Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — Not too long ago, Waverly didn’t have a girls soccer program. Then, something special happened.
This past fall’s senior class, and the classes before it, made a commitment to excellence. That pledge has transformed into two straight conference crowns and the program’s first-ever outright Southern Ohio Conference title this past fall.
Michaela Rhoads has been at the center of that storm.
The senior defender has proven to be one of the area’s best over the past four seasons, anchoring a swarming unit that continuously held opponents to a limited number of chances.
Earlier this week, Rhoads made the decision to play collegiately at Brescia University — joining teammate Kylie Smith, who committed in September.
“After visiting Brescia and talking to the team and [Brescia] coach [Shaun] Soderling, it just felt like home,” Rhoads said. “I knew I could go there and feel comfortable.”
Brescia will welcome in a defender that has amassed 127 career steals alongside eight goals and three assists in 53 matches.
Rhoads was an all-conference and all-district selection this past fall.
Over the past two seasons, she’s helped the Tigers go 28-7-1 with a 17-1-1 record in the SOC.
“My family has been by my side when it came to soccer since I can remember,” Rhoads said. “They’ve supported me no matter what. My coaches have always pushed me to be better and achieve what they know I can achieve. Without them, I wouldn’t be the player I am today. My teammates have always had my back no matter what. They have always supported me and expected nothing less from me.”
Rhoads will have the opportunity to compete for a starting spot as soon as she arrives on campus, which is located in Owensboro, Ky. As a Bearcat, she’ll be playing many schools close to her hometown, including Shawnee State, Rio Grande and Cincinnati Christian.
“I am looking forward to starting this opportunity with my new sisterhood and getting a higher level experience of the game,” Rhoads said. “I hope I’m remembered at Waverly for never giving up on myself or my team. Always giving 100 percent, and the compassion I have for the sports I play.”