Two Golden Eagles women soccer players have decided to extend their playing careers at four year universities.
Nikita Woods and Abby Morillon signed their letters of intent on Feb. 28. Sophomore midfielder Woods (Corrimal, Australia) signed her letter of intent with Division II Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. Sophomore midfielder Morillon (Cheyenne, Wyoming) signed her letter of intent with Division II Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio.
Woods led the Golden Eagles in 2017 with 25 goals and added 10 assists, and ended her career at Laramie County Community College with 37 goals and 20 assists. She ranks second in LCCC history with 37 career goals and 25 goals in a single season.
Woods was named the 2017 Region IX Player of the Year and was honored with a NJCAA 2017 1st Team All-American.
From their play in 2017, both Woods and Morillon were named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-American 2nd Team. They were both recognized by being named to the 1st Team All-Region IX Team in their freshman and sophomore seasons.
Morillon recorded 13 assists in 2017, which was second on the team and added 14 goals. Morillon finished her LCCC career with 24 career goals and 27 assists. The 27 career assists ties Morillon for the second most assists in Golden Eagles history.
The family atmosphere that came from playing at LCCC helped, Woods said.
Being from Australia, Woods attributes the family atmosphere on the team to helping her transition away from home.
“It was great preparation moving away from home and coming to a fantastic team where they become your family,” Woods said. “You know the coaches really look out for you and it’s a really good program here.”
Woods plans to major in physical education at Fort Hays State University, were she plans to focus on her education just as much as soccer.
“They have a good soccer program and a good education program that stood out to me,” Woods said. “I hope to firstly get my degree and play the best soccer that I can.”
Fort Hays State University women’s soccer went 10-6-4 in the 2017 season. The Tigers finished it’s season with a 3-0 loss to top seeded Central Missouri in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association tournament.
For Morillon signing with Tiffin University was as much about the program and university, as it was to experience something new.
“I would say distance would be a big factor,” Morillon said. “I haven’t gone outside of Cheyenne for a long period of time like I’m going to do. I feel like that would be a major factor.”
Morillon decision to start her collegiate career in her hometown helped her take this next step in her soccer career.
“The coaches helped me a lot along the way to build a stronger character, be a leader and just to work on myself off the field as well,” Morillon said.
Morillon plans to accomplish a lot in her two years at Tiffin University both on the field and off, where she will major in health and wellness.
“On the field I hope to accomplish at least being able to go to the national tournament,” Morillon said. “Then off the field I hope to just keep on getting my school done and get a bachelor’s in health and wellness.”
Tiffin University women’s soccer team finished the 2017 season with a record of 8-10-1. Tiffin finished the season with a 8-0 loss to Grand Valley State in the semifinals of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament. Morillon will join a Dragon’s team on the rise posting its best season since the 2012 campaign when they finished with a 9-8-2 record.
Morillon attended local high school Cheyenne East, where she played under head coach Jim Gardner, who is also the head coach of LCCCs women’s soccer team. It will be an adjustment period for Morillon after being under Gardner’s tutelage for the past six seasons.
“I feel like the coaches at Tiffin University are going to show me some new ideas that I haven’t seen before,” Morillon said. “I think they will be a lot quieter than Gardner too.”
Morillon was also involved with SGA on campus and was previously the social media editor for the Wingspan newspaper during her time at LCCC.