Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 24, 2013

Huffine meets D1 goal

Russell soccer standout Morehead bound

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

RUSSELL — One of Russell’s all-time girls soccer greats is realizing her goal of playing on the Division I college level.

Senior Ashley Huffine is part of Morehead State University’s 2013 signing class.

“I’m so glad for her,” Russell coach Joe Grizzle said Friday afternoon during a celebration in the RHS media center. “Ashley set that goal early. She could have gone to smaller schools, but this is what she wanted.”

Huffine, a first team All-State selection as a senior, started all four years at Russell and finished with 77 goals and 39 assists.

“She’s just been outstanding,” said Grizzle, recalling that Huffine scored in her first game as a freshman against Clark County. “I look for her to continue to be a hard worker and do well at Morehead.”

Huffine participated in soccer camps at MSU, and Russell has also played games there. Lady Eagles head coach Warren Lipka was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 and ‘11.

“He’s seen me play and really wanted me on their team,” Huffine said. “That’s where I felt I belonged.”

Lipka sees Huffine as a valuable addition.

“Ashley comes from a very good high school program,” he said. “She has the strength and speed needed to play at this level, and with the training she will receive, I see her having a great career.”

MSU soccer has a new practice facility and Huffine is looking forward to joining former teammate Elizabeth Floyd on Morehead’s squad. Floyd, a 2011 Russell grad who started 15 games at goalkeeper for the Lady Eagles last season, attended Friday’s special event.

Huffine said she will look to Floyd for guidance, especially next fall in making the transition from high school to college.

“(Floyd) will really be helpful to me,” Huffine said. I’m excited to be starting a new chapter in my life. I’m stoked about college soccer and can focus on my grades as well.”

 A physically strong midfielder, Huffine racked up 34 goals and 14 assists last season despite playing with a quad injury.

“Ashley has a strong upper body, and strong legs,” Grizzle said. “She’s built well for college soccer and loves to compete. It’s going to be fun to watch her at Morehead.”

After MSU’s disappointing 2-12-4 finish in 2012, Lipka is hopeful that his latest signing class will help turn things around. The group includes eight freshmen and one transfer.

“I am very pleased with our 2013 class,” Lipka said. “These ladies will bring attacking, defense, speed and toughness to our group. With the addition of these players to the foundation we have built with our current players, I expect us to improve our standing.”

Huffine is eager to do her part.

“I’m ready to get in there and see what it’s all about,” she said.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.