By Ray Hamill — Eureka’s Olivia Stone has never been one to back down from a challenge on the soccer field, and that was the case once again on Wednesday when she announced she will be playing Division-I college soccer next year.
On national signing day, Stone was the lone Logger to declare her future, signing a letter of intent to play at Portland State in 2019.
The signing caps a big week for the senior standout.
On Saturday, she led her team to a first-ever North Coast Section championship in the sport, closing out a memorable final season at Eureka.
The Loggers finished a perfect 19-0, allowing just three goals and never once trailing all year.
But it’s not the success that Stone says she’ll remember the most.
“This year, obviously, we had a great year to end with,” Stone said. “But I’m going to miss my coaches and my teammates, and also from the travel team games I’ve played, I know all the (H-DNL) players that played against me. I’ll miss everyone.”
A student of the sport
The decision to play at Portland State was a relatively easy one, according to Stone, who says there was just something about the team she immediately liked.
Deciding to move to Portland, on the other hand, wasn’t such an easy choice.
“At first, I was hesitant to live in a city, but I realized I wanted a change, and that it would be a good experience,” the senior said.
With a dominating career at Eureka High, Stone will definitely be missed.
“She’s a true student of the sport,” Eureka head coach Andy Salatnay said. “And she has truly taken on coaches’ advice from the age of eight on up.”
According to Eureka Athletic Director Kristie Christiansen, Stone “excelled on the soccer field and excelled in the classroom.”
The senior has a 4.2 GPA and says she will probably major in the science/math fields, but is undecided right now.
Big Sky’s the limit
Stone will join a Division-I Vikings program that competes in the Big Sky Conference, along with the likes of Sacramento State, Idaho State and Eastern Washington.
This season, they were 5-10-1 overall, having finished fourth in conference a year ago with a 9-10-1 overall record in what was head coach Katie Burton’s first year in charge.
And Stone likes the direction the program seems to be taking under Burton.
“The past two years they’ve done a lot better and I think they have a chance to be a good team again, and to compete,” she said. “She seems to be making good changes.”
According to Stone, Humboldt State women’s soccer head coach Paul Karver played a role in getting her recruited, telling Burton about her and encouraging the Vikings coach to go see the Eureka senior play in Seattle.
Stone has been competing with travel teams since she was eight years old, including playing for Santa Rosa United.
She also has played other sports, but admits that focusing on soccer was an easy choice.
“I played basketball, I played softball, and volleyball, but I always had most fun playing soccer,” she said.
She certainly appeared to have plenty of fun this season, leading the Loggers with an incredible 37 goals and 22 assists.