West Stokes senior Liz Nail signed a letter of intent to play soccer for Division II Catawba College on Wednesday alongside parents and coaches.
“I like the size of the school and after going to camps and tours I realized it would be a really good fit for me,” she said.
Nail’s parents Amy and Gary are pleased with their daughter’s college choice and believe she’ll continue to be competitive beyond high school.
“Because West’s program has done so well, Liz has gotten to play against the best. There’s been a lot of high pressure situations that will prepare her for college,” Nail’s mother said.
Since her freshman season, the athlete has played a key role as goalie and helped lead her team to a state championship in 2014.
“During our fourth and fifth round games that year, she made some unbelievable saves to preserve the wins,” said Wildcats coach Chris Manley. “I’ve coached Liz here for three seasons, but I’ve had her in summer camps for about 10 years. She puts more extra time into her trade than any single athlete I’ve ever coached. She’s a great example to upcoming athletes of any sport.”
Nail said she loves the competitiveness of soccer and believes it’s pushed her to become a leader on and off the field.
“It’s also given me lifelong friends and memories that I know I’ll take with me after high school,” she said.
The teen credits her coaches and family for helping her develop a strong foundation that’s propelled her to the next level.
“My parents have spent countless hours driving me to practices and games and camps. They’ve invested money and a lot of time into it,” she said. “Coach Manley always makes sure we’re a close knit group on and off the field which makes a difference in how we play. He also always makes sure we’re taking academics seriously. He’s been a great coach. I’ve worked with Jeremy Ward who’s a really talented guy who’s given me specific training as a goalkeeper.”
Nail is known for single-season and career shutouts, but according to Manley she doesn’t play to set records.
“She plays because she loves the game and her teammates. Liz is on a very short list of athletes to play at the Division II level. She set a goal and through hard work and with the help of a very supportive family, she achieved it. Catawba’s athletic program is prestigious and I think she’ll help them tremendously.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.