Off to col­lege

North Point se­niors Wil­lis, Zadeh sign with Di­vi­sion I schools

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

With a pair of se­niors who re­cently signed to play for NCAA Di­vi­sion I pro­grams next year, North Point High School head girls lacrosse coach Paige At­tonito is look­ing for­ward to what Lia Wil­lis and Ali Zadeh can ac­com- plish for the Ea­gles next spring.

Wil­lis, who At­tonito de­scribed as a “gazelle” be­cause of her quick- ness and agility on the field, signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play for Ari­zona State Univer­sity, while Zadeh signed with Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity. Wil­lis is the an­chor of the Ea­gles de­fense, while Zadeh has al- ready es­tab­lished her­self as the most pro­lific scorer in the pro­gram’s brief his­tory.

“They both have been ex­cep­tional play­ers for me all four years and we’re ex­cited that they get to play at the next level,” said At­tonito, who played six years of lacrosse [7th to 12th grades] in Long Is­land, N.Y. “It’s a big deal for us be­cause they’re the first two play­ers from our pro­gram to get to play Di­vi­sion I girls lacrosse.”

Zadeh scored 63 goals last sea­son and has tal­lied 114 in her first three sea­sons with the Ea­gles, the most in the pro­gram’s his­tory. But Zadeh ex­pects to break her sin­gle-sea­son record for goals set last year and per­haps come close to at­tain­ing 200 in her high school ca­reer

be­fore tak­ing her tal­ents to VCU next fall.

“Each year, I want to score more goals than I

did the year be­fore,” said Zadeh, who plans to ma- jor in crim­i­nal jus­tice at VCU. “Last year I had 63 and this year I would like to break that by 10 or 20, if pos­si­ble. Sign­ing day meant a lot be­cause I re­al­ized that this year would

be the last time that I would be play­ing with Lia, who I’ve played with for eight years.

While Zadeh has im­pressed At­tonito and op­pos­ing coaches as well with her goal-scor­ing abil­i­ties, Wil­lis rep­re­sents the an­chor of the Ea­gles de­fense.

“Last year, I for­get who we were play­ing, but she ba­si­cally took con­trol of the mid­dle of the field by her­self,” At­tonito said. “She just con­tin­ued to deny the other team from scor­ing time and time again. It was in­cred­i­ble. I had never seen any­thing like that and I will never for­get it.”

Wil­lis, who had nar­rowed her col­lege choic- es down to four schools be­fore opt­ing for Ari­zona State, ad­mits she had been hop­ing to land a la- crosse schol­ar­ship since the sev­enth grade, two years after she be­gan play­ing the sport.

“They were so ac­tive in wanting me to come out there,” said Wil­lis, who plans to run in­door track for North Point this win- ter and even­tu­ally ma­jor in Bi­ol­ogy or Pre-Med at Ari­zona State. “When we went out for my visit, I just fell in love with the cam­pus. The coaches and the play­ers were so nice and so wel­com­ing. They just made me felt like I be­longed there right from the be­gin­ning.”

Zadeh and Wil­lis are ea­ger to get the spring sea­son under way and both are op­ti­mistic that North Point can cap­ture the Po­tomac Di­vi­sion and reach the South­ern Mary- land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game. The Ea­gles lost just once in Po­tomac Di­vi­sion play, fin­ish­ing sec­ond to La Plata.

“We have to find a way to get past La Plata,” Zadeh said. “We’ve never beaten them in my three years on the team at North Point. They’ve been the best team in our di­vi­sion, so we have to fig­ure out how to beat them. Last year we beat two schools we had never beaten be­fore. This year we have to fig­ure out a way to beat La Plata.”

FILE PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

North Point se­nior Lia Wil­lis, pic­tured at left in a March 29 con­test ver­sus Patux­ent, re­cently signed her let­ter of in­tent to Ari­zona State Univer­sity.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

North Point High School se­nior girls lacrosse play­ers Lia Wil­lis and Ali Zadeh re­cently signed their na­tional let­ters of in­tent to play col­lege lacrosse. Wil­lis signed with Ari­zona State Univer­sity, while Zadeh is headed to Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity. Sit­ting, from left, are Zadeh’s grand­mother Mar­garet Hamp­ton, Ali Zadeh, Zadeh’s mother Carol Zadeh, Wil­lis’ fa­ther Ian Wil­lis, Lia Wil­lis and Wil­lis’ mother Mar­jorie Wil­lis. Stand­ing are Zadeh’s grand­fa­ther Leonard Hamp­ton, left, James Ak­ers, North Point head girls lacrosse coach Paige At­tonito and North Point Ath­letic di­rec­tor An­drew Shat­tuck.

FILE PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

North Point se­nior Ali Zadeh, pic­tured at left in a March 30 con­test ver­sus Lackey, re­cently signed her let­ter of in­tent to Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity.

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