Basketball is king at the University of Kentucky, while the women’s soccer program has struggled to remain competitive. Emerson Andrews wants to help change that.
The Highland Park senior signed with the Wildcats on Wednesday during the first day of the fall signing period. She was recognized along with 10 other HP athletes during a ceremony at the school.
“When I stepped on campus, I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” said Andrews, who cited the progress under a new coaching staff this fall. “It’s a great opportunity because there’s so much room for growth.”
Already a two-time all-district defender, Andrews is a team captain this season for the Lady Scots, who will start their 2024 campaign in January.
“Emerson is a fearless leader in our back line,” said HP head coach Aaron McGough. “She has left her mark on our team with many accolades.”
HP striker Isabella Davis had decided she didn’t want to play college soccer. But after a late change of heart, she signed with Southeastern Louisiana, where one of her close friends is already on the team.
“I just realized I wasn’t ready to give it up. It didn’t feel right because I had worked so hard and had so much potential,” Davis said. “Now I’m really excited.”
Reid Valentine, a defender on the HP boys soccer team, signed with Furman after visiting the campus in South Carolina this summer. He committed to the Paladins in late August.
“I really like their facilities and their coaches are very personable,” Valentine said. “The program has a deep history of success. It’s like a family when you’re there.”
In volleyball, Harper Hall’s first choice was the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has family in the area and wanted to live there. But first, the setter had to prove herself to earn a roster spot. So she entered her 2023 club season with a new mindset and work ethic. A scholarship offer followed, and Hall signed with the Gauchos on Wednesday.
“Their program is really good,” said Hall, who had more than 2,000 assists in her HP career. “I think it was my determination that sold them.”
Meanwhile, HP baseball pitcher Max Stammel signed with Duke. As part of a stellar junior season for the Scots, the lefthander fired a perfect game with 17 strikeouts against Irving.
A trio of HP seniors signed to play for college programs in beach volleyball, including Madeline Walker (Arizona), Vivian Johnson (Texas), and Tippi Lane (Pepperdine).
Faith Horner, who also plays shortstop for the Lady Scots softball team, will head to Oklahoma State as HP’s first college equestrian signee.
Also finalizing their college decisions on Wednesday were rower Olivia Till (Alabama), who competes for Dallas United Crew, and tennis player Briana Rees (Hillsdale College).