The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

February 15, 2013

Hill to continue soccer career at Wesleyan

GARDNER — Paperwork is one of those requirements of modern life that usually is done reluctantly and alone. That was not the case for PikeView High School senior Laura Hill in the school’s media center on Monday afternoon.

The award-winning soccer standout was all smiles as she signed numerous documents to commit officially to play soccer for West Virginia Wesleyan College, surrounded by family, coaches and the school administration.

“It’s really exciting, knowing that it’s finally official, and that this is where I’m going to spend the next four years playing soccer,” she said.

She announced on Oct. 2, in the middle of her final prep soccer season, that she had verbally committed to play for the Buckhannon-based Bobcats.

Her father Sam Hill, also the PikeView soccer coach, said, “All the i’s have been dotted and the t’s are crossed, and we can start focusing on getting her the things she needs to be ready to be successful next fall when she heads up to Buckhannon.”

Her mother Angie Hill, a PVHS soccer coach as well, said, “It’s a pretty special feeling, seeing that it’s something she’s had such a passion for, and reaching the goal that she’s been pursuing.”

Laura Hill is captain of the 2012 Class AA all-state team, and was named forward of the year by the state soccer coaches’ association — a year after being midfielder of the year.

In four years, she helped PikeView to a 68-17-5 record with 115 goals and 72 assists. She is the unofficial West Virginia state girls record-holder with 59 goals last season.

She is also academically fourth in her senior class and recently earned the designation as Scholar All-American from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Wesleyan, which went 12-6-3 last fall, won the West Virginia Conference tournament on Nov. 4, taking the crown in five of the last six years. For the second time in three years, the Bobcats advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament.

Coach Patrick Hoaguin, who has completed his third year at the Buckhannon school, was named WVIAC coach of the year after the 2012 season.

Laura Hill said Hoaguin “had a big impact on what I decided, and I really liked him.”

Playing under the direction of someone other than her parents is “going to be different,” she said. “They’ve always been my coaches. They’ve always been the ones there, teaching me ... what the right way to do everything was. Now, under somebody else, it’s going to be interesting.”

Where she plays for the Bobcats is up for debate.

Laura Hill said, “He originally told me outside back — which is interesting, because I’ve never been a defender. And then he decided I might be an all-right center-mid. And then after this season when I played striker and did well up top, he decided to start looking at me there.”

“So, who knows?”

Sam Hill said, “I think she’ll play wherever he asks her to play. He has very much been a coach that focuses on the defensive aspects of the game.

“From my perspective, his best two players were his two central defenders, and the fact that he had indicated to us that that may be a position for her says, to me, that he sees a lot of potential in her. ...

“She maybe is not quite as excited about that as he is. I told her, both as a parent and a coach, if you want to play a position, you show the coach that he has to play you there.

“If she gets up there and does the things that he expects a forward to do, and most importantly, if she’s productive, she’ll have that chance.”

He said Hoaguin “gives the girls a chance. It’s not unusual for him to play 16, 17, 18 girls in a game ... even in the conference championship game.”

“I think she’ll have the opportunity to prove that she can play. It’s up to her to take advantage of it.”

The signing was a brief break from her current athletic endeavors, playing basketball for the Panthers. She plans to run track for PikeView this spring prior to graduation.

She has also joined a travel soccer team earlier this month that is headquartered in Huntington and plans to continue into the summer. That will involve “several practices a week,” she said.

Angie Hill said, “She doesn’t really take a day off, ever.”

Sam Hill said, “I think almost every girl on the (Huntington) team is going on to play collegiate soccer, some of them at the Division I level. It’s obviously going to a high-quality team.

“And to be able to train with those girls, and compete with them ... will mean a lot to her in terms of transitioning into the college environment.”

The Hills plan a trip to the West Virginia Wesleyan campus “in a couple of weeks,” Sam Hill said, and Hoaguin has invited the signee to spend a weekend with the team in the coming months.

Laura Hill said about her choice to play in college, “I don’t think it’s entirely set in yet, and I don’t think it will until I get up there in August and I’m on my own, practicing with them.”

Preparing to report in for the preseason is a simple matter, she said.

“The coaches told me that I needed to come in as fit and in shape as I could be, and I just needed to go in and work hard with the best attitude I could,” she said.

In addition to “playing a lot of basketball,” she is doing soccer workouts with her father at the Concord University football field in Athens. Her work with the travel team will ensure “I’m still getting a lot of touches on the ball,” she said.

Angie Hill said, “She’s been running, she’s been working out in the weight room, working out a lot on her own ... all of it geared toward having her ready to walk onto the soccer field as fit as she can be.”

Laura Hill said about her high school soccer experience, “It’s definitely taught me a lot. It’s not only taught me soccer skills, but it’s taught me a bunch of leadership skills that I’ll need to continue through life, and on the soccer field.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

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