It’s rare that a southwestern Virginia athlete has a college choice of two national powers.
Those were the options for North Cross senior Sarah Maurer.
Maurer, a goalie for the North Cross girls soccer team, was in talks with 22-time national champion North Carolina and with recently No. 1-ranked Virginia before committing to the Cavaliers.
Maurer will take part in a signing ceremony at North Cross Wednesday that will include football player Jordan Lowry (William and Mary) and golfer Ty Olinger (West Virginia).
“The way that soccer has taken off in ACC country, those spots are hard to come by,” North Cross coach James Brown. “Not only is she one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached but her knowledge of the game is as good as anybody’s.”
Maurer, who is 5-foot-8, played basketball for two years at North Cross and was a field player in soccer last spring. Brown said she will return to the goal this year.
Maurer, who will begin her UVa career as an invited walk-on, was relatively late to the recruiting process.
“I love soccer but I’ve never thought, ‘I’m going to school to play soccer,’” she said. “I wanted to go to a good school and if I had a chance to play soccer there, then I would.”
Maurer was discovered by Virginia at a three-day camp last summer in Charlottesville, where she attracted the attention of assistant Jaime Frias. Cavaliers head coach Steve Swanson, an assistant on the U.S. national team, was not on the scene.
“They called him in Canada and said, ‘Hey, we really like her,’” Maurer said. “Actually, it was very late for me to be committing to a school. For most soccer players trying to play for an ACC school, junior year is the time when they commit.”
Maurer also received positive feedback from North Carolina but was advised that out-of-state admissions were a wait-and-see process in light of NCAA investigations into other programs.
Swanson and his staff were pleased with Maurer’s honor-roll transcript.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was six,” said Maurer, who lived in Utah before her family moved to Roanoke eight years ago. “To play for a team that is going to challenge for a national title every single year, that’s something you can only dream about.”