On Nov. 16, Taylor Tolson and her Northern High School girls soccer teammates put the finishing touches on a second consecutive Class 3A championship with a 5-0 win over Wilde Lake at Loyola University in Baltimore.
Just three days prior to the Patriots toppling their Howard County opponent to repeat as state champions, Tolson made her college destination official as she signed to continue her soccer career at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.
“I actually went there to an ID camp in January of my junior year and I just loved the campus and loved the coaches,” Tolson said. “It kind of just clicked. I just fell in love with it.”
A couple of weeks after that experience, Tolson verbally committed. The Northern senior had considered a few other schools, but ultimately Coastal Carolina was where she wanted to be. Soccer-wise, the Chanticleers compete at the NCAA Division I level in the Sun Belt Conference. The team finished 7-9-2 overall this past season.
Soccer has been a lifelong passion for Tolson, who is looking forward to taking the next step.
“I have been playing since I was 4. I love it,” she said. “I’ve moved from different teams and kept going up level by level. I think it’s tough to make it to the place I’m at right now, going to Coastal.”
Also signing at Northern on Nov. 13 were girls lacrosse teammates Natalie Mellen and Kaleigh Mulligan, who both also contributed to a successful Patriots’ field hockey season this past fall. Mellen will continue her lacrosse career at Campbell University in North Carolina, while Mulligan will play at George Mason University in Virginia.
For Mulligan, being able to continue her athletic career with a Division I program while also staying close to home made it a perfect situation.
“It was close to home. I really like the campus there,” she said. “It was my dream school for a while. I’m really lucky to be able to go there. I love all the girls on the team and the coaches are amazing. I’m really excited.”
George Mason plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference and logged an 11-7 overall record last spring.
“I’ve been playing lacrosse for probably nine years now,” Mulligan said. “I like the feeling that you get when you play. I love being with my teammates and going to tournaments. I love all of it. I’ve been playing travel and I just have a great time with it.”
Mellen found what she was looking for a bit further from home at Campbell.
“When I went on my visit I kind of got the feeling like I was at home, like I belonged there,” she said. “I went on a bunch of other visits and I just didn’t really feel like me. When I went to Campbell I was definitely like ‘I could really see myself going here.’
“I loved the players that I met. I loved my coaches. They’re definitely going to push me, which is something that I’m going to need. And the recruits that are my age are awesome. I’ve gotten close with one of them and she is going to be my roommate next year which I’m super excited about. It was a really great time.”
The Camels, who put together a 6-11 overall record last spring, compete in the Big South Conference. While Mellen is now anxious to compete at the next level, she looked back at her freshman year of high school as being the point where that desire to take it up a notch really solidified inside of her.
“Making varsity my freshman year,” she said. “It was super exciting. The first game came around and I was a starter, and pretty much ever since then I was just like ‘I cannot not play lacrosse.’ I knew I wanted to do it in college. I don’t know what I’d do with myself without playing lacrosse. I guess high school lacrosse, that freshman year making varsity and that first game being able to start, was what got me to this point right here.”