAIAA soccer trio Kennedy Little, Bri Hackos, Ali Shick commit to Division I colleges
High school girls' soccer rivals Kennedy Little and Ali Shick see a lot of each other.
In addition to playing against each other at Central York and Dallastown, they are teammates on the Penn Legacy club team in Lancaster. They also gave their verbal commitments this summer to Division I colleges — both in the Colonial Athletic Association, which means they will continue to run into each other.
Little, the YAIAA player of the year last season as a defender, selected Elon. Shick, also a defender, picked Drexel.
Add in Briana Hackos, who committed Thursday to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and that's three Division I-bound players from the YAIAA.
"That's good stuff and good for York and Adams counties to come out of this area," Dallastown coach Scott Austin said. "They've come out of the other leagues (Mid-Penn and Lancaster-Lebanon). Now they're coming out of ours, which is positive stuff."
Of course, the trio that drew interest from bigger schools also play for last year's YAIAA tournament finalists. Little and Hackos helped the Panthers beat Dallastown, 2-1, for the league crown after they split their regular-season meeting.
Little and Hackos made sure to wear their championship sweaters later in the fall for practices with their Penn Legacy team, so how could Shick forget?
"It's fun, but I want to beat them," said Shick, who rejoined Little and Hackos a year ago on the club circuit.
"We've been playing together since we were little," Little said. "Everyone's worked so hard. I'm really happy I'll get to see Ali in college."
Little and Shick plan to attend at least one college game this fall, likely to see Elon play at Drexel. That drive will be more convenient for the two. Elon is about 20 miles east of Greensboro, N.C., but just joined the Colonial Athletic Association a year ago.
That means Little will have ample chances to play in the region against Towson and Delaware. She made her choice in early July and knew she wanted to major in biology and head south.
Shick said Drexel had interest in her for a year, and she decided on the Dragons in June. Its school of business caught her eye.
"I looked to other schools, but I think in the back of my mind I knew it was Drexel," she said.
Of the three, Hackos is the only non-defender.
The speedy midfielder will join another YAIAA player — recent Susquehannock graduate Brooke McGee, a defender — at NJIT. Hackos, whose older sister Katie plays at Youngstown State, has aspirations of biochemistry and pre-med at NJIT.
Little and Hackos can become the first Central girls' soccer player at a Division I college since 2011 graduate Casey Morrison and 2010 grad Dani Rutter. Morrison will be a senior defender this fall at Boston College, where she received a medical redshirt last season because of a knee injury. Rutter played forward and midfield at William & Mary.
Elsewhere, Dover senior Brooke Firestone gave her verbal to Messiah, while teammates Payton and Maddy Miller are bound for West Chester.
In about two weeks, they all will begin preparation for one more high school season. Aspirations are high at Central and Dallastown — and defense is why.
Three starters return to the Panthers' backfield, including honorable mention All-YAIAA performer Faith Hatchard. Ally McCabe, who joined Kennedy at center back, is also slated to return.
At Dallastown, all four starting defenders are expected to return for Austin: Shick, Natalie Gettle, Sierra Austin and Lyndee Anders.
A championship sweater for those Elon-Drexel games can provide some motivation for two of them.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.