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Norwin's Antrilli joins strong Vulcans soccer program

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Norwin Star
Norwin senior Marissa Antrilli, sitting at center, celebrated the signing of her National Letter of Intent to join the women's soccer team at California (Pa.) on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Joining her were, sitting, her parents, Christine and Joe; and standing, from left, Norwin athletic director Randy Rovesti and Norwin girls soccer coach Jeff Palm. Matt Grubba | Norwin Star

Norwin senior Marissa Antrilli won't be traveling too far to continue playing soccer at a high level.

Antrilli made her commitment earlier this month to join the women's soccer program at California (Pa.) University, where she will become the latest player from western Pennsylvania to join a program that has made it to the NCAA Division II tournament in each of the last four years.

Antrilli, an all-section and Class AAA all-WPIAL defender as one of Norwin's captains in 2012, chose the Vulcans' program over interested Division I schools, including Stony Brook and Western Kentucky.

She said both the soccer program and the location were contributing factors to her decision, and that staying closer to home, where she would be most comfortable, ended up tipping the decision in Cal U's favor.

“The whole campus was just how I perceived a college campus would be,” Antrilli said. “Location was a part of it. Stony Brook was nice, but it's in New York. It wasn't like here. There was traffic everywhere, and I couldn't deal with it.”

Going to a Division II school over her Division I options never factored into Antrilli's decision, she said. By joining a perennial power in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and a team that recently has advanced as far as the national quarterfinals, the expectations for her level of play remain the same.

“The coaches there have told me to just be ready to play the best I can and to keep playing the way that I play,” Antrilli said. “Their (workout program) is coming out now, so I'll have to go online and start that. I'll have to run a lot, of course.

“I'm really excited to start there, and I hope we can make it all the way (to the national championship). I want to win, of course, but I'm also excited to face the new competition.”

While Antrilli will be the only Norwin girl on the Vulcans' roster, she will have plenty of Pittsburgh-area teammates at Cal U.

Thirteen of the 27 players on the Vulcans' 2012 roster came from WPIAL schools, including four from Penn-Trafford who will be back this fall — Kara Novotny and sisters Ashley, Bethany and Christy Smyda.

Antrilli already has picked out her major — early childhood education — and having both her school and course of study selected means she can focus on the remainder of her final year at Norwin before jumping into college life.

“It was a stressful thing at first, so once I made the decision, it felt great,” Antrilli said. “It's perfect for me. The decision wasn't based (on soccer), but things like the location, academics, those were the biggest things for me.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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