Torrey stars shine on college soccer stage
La Jolla Country Day has been known over the last few years for
producing tremendous soccer talent, and the school’s recent output is
now making waves at the next level.
Torreys alumni made have made names for themselves on a national
stage recently, as two former Country Day stars won college national
championships in women’s soccer. On Nov. 25, Wheaton College
sophomore defender Kelly Foltz celebrated an NCAA Division III title
with her teammates, and on Dec. 3, North Carolina freshman defender
Ali Hawkins was on the field as her team won the Division I crown.
“To put it simply, it was the best experience of my life,” Hawkins
said. “The last four months, we’ve been working so hard to win, and
to win it with this group of girls has been an absolute blessing.
There’s no other way to put it: This is the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Foltz was just as ecstatic when recalling her championship-winning day.
“I can’t even remember the few minutes right after because itís all a
blur,” Foltz said. “I just remember screaming a lot and all of us
were going crazy. We had wanted this so badly. The fans were going
wild and we immediately ran over to them because they were lining the
fence. We hugged our parents and family and I remember almost tearing
up when I hugged my Mom and Dad because I knew how proud I made them.
I could tell that my Mom was crying, and my sisters may deny it, but
I think they were a little too.”
Hawkins helped North Carolina uphold its tradition as the nation’s
top soccer school, as the Tarheels won their 18th national
championship. They beat Notre Dame, 2-1, on goals from Heather
O’Reilly and Casey Noqueira in Cary, N.C.
The ‘Heels had opened the season with a defeat, but quickly righted
the ship and spun off 27 consecutive wins to end the season 27-1. It
was a magical season, especially for Hawkins, experiencing it for the
“It’s always been a dream of mine to win a national championship, and
when I was training for this season, it was always in the forefront
of my mind, but we lost the first game of the season, and when that
happened, I didn’t really know if it was going to become a reality,”
she said. “When we had that first loss, there was definitely part of
me that was thinking maybe it wasn’t our year, but after we got back
into it, I thought we had a chance to win.”
Like many female soccer players, Hawkins had always dreamed of
playing at North Carolina, the school that spawned stars like Mia
Hamm. To start as a freshman at such a prestigious soccer school was
a significant accomplishment, but not one that the ever-confident
Hawkins was surprised by.
“As a freshman, you want to come in and make an impact, and I was
lucky to come in and get playing time,” she said. “I always knew it
was going to depend on how hard I worked over the summer and how hard
I worked when I came into the preseason. I worked all summer to get
that starting position. It was a goal of mine, and it wasn’t out of
“There were definitely times when I was out there and it hit me that
I was playing for North Carolina and I was living out my dream. The
coaches and the other players never made it like it was the freshmen
against the other players. They all accepted the fact that we were
going to try to make an impact.
“When you’re not treated as the bottom of the totem pole, you don’t
think that way. There was never a time when I was thinking, ‘They
don’t want me out here. Every single person here was supportive, and
that’s what really got us through the season.”
Foltz and her teammates won their championship with a 2-0 victory
over The College of New Jersey, thanks to two goals from Sarah
Richardson, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. It was the Thunder’s second
national championship in three years.
“There was a fair amount of pressure during the beginning of the year
because they hadn’t lost in more than 25 games, and we were all
waiting for the streak to eventually end,” Foltz said. “The returners
began to notice that our coaches stopped talking about the national
championship and the possibility of another one, which scared all of
us. We weren’t sure if the coaches had lost faith in us or didn’t
want to put pressure on us, but unlike the year before, when all they
could talk about was winning it, they didn’t say anything. I learned
so much, and the experience of that year really fired us all up to
want to win a championship this year.”