The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 3, 2012

PikeView soccer standout Hill signs with Wesleyan

By Tom Bone
For The Register-Herald

GARDNER — Laura Hill has one less thing to worry about in her senior year of high school.

The two-time all-state first-team soccer player for PikeView High School made public her verbal commitment on Tuesday evening to play soccer at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The decision, she said, “just lets me focus more on this season, right now, and play like I know I can.”

The announcement came during “senior night” recognitions of four PikeView upperclassmen, between matches of PikeView’s doubleheader.

She then took to the pitch on the PVHS campus and scored four goals, bringing her career total to 96.

The Bobcats have been one of the premier teams in the West Virginia Conference for years, winning the conference tournament in four of the past five years (2007 through 2010).

“They’re a solid team,” Hill said.

Hill was impressed by West Virginia Wesleyan coach Patrick Holguin when she played for him in West Virginia’s Olympic Development Program (ODP).

“He’s a really good coach,” Hill said. “I liked the way he coached us. I liked the way he talked to us.”

Hill said Holguin told her he wanted her to play at the private college. “So, I looked further into it and it just ended up being a good fit,” she said.

Her father Sam Hill, who is also her head coach at PikeView, said, “I think it’s a fantastic school, to begin with. ... So many things pointed favorably to that as an option to consider.”

“We were tickled that she would have the opportunity to play in a good program, for a good coach ... and to have a school of that quality. To have all of that fit together, it’s about as good of an opportunity as we could have hoped for, for her.”

From the standpoint of a coach, he said, “I think they’re getting a pretty high-quality player. Technically, Laura is very strong, and she’s getting stronger athletically, all the time. ... I think she can play a number of different positions for him.”

She and her parents visited Buckhannon “a couple of times,” she said, then they informed Holguin on Saturday by phone of her commitment.

The NCAA does not permit prospective players to sign a letter of intent until February.

Hill has played every soccer position for PikeView other than goalkeeper. She was named the 2011 state Mid-Fielder of the Year for Class AA schools, and she holds the unofficial state record for assists in a season, 34.

She is a three-year starter and letter-winner for the Panthers. In each of those years she made the All-Coalfield Conference team and the high school coaches’ association All-State team.

Twice she has made the All-State team of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

With her on the team, PikeView has posted a 63-15-5 record, made the final four in the state playoffs twice and the quarterfinals last season.

She has also played basketball for the Panthers and was part of the 4-by-800-meter relay team that set a school record. She qualified for the state track meet in the 3,200-, 1,600- and 4-by-400-meter races.

Academically, she is fourth in her class and a member of the National Honor Society.

The early choice puts her mind at ease, she said.

“I don’t have to look into where I’m going to college. I have that decided,” she said. “I don’t have to see if I can, maybe, make someone’s team. I already have that covered.”

PikeView’s soccer seniors honored on Tuesday include Charlotte Webster, Quinton Brown and Nathaniel Ellis.

Sam Hill said, “It has truly been a privilege and a blessing to be a part of your lives and to watch you grow and mature into such fine young men and young women. We know great things lie ahead for each of you.”

— E-mail:tbone@bdtonline.com