Off to college
North Point seniors Willis, Zadeh sign with Division I schools
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.”
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.
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.
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.