Monday, August 8, 2011

O'Neil Commits to San Diego St.

Winnacunnet High's Kirsten O'Neil is arguably the best 2 sport athlete in the NHIAA. She's one of the state's best players in both soccer and basketball. In addition to being an all-state player in both sports this past year and winning 2 state titles in basketball, she has played in 3 AAU National Tournaments in basketball and in soccer she has competed in the ODP (Olympic Development Program) at the National level as well.

Recently, O'Neil ended her recruitment by making a commitment to play soccer at San Diego State University, a Division I school which competes in the Mountain West Conference.

Despite the fact that O'Neil has excelled in both sports, she knew that soccer was the sport she would be playing in college.

"I was more focused on D-I for soccer instead of a D-III school for basketball" said O'Neil.

O'Neil led the Winnacunnet girls soccer team to the final four for the first time in 24 years. In the quarterfinals vs. Manchester Central, she scored the tying goal with 30 seconds left of play, then scored the game winning goal on a header in overtime. She has achieved National, Regional and State pool ODP status for soccer. O'Neil had a number of schools recruiting her for soccer.

"I was considering a few schools in Pennsylvania as well as UNH, and also many North Carolina schools" said O'Neil. "But I loved the campus at San Diego, and the coaches were very welcoming. The weather and location is beautiful, and I wanted a whole new experience."

O'Neil is also one of the state's best players in basketball, making it even more impressive that she will be playing Division I soccer in college. Last season as a junior she was a 2nd team all-state player and was the starting point guard for an undefeated state champion Winnacunnet girls basketball team, which has now won 5 straight titles and 77 consecutive games. She scored 28 points in the Warrior's regular season win over eventual runners-up Londonderry. Playing both sports definitely helped with her recruitment for soccer.

"I'm a versatile player and that's what the coaches really liked" said O'Neil, whose older sister Kelsi is a sophomore for the UNH women's soccer team. "Im hoping to make an impact and fit in well at San Diego St. Fitness is huge in both sports, and playing both complimented each other a lot. It keeps me in shape year round - going into basketball season I'm in shape from soccer, and after basketball season I get right back into soccer in the spring and I'm in good shape from basketball all winter."

Now that O'Neil has ended her recruitment, her next goal is to win a state title in both soccer and basketball this year as a senior.

"To win 2 state titles will take a lot of hard work from every player on the team" said O'Neil. I don't have experience winning a state title in high school for soccer, so that would be an amazing start to my senior year. And for basketball we are all very close as a team so it's a big plus. We'll have to work just as hard as last year though, if not harder."

O'Neil has been named a captain for both soccer and basketball for her senior year. She has a chance to not only win a state title in both sports, but also be the Division I Player of the Year in both sports as well. That would be a remarkable accomplishment.

The Winnacunnet girls soccer team begins their quest for a title on August 30 at home vs. Merrimack.

Congrats to Kirsten, and best of luck at San Diego State!

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