By Ryan Kacmarski
Over the last three years, the Magnificat High School soccer program has burst onto the state stage, winning a Division I district title, and two regional titles the past two seasons.
This year’s squad features three seniors who will now continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Sydney Duggan will play this fall at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
“My family has always been Michigan based, so the determining factor for me to sign with Oakland, was that the campus is close to my family and not too far away from my home in Ohio,” Duggan explained. “Having that decision made feels great, because I feel like I have accomplished my dream of getting the chance to play DI soccer, but at the same time I know that the journey has just begun, and now the work really starts.”
Duggan feels that she will have to kick her training up a notch to compete at the next level.
“I definitely know that I am going to need to get a lot better and work a lot harder to compete at the college level,” she said. “Fortunately, I have a very strong soccer background in my family, so I have a good understanding of the game, which should help the transition.
“My goal is to get stronger by the time the fall season comes around, so by that time I will be ready to compete at a high intensity level.”
Duggan feels that attending Magnificat has helped her to get to this point, both on and off the field.
“Magnificat High School has taught me to be a dedicated student-athlete in many aspects,” she said. “I have learned to balance soccer and school, and also how to know what my priorities are.
“Both my club coach, Marko Raduka, and high school coach, Gretchen Micklitsch, encouraged me, guided me and challenged me to improve and become a more confident leader,” she added. “I am very fortunate to have had them as coaches.”
Duggan plans to study exercise science.
Kaleigh Piscioneri will be attending the University of Cincinnatti on a soccer scholarship.
“I will be playing with a couple of my former teammates next season,” Piscioneri said. “The soccer coaches are very supportive at UC and they were a big determining factor that made the University of Cincinnatti stand out to me.
“When I finally decided to go there, in January, it was probably the best feelings in the world … it feels so great to know that I found a place that I love, where I can take my soccer career to the next step.”
For Piscioneri, concentrating on physical fitness will be key for her to compete at the next level.
“The college game of soccer will be a huge transition, and I need to make sure that my fitness level is the same as every field player, the first day I step onto campus in the summer as a freshman.”
She knows that without the support of her family and friends, she would not have this great opportunity.
“My parents, especially, have given me these tremendous opportunities to play soccer and to visit different colleges in order for me to find my fit,” Piscioneri stated. “I am very blessed to have parents who are always there for me and will do anything to make me happy.
“My coaches and teammates (at Magnificat) have pushed me to reach my potential since the beginning, and they definitely have me prepared for the next step,” she continued. “I have excelled in the classroom all four years of high school, with a GPA above 4.0, and I feel that I will be more than ready this fall.”
Piscioneri is still undecided on a major, but is leaning toward something in science or math.
Sarah Lawrence will be headed to the windy city and play soccer at Loyola University of Chicago.
“The determining factor that put Loyola over the rest was the feeling I got when I visited the school,” Lawrence said. “Loyola’s educational system, the coaches, the team and most importantly their goals and high expectations was exactly what I was looking for.
“Being committed since my junior year has been a big relief and is something I have been proud of for some time.”
Even though Lawrence has played at a very high level with the Cleveland Futbol Club, she knows that she will have to put in some hard work to compete at the collegiate level.
“I will have to work on my shooting accuracy and start getting used to a much faster speed of play,” she explained. “My fitness can always be better, too.”
Unlike her teammates who also signed to play college soccer, she knew where she wanted to go to from the beginning.
“I knew what I wanted in a school, and I knew what would be the right fit,” Lawrence stated. “My family and friends always supported any school I was interested in, but for my family and myself, we always knew Loyola was the perfect place for me.”
Lawrence plans on studying exercise science.