Penn-Trafford's Dugan to play soccer at Valparaiso
The last thing on Kiley Dugan's mind last September as she lay writhing in pain on the turf at Norwin Stadium was a Division I scholarship.
The rising junior Penn-Trafford soccer player was helped off the field and missed half the season with a fractured tibia in her left leg.
But months of rehabilitation and hard work allowed her to not only return to the field, but also helped her earn a scholarship and make a verbal commitment to Division I Valparaiso in its namesake town in Indiana.
Dugan also had offers from Akron and Robert Morris. She had planned to visit Pitt, Lehigh and UNC-Greensboro before Valpo came calling.
“I didn't realize how hard it would be to come back,” said Dugan, who will play outside forward for the Warriors this fall. “It was tough, but I knew I wanted to play Division I soccer. I had a good, strong season with Century United, and that's when (Valparaiso) saw me.”
Valparaiso began recruiting Dugan, one of the Warriors' top assist distributors last season despite the missed time, during a Memorial Day weekend tournament.
“I went for a visit on June 20,” Dugan said. “They told me I could take some time to think about it first. I didn't need much. I knew right away it was the place for me.”
Valparaiso will leave the Horizon League and join the Missouri Valley Conference in 2017-18.
“It will be fun to go in a try something new there,” Dugan said. “And I wanted to go somewhere where I can make an immediate impact.”
Penn-Trafford now has four Division I players coming back. The others are the senior midfield trio of MacKenzie Aunkst (West Virginia), Lauren Stovar (Army) and Hannah Nguyen (Duquesne).
“Valparaiso is getting an incredibly skilled technical player,” Aunkst said of Dugan. “She has the ability to beat a player with both her moves and speed on the outside. When she got injured last year in the Norwin game, we lost a huge part of our offense, and we are excited to have her back this year.”
Dugan is anxious to get back to action with Penn-Trafford, too, which is just as anxious to take another shot at rival Norwin, the defending WPIAL Class 4A champion and a team loaded with college-level talent.
Penn-Trafford has not won a game in the yearly two-game series with the Knights since 2013.
“We have a lot of potential, too,” Dugan said. “We came close to Norwin last year; it was 1-1 at halftime. I think we can beat them.”
Dugan, also a member of the track and field team, said she might return to playing basketball in the winter.