Darton’s Lady Cavalier soccer team gathers around as (l-r) Emily Atkinson, Tori Danchak and Lexi Landers sign national letters-of-intent on Wednesday. (Submitted photo)
ALBANY – All of the Lady Cavaliers gathered around in support as teammates Emily Atkinson, Tori Danchak and Lexi Landers all signed national letters-of-intent to university soccer programs on Wednesday.
Danchak and Landers signed with the University of Queens in Charlotte, N.C., where Danchak will play as a goalkeeper and Landers as a central defender. Atkinson, a central midfielder, signed with Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, N.C.
Both Queens and Lenoir-Rhyne are members of the NCAA D-II South Atlantic Conference, meaning the trio will play on the same field together at least twice in the fall. But they will be wearing different jerseys, which Landers said is the difficult part of this accomplishment.
“I’ll miss our team,” she said. “We all live in the same hall. We eat together, travel together, train together. We’re all really close.”
Danchak also lauded her experience at Darton and said that Queens head coach Cally Morrill recruited her from her high school in Coral Springs, Fla., and then saw her at the NJCAA D-I National Championship Tournament last fall, which led to her scholarship offer.
Atkinson said that two years at Darton State helped her develop as a student-athlete.
“It made me a more disciplined, more mature student,” Atkinson said. “It also gave me national exposure, as we made it to the national championship both years.”
She added that Darton State head women’s soccer coach Ken Veilands helped her through the recruiting process.
These three Lady Cavs were preceded by goalkeeper Hong Tran, who this spring semester transferred to St. Leo University in Tampa, Stephanie Anes, a role player who transferred to Auburn University-Montgomery, and Lyana Perez, who transferred to Lindsey Wilson College.
“All of them were instrumental in the growth of this program over the last two years,” Veilands said.