By Kyle LoJacono
Sunlake girls soccer player Cassidy Place is hopeful that the 2011-12 Seahawks can achieve program history by making the playoffs for the first time.
But even if a regional berth isn’t in the cards, the 5-foot-10 junior defender has already made Sunlake history of her own.
She has decided to play at Saint Leo University (SLU), becoming the first in the program’s six-year history to commit to compete in college.
“I’ve always wanted to go there since I was little,” Place said. “I grew up going to camps there. It was my No. 1 choice. The campus is so beautiful, and it’s just the perfect place.”
Place said it’s been a goal to play in college since she first started playing, which goes back as far as she can remember.
“Basically I’ve been playing since they let me,” Place said. “I was really little. I don’t remember what age, but basically my whole life.”
Place has four goals, four assists and 99 steals this season for the 4-4-4 Seahawks, who are currently seeded second in Class 3A-District 7 with a 3-0-2 league record.
The future Lion was also a member of the Tampa Bay United U17 squad that reached the state cup last summer.
SLU is a Division II program in the Sunshine State Conference. The Lions won the regular season conference title two years ago with a 15-3-1 record. They went 2-12-2 in 2012 after losing eight seniors from the championship squad.
Place said Saint Leo’s recent winning ways was another factor in her decision, along with a desire to get the Lions back at the top of the SSC while playing for coach Ged O’Connor.
“He’s a really good coach,” Place said. “He’s all about fitness and hard work, and that’s something I really liked about the camps.”
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker