Coriell inks with SSU soccer


WHEELERSBURG — Indeed, what a trifecta for Annie Coriell.

She stays right at home, she plays one season shoulder-to-shoulder alongside her older sister, and she gets to continue living out her athletic dream on the collegiate soccer pitch.

That’s because Coriell, the Wheelersburg High School standout midfielder for the past four years, recently and officially announced her intention to play college soccer —staying super-close to home for Shawnee State University and head coach Natasha Ademakinwa.

Coriell, who transferred to Wheelersburg from the Minford district before her freshman season, was a three-time Southeast District Division III selection —a second-teamer as a sophomore before her final two campaigns as a first-teamer.

She was also the Southern Ohio Conference Offensive Co-Player of the Year with Minford’s Haley Knore as a junior —when Wheelersburg won the league outright after sharing it with Waverly her freshman fall.

Coriell was flanked at her signing ceremony at Wheelersburg by her parents Jason and Kristine Coriell, Ademakinwa and her assistant coach Chris Murphy, Wheelersburg High School girls soccer head coach Todd Jarvis, and several other family members, friends and Lady Pirates teammates.

Coriell will join her older sister Aurie at Shawnee State, as Aurie — who played at Minford and later transferred to SSU from Kentucky Christian — will be a senior for the Bears.

So one season together in college will make up for one year’s difference of not being able to play in high school.

Annie did get to play against another elder sister — for as a Lady Pirate freshman she squared off against Alyssa Coriell, then a Minford senior.

Aurie Coriell gained an extra year of collegiate eligibility — thanks to the NAIA granting it as the result of the COVID situation.

“It’s great that we get to play one year together. We were never in high school together, so we never got that opportunity, but with the extra COVID year of eligibility and she (Aurie) still is working towards her degree, we’ve been given this one opportunity and she is a great role model to me,” Annie explained. “Having someone that has such a leadership role on the team and happens to be my older sister, it’s special.”

But familiarity. and family, weren’t the only reasons why the four-year starter and three-year Lady Pirate captain chose to be a Bear.

As Shawnee State shifts to the River States Conference for its athletic programs, Annie opted for SSU over the Bears’ biggest rivals — the University of Rio Grande and Georgetown College.

“I ultimately decided to go to Shawnee because I think it is a great school both academically and athletically. I went on many visits, I love Coach Natasha (Ademakinwa), they are a great team and I love the environment and what they are working towards as a program,” said Coriell. “It’s a great group of girls that all work hard and it really just represents what I seek in success as a player.”

As a Lady Pirate playing — and often times dominating — the midfield, the five-foot and four-inch Coriell chalked up 31 career goals and 30 career assists, including 15 tallies and 10 helpers during her most statistically-decorated junior year.

She said she likely will remain in the midfield for the Bears, based on her conversations with Ademakinwa.

“Coach Natasha said she doesn’t recruit people whom she doesn’t think are going to play. I think that’s pretty promising,” said Coriell.

Murphy was actually Coriell’s club soccer head coach with the Southern Ohio Chargers, as Valley’s duo of Lucie Ashkettle and Elizabeth Brown will be joining Coriell at Shawnee State —having all played club ball together.

“I’m glad that we’ve played club together since we were all in eighth grade. I’m very excited that we all get to continue our dreams together,” said Coriell.

As for Coriell’s dream, soccer became an incredible reality —in the Lady Pirates’ Division II sectional semifinal match against Athens in 2019.

The two teams played to a scoreless tie through regulation and two sudden-death overtimes —setting up the outcome being decided on the always and everywhere nerve-wracking penalty-kicks shootout.

In fact, Coriell was the fifth of five Lady Pirate kickers —as her goal gave Wheelersburg the dramatic and epic victory.

“She was the fifth one to kick, but the amount of confidence she had…, said Jarvis. “She just walked up to the PK spot, placed the ball down, took three steps, waited for the whistle, and finished it. It was just great to see the team celebrate and rally around her like that.”

The next season, her second and final playing alongside her cousin and former Lady Pirate standout Ellie Kallner, Wheelersburg won the Division III Southeast District championship —before back-to-back years of being district runner-up.

The Lady Pirates won the SOC outright in 2021, then gained their major measure of revenge against 2022 champion Minford last October.

The Lady Falcons swept the Lady Pirates in the regular season, but Wheelersburg won the district semifinal match between the two 2-1.

Coriell, in fact, scored the Lady Pirates’ first-half goal in that match —with three minutes and 34 seconds left before halftime for a 1-0 Wheelersburg lead.

“We had to take care of business when it mattered. Congratulations to Minford on winning the SOC and they got us the first two times, but we came out with it when it really mattered,” said Coriell.

Jarvis spoke on Annie’s ability to maximize her soccer traits.

“Annie has dedicated most of her life to playing the game and learning the game. She was instrumental in doing a whole lot of things that we did. There are moments in time that as a coach you take away. Certainly one of them was as a freshman knocking a PK in to beat Athens in the tournament. She was an on-the-field coach as a three-year captain for us. That’s getting to become more and more rare. She did a great job,” said the coach. “She was a great distributor of the ball, she could see the field, she tracks the ball and protects it, and the good thing about Annie is that she was a good midfielder who could defend really well. We also knew that she was the backup goalie. We even tried to squeeze her in up top a little bit (playing forward position), because she has great foot skills with the ball. She ran the midfield so well and just exuded so much confidence. I’ve got great memories of things she did and big goals that she scored. Annie is going to be missed in our program for sure, but Coach Natasha made a good decision to get her.”

Simply put, the Bears wanted Coriell —and in return she wanted that trifecta of proximity, family, and continuing her dreams.

She said she plans to major in Nursing, with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

“I loved playing for Todd (Jarvis). He is special to me. I’ve loved the last four years. Being a captain the last three, Todd trusted me with a special role and I am grateful for that. I knew when I was a freshman, I didn’t want to give soccer up. As I’ve gotten older, it’s only solidified in what I want to do. There’s more in store for me and I can continue to grow as a player and as a person. Taking that to the next level, being able to showcase my ability outside just this area, it’s really important to me,” said Coriell. “I would love to win our conference (RSC). I know that’s something Shawnee has been working towards for a long time and they are continuing to get closer to doing that. I am just hoping to expand my skills as an individual as well as just be as useful as I can to my team. Try to have as much success on the field as possible.”

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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