Carson High senior Allison Kop, the Sierra League's defensive player of the year, has committed to play soccer at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif.
Kop, who helped lead the Senators to the Northern 4A championship this past season, signed with the small Jesuit school located outside of San Francisco a few weeks ago. She also considered Santa Clara but opted for the Gaels because they gave her a chance to play soccer.
"I decided three weeks ago after I went for a visit," Kop said. "The girls were real nice and I liked the coaches. It's also a small school and that was one of the reasons (I chose Saint Mary's)."
Last season, the Gaels went 15-3-2 and ended the season ranked No. 17 in the final NSCAA/Adidas Poll. They advanced to the second round of the NCAA College Cup before losing to Stanford 3-1. Saint Mary's finished third in the West Coast Conference behind Santa Clara and Portland, both of which were Final Four participants in 2001. The Broncos went on to win their first ever women's soccer championship with a win over No. 1 North Carolina in the championship game.
Pepperdine, which also plays in the WCC, went 12-5-3 and ended the season ranked No. 22 in the nation. The Gaels lose only one starter off last year's team, midfielder Katie Sticinski. So if Kop even sniffs the field as a freshman, she'll be happy.
"I don't know what to expect, they're good," said Kop, one of the best defenders in the Northern 4A the past two seasons. "I'm just happy they're letting me play. They need defense and they (the coaches) told me that I have a chance to play as a freshman."
Kop will receive a $6,000 academic scholarship but wasn't given any athletic money. That isn't uncommon, though. At best, most incoming freshman soccer players, men or women, receive only partial scholarships. The maximum number of scholarships a NCAA Division I women's soccer program has is 11 for a 24-player roster. And not all of them have that many.
"Academics was the main reason (I'm going there)," said Kop, who's undecided on a major but is considering Liberal Arts. "Soccer was just an added bonus."
Saint Mary's opens the 2002 season on Sept. 15 against California in Moraga.