Tivy High School buzzed with excitement on Tuesday around noon.
And for good reason — it’s an exciting time for soccer in the Kerrville community. The Tivy girls ended a three-year playoff drought and experienced one of the best seasons in Tivy history. The Tivy boys became the first Antler team since 2004 to advance to the regional semifinals.
Even before Tuesday, Aubrey Pruitt (Lubbock Christian) and Jenny Grissom (Creighton) had signed to play college soccer. The Antlers also had two players — Stephen Canty (SMU) and Jasen Zirkel (Mary-Hardin Baylor) — sign letters of intent.
On Tuesday, Garrison Engstrom and Loraine Barreto became the latest players to sign LOIs to play college soccer. Engstrom will play at Southwestern University in Georgetown, while Barreto will stay in Kerrville to play at Schreiner.
Family, friends and teammates filtered into the Tivy atrium to watch the signing ceremony. They lingered afterwards to take photos with Barreto and Engstrom. As soon as he was finished teaching his Principle of Construction class, Tivy boys coach Reece Zunker raced to the ceremony to offer his congratulations.
“I am excited for these guys,” Zunker said. “They deserve it. They are getting the recognition and it’s no surprise. It’s not easy to get into college to play soccer, especially as a guy, there aren’t as many as opportunities. For them to have that opportunity, it shows their dedication. You have to reach out. It’s not like colleges come to high schools looking for (soccer players). (My players) have played for a long time and have reached out to coaches. They are really taking the initiative and they are reaping the benefits from that.”
Barreto committed to Schreiner toward the end of Tivy’s season.
Engstrom attended a Southwestern soccer camp in November. When the coaches’ expressed interest in him, he committed. He liked Southwestern’s academic reputation, and the fact that the university had a new soccer coach. The idea of building a strong soccer team was alluring.
Both experienced great conclusions to their decorated high school careers. Barreto registered six goals and 12 assists, helping lead the Lady Antlers to an appearance in the area round. Engstrom netted six goals and four assists.
They are hoping to build on that success at the next level.
“I am super excited,” Barreto said. “When I was little, I always had a feeling that I wanted to play in college, so I now have that opportunity.”